It began merely as a curious girl with a phone. I had no photography skills back then, and still to this day, do not possess any. However, I have always been a great story-teller, and loved to hear other people’s stories. What enchanted me the most about speaking to strangers, is never knowing what they will say next. Our emotions are vulnerable to the stories being shared, as we are presented with ambiguity. Listening to my friends’ life stories has always encouraged me to share them, (with permission of course), because they are simply amazing. There are so many unheard stories which are inspiring, heart-wrenching, hilarious, spontaneous, and all the other emotions under the sun.
I truly believe that everyone on earth has a story to share. They just need to be given the chance. This page provides the opportunity for many people to present to the world something which they have always wanted to share. All the stories are different, yet similar at the same time. It shows that we never truly know what each person is dealing with in their everyday lives. I think sharing stories is important to an empathetic society, one that accepts and allows our emotions to be felt and shown.
The ‘interview’ style that I undergo with each participant is nothing like an interview at all. In all honesty, it is more conversationalist. I like to make the participants feel comfortable, as if we were having a natural conversation. I would record the interview and allow the conversation to flow in whatever direction it goes. I do not prepare questions beforehand, but prefer for the conversation to be spontaneous.
Back in March, I was approached by the Student Union at Sussex, asking if the team members of HOSU would like to contribute to One World Week. The aim of the week was to celebrate diversity by holding numerous events across campus, showcasing different cultures and being immersed and educated about each one. Of course, HOSU accepted this invitation.
I invited photographers from the Sussex Photography society to get involved with the project, by photographing our interviewees.
Above is a picture of my boyfriend and I, featured at the photography exhibition. It was attached with our story which goes as follows:
“I had my first kiss twenty-years of age. Compared to most, that is quite old. For myself, that was sooner than expected, as I was the type of person who vowed to never be in a relationship.
“One night we took a drive to a random place. We arrived at the beach in Seaford and watched the stars. I never felt so small, looking up and wondering about my place in the world. We spoke about everything. On the drive back, my friend confessed, “I love you.” From then on, we became a couple. I never knew the beauty in having your best friend and significant other being from one soul.
“People say that a relationship changes a person. It changed me in the best way. I am constantly in the presence of the kindest and most loving person I have ever met. He taught me how to live in the present moment and love it. With our generation’s view on love, we are often quite cynical and afraid to love or even show it, because people often perceive it as a weakness. My attitude has changed towards love, it is not a weakness at all but a strength. I am no longer afraid to admit that I am in love.
“Simba [our dog] is an example of how a relationship can change you. Before. I detested animals. As soon as my boyfriend introduced me to Simba, I was in love. Simba taught me how to be patient and affectionate. Animals are not given enough credit for their kind nature. Her cuddles give me life. I receive so much love from them that I cannot help but feel as if I am the luckiest person in the world.”
I have a great sense of pride and joy in this Facebook page. It is not at a level I would like it to be, but it is definitely going in the right direction. It is much harder than it looks, running a Facebook page. You can never predict how the content of your page will be received, and people’s engagement with it rise and fall everyday.
To those who are interested in doing something like this, I will say that you must be committed to your craft. You have to be invested in it, even if those who help you, come and go all the time. You need to have faith and confidence in your abilities. This is coming from someone who has no photography skills, started off with no camera but a camera phone – because I could not afford a DSLR camera, and yet still created a photography and story-telling page.
Go out there and do you.