“The goal, every day for an entire year, approach one stranger, photograph them and promptly blog the experience.
Rain or shine, hot or cold, healthy or ill, no days missed.
I’ll do my best to create interesting photos, and for the sake of entertainment, work to get myself into a sticky situation from time to time. It’s a huge commitment. I’m sure there will be some hero photographs and some not so magnificent ones…” – Richard Radstone, September 9, 2011.
… September 9, 2011, sitting at thirty thousand feet, or there about, courtesy of US Airways flight 711 – Philadelphia to Los Angeles. Certainly a rather patriotic and emotional day with it being so close to the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, a subtext that forced me to truly look at life’s priorities as well as my regard for the world around me.
For me, there has always been something about flying that I find strangely meditative. And surely, being crammed into a plane full of people was powerful motivation to examining my fellow-man and an inescapable slap in the face to procrastinate no longer in beginning a grand blog commitment; one that had been nagging at me for years to launch: An outreach project to photograph and interview 365 strangers in 365 days, accompanied by a daily blog entry… I guessed it would be my way of getting to know society a bit better.
Little did I know at the time that I would be starting an adventure that would ultimately change the course of my life, as well as profoundly affect the hearts of all those the project touched through the questions it posed.
“Project-365,” my family began to call it. The name stuck… and it became a part of our daily routine.
From that point forward… nothing was the same anymore, and the very path of my life was redirected and subsequently Project-365 has grown in expanding to boarders far beyond my own.
People will continue to love… and people will continue to fight. Every second of every day… someone… somewhere, will exert their right to entertain they’re thoughts and act upon the motives. And Project-365 started many of us on the road to deeply considering the way we interact within our spheres of influence.
But, there is much more to be shared and many more windows of understanding to be revealed. A ship has set sail on a journey of global scale, and in it can be found the genesis to this next practical evolution of the 365 outreach: Operation-365.
Through it, may we build a society who embraces the varied inhabitants of planet Earth. An inspired people who are courageous enough to lean into their own minds, if not even their own hearts in examining their intentions, and questions, regarding the world around them.
The journey proposed is not necessarily an easy one. I know this first hand after approaching thousand’s of strangers during my Project-365. I have been hugged, trusted and listened to. Yet, I have also been screamed at, mocked, spit upon and even pushed aside. But, in the end, all who did choose to engage in dialogue (and they are the majority) noticeably came together as a people. That, in addition to the comments Project-365 has received, plus the many who have subscribed to following the journey proves to us that it is possible for the majority to find common ground.
From the inception of Project-365, and into the continued growth of Operation-365, we have conversed with a vast cross-section of the greatest diversity, the broadest range of hopes, inspirations and points-of-view. All leading to one bold general consensus… It is possible for the many to congregate in the spirit of tolerance and understanding.
Operation-365 calls us all to this grand mission… to do our part in facilitating a global change of perspectives – A change in regards to how we view the world… and each other. A change that hopefully can help us all to accept the unique value of every individual – regardless of race, creed, gender, religion or status.
Thus, the question is served… and our task is assigned: “Can we… as diverse and culturally jaded as we are… truly enable our willingness to look beyond our own biased perceptions… to simply see… to quietly listen… and to allow ourselves to optimistically reflect upon our assessment towards our fellow human beings?
Yes, it is up to us… you and I… everyday people: “Participants” in living each day on a shared planet.
Never should we forget that in every experience encountered as we interact within in our circles of influence, can be found a greater knowledge of one another.
We are all leaving wakes in our paths, and they’re depth is perceivable, regardless of who we are, or where we live… rich, poor, sick, healthy, Jew, Gentile, black, white, yellow or whatever. With this, the challenge is marked in leaving us with the decision to examine the type waves we create in our daily lives.
One by one might we awaken in doing our part in searching for our commonalities… That through it we may learn from each another, that it is possible to dismiss our personal biases, and to redirect our intents towards seeking similarities, rather than allowing any pre-conceived notions, reactions or differences to take control in keeping us divided.
It is with your help that we can journey passed inherited boarders in building a new kind of community… A community where it’s citizens can thrive via an agreed upon code of conduct… a people who… whether they be in disagreement or in total harmony, have what it takes to maintain dignity, discipline and compassion as it strives to at least accept.
Without a doubt, the power of one is remarkable, a fact revealed through the compilation of hundreds of interviews offered by so many individuals during the one-year of Project-365. And now, with its growth into Operation-365, we may all have the same stake in creating this connected global community.
A community of distant, as well as near strangers… all being united through one common and accepting point of perspective. The broader we grow… the more we come together – and, that is indeed a beautiful thing.
Welcome to Operation-365… Awaken and Unite my friends!