Retired - Bakersfield, CA
I first met Richard while he was tending to the tomatoes in his garden. As I introduced myself, he explained the tomatoes are his wife's pride and joy. They have been married for 67 beautiful years. I immediately felt a connection with this man and through genuine conversation found that he was a U.S. Army Veteran, serving in the 8th U.S. Army Division during the Korean War in 1957. He played professional baseball during that time as well spending two years with the Chicago White Sox. Richard also spent 48 years playing professional fast-pitch softball from 1948-1997. He explained that his father, Isaac Marian David was a professional baseball player for eleven years playing with three different clubs. We spent the next hour in his office where he showed me old photographs and trophies from his past. I could have spent all day with this lovely man. Such an inspiration.
Security Officer, Golden Empire Transit bus terminal, Bakersfield, CA
Wesley is a retired police officer of 26 years and a retired member of the United States Marine Corps. I spent three hours with this compassionate man, watching him make sure all people waiting for buses to various locations were safe and secure. This man takes no crap. He deals with criminals, drug addicts, homeless, and thugs by the minute and his sole purpose is to make these people know the law of the bus terminal. Wesley brings candy for the kids, hugs the deprived, and often helps ones in need using money from his own pocket. The people in this area respect Wesley and appreciate what he does for their safety. I have been invited back to spend more time with this incredible human and foresee myself doing so many times in the near future.
Aspiring Model - Bakersfield, CA
I met Delanna when she requested me to do a photoshoot for her portfolio. Her dream is to become a successful fashion model, traveling to every corner of the world. But her dream was preceded by a childhood of parental abuse followed by several years in the foster-care system, living with multiple families. After meeting with her and listening to her heartbreaking story, I broke down in tears and offered to help her with her dream. This girl is a prime example of taking a negative and turning it into a positive. I praise Delanna for her unmeasurable drive and focus. She is a truly amazing individual with a deep, caring soul. Our portfolio shoot was one of the best sessions I have ever had and know she will achieve any dream she follows. I fully intend on assisting her in any way possible to make sure she stays on track and rises above her past.
Street Musician/Homeless - San Luis Obispo, CA
First I heard Mark, then I stopped. Playing his guitar with only one hand, he delivered the most amazing sounds to the ignoring public as they drank iced coffee or ate lunch nearby. Mark was born in Montana but moved to San Francisco in his teens as he searched for much needed diversity. The fast paced city often took its toll on his psyche so he would catch a train and go as far as it could take him for a few days, then return. One of those trips brought him to "SLO" and here he stayed since 2009. Mark said he plays music to "ground my soul and share my love of music with others" He says he spent the first 40 years of his life doing whatever he wanted and plans to spend the next 40 the same way. As I sat and talked with Mark, several homeless friends walked up and shared locations where free clothes were being handed out and information on who would be at "camp" that evening. Everybody who joined the conversation, including Mark, seemed to have a brotherhood with each other. It was a pleasure sitting down with this man and listening to his beautiful music.
Miss Teen Bollywood California - Bakersfield, CA
I met Sharan after she contacted me to photograph her for portfolio images to be used in future pageants. As usual, I love to get to know a bit about my subjects and learned she has battled lupus her entire life. Lupus is a disease or condition marked by inflammation of the skin but also attacks one's immune system. Sharan recently won the 2017 Miss Teen Bollywood California pageant and looks forward to graduating high school in 2017 then going off to college to become an actress or model, perhaps much more! Within days following our photoshoot, Sharan was involved in a terrible car accident but survived thankful to the airbags and seatbelt in her vehicle. This girl is such a KindHuman - I just had to add her to my website. Cheers to you Sharan, may you life be filled with the same joys you provided me in our short two hours of time!
Homeless, Fresno, CA
Steven explained that he just turned 92 on January 16th and that the only reason he was in Bakersfield was that he helped bring his daughter down to see her boyfriend but she had abandoned him. Steven reached into his pocket and pulled out a wad of wrinkled money then explained he needed three more dollars to get home to Fresno. I opened my wallet and pulled out a five dollar bill and handed it to him. Steven began to cry and said, "The people here are so fucking nice, I just found out from the ticket window it cost $26.50 for my bus ticket and had no money. All of this money in my hand right here was given to me in the last five minutes!" I made sure Steven got onto his bus after telling him to pay it forward somehow, someway. He winked and me and said, "You bet your ass I will."
Student/Wrestling Champion - Napa, CA
I met Alyvia while attending the BottleRock Music Festival in Napa, California in 2017. As I scanned the crowds looking for people to meet and photograph, this beautiful girl and her mother stood out. Their smiles and spirt sent me towards them like a magnetic force. I quickly learned from her very proud mom, Alyvia was not only beautiful inside and out; she was the state and national wrestling champion in her weight division and had recently won a scholarship to attend Simon Frasier University in British Columbia, Canada. I learned that she was not only undefeated for the past two years of high school wrestling, her opponents had failed to score a single point against her. Way to go Alyvia! Best of luck in college and in life! You deserve nothing but the very best in life!
Student - Bakersfield, CA
I first met Marissa by chance. I noticed that she had a kind and caring soul; it was obvious. I felt compelled to introduce myself and wanted her to know that I and everybody else could tell she was a good person. After speaking with Marissa for just a short time, I could tell she would be a valuable addition to my project. I learned she was graduating high school soon and needed her senior photos taken- I quickly offered and gave her my information to share with her mother. Through our shoot I learned that her goals are to graduate high school and immediately attend the nursing program at the local community college. I must say, a perfect profession for such a king hearted person. I believe the world is a better place with people like Marissa in it, and will never stop telling people they have a beautiful spirit. My life is better because of people like this.