Photography + Videos / Talk to Strangers: Portraits of America / Vignettes

Stranger Q+A

If you received a mini photo and question, you’re invited to post your answer here. You’re free to share as little or as much information about who you are and the question you received. Thanks for sharing!



  • Julio Barros
    September 30, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Why do you cross the street?

    To get a glimpse of you.

    It was too long ago and I’m to old for this. Wish I could go back and fix things. Or at least see you and see that you are okay. But you haven’t been here in years and I need to get home to my new life.

    • Jewel
      October 5, 2013 at 8:22 pm

      Julio, that’s a beautiful story. I hope this story swapping continues as we continue to cross paths.

  • Brian
    September 29, 2013 at 9:22 pm


    We met a few different times throughout XOXO, but if you remember breaking your wine glass at the closing party, I was there 🙂 My question was: “What do you keep locked?”

    I thought it over a bit, and I’m still not quite sure how to answer. I could answer with the banal truth, that the only things I keep locked are my filing cabinet, my house and my bicycle, and my phone and computer. But if I’m honest, I would say that more than anything else, I keep my heart locked. I tend to not let people completely in out of a fear of being rejected. I tend to portray a version of myself tailored to the person I’m interacting with which I think they will like and accept. But I have a very hard time opening up completely and just being myself. I think it’s that reason — that I tend to keep my heart locked — that I feel that I don’t have any close friends.

    This is one of the most basic things about myself that I want to change and your card is hanging on my wall right now as a constant reminder of that.

    • Jewel
      October 5, 2013 at 8:18 pm

      Brian, If you hadn’t reminded me, I would have forgotten. Thanks for the memory of shattered glass and second wind at Arcade. Look forward to hearing how the change making goes – and visiting Tokyo.

  • Josh
    September 25, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Hi Jewel –

    We met at the closing party, which is basically a blur in my mind after 9pm. No idea what we discussed, but I loved the photo! My question was “What do you hide?” Personal!

    I tend to bond over two things: insecurity and / or my fairly specific interests. Depending on the context I’m usually hiding one or the other. If I like spending time with someone but don’t share common interests, I’ll try to hide my Aspergian obsession with that small set of topics to avoid alienation. At XOXO, that wasn’t a problem, and instead I found myself hiding my everyday insecurities (emotional hang-ups, fear of failure / success, an aversion to strenuous physical activity caused by a childhood history of broken bones, etc.).

    Also, I haven’t been self-motivated to create anything in three years. Very embarrassing. Let me close the browser and work on fixing that…

  • jewel
    September 23, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Wow, I love your answers! Thank you so much for participating. I didn’t have any expectations about what this would turn into, and I simply adore reading your stories – fun and inspiring.

    Also a supreme pleasure meeting you. I can hardly wait to properly follow up and check out your projects. (The one downside to living in Portland is no day off after XOXO.)

  • Paul R
    September 22, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Hi Jewel, we met at the XOXO opening party. I believe we discussed civic engagement, amongst several topics.

    Your question: how far have you travelled?

    My answer: Not yet far enough. I think I’m maybe half-way there, and I think I will learn much more the rest of the way.

  • Virginia (The Heartographer)
    September 22, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Oh, an addendum if you feel like editing this in for me (sorry): the yellow slide dream was the most haunting because I think I had a sense of urgency about needing to find a specific adult-person for a very pressing yet unknown reason, but nobody would pay us kids any attention. So we were on this infinite slide treadmill that never netted the desired result.

  • Virginia (The Heartographer)
    September 22, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Hiya! What a delight to meet you and participate in your photo fun. I’m Virginia, an online dating coach up in Seattle, and my question was “Do you have a repeating dream?”

    I don’t have those anymore, but when I was a little kid I had a series of different repeating dreams. They were all pretty scary. One involved swimming in a pitch-dark lake filled with tiny islands completely covered in autumn leaves, as if they’d been decoupaged. The islands somehow had palm trees, also decoupaged in autumn leaves. And scary dinosaurs often hid behind those palm trees, defying the laws of physics and biology and climate and time and all sorts of things. Oh, and I was always wearing my purple footed pajama romper thing. This is one of my earliest memories, from perhaps four years old. That dream HAUNTED me, yet I still begged to go see the dinosaur exhibit at Pacific Science Center as often as possible. I guess I was a bold kid, after a fashion?

    I also had recurring dreams about my furry bean bag chair coming to life and terrorizing me, about this one weird-looking crack in a window turning into a demon portal eye that would allow monsters to come into my house and terrorize me, and my adorable cat walking on hind legs and becoming somewhat zombified and terrorizing me. It’s funny; I don’t think of myself as a particularly fearful person, and I don’t think I was all that scared as a kid either. But man, those dreams still make me cringe.

    The most haunting recurring dream was a little older, maybe seven or so. My childhood house was filled with adults who were at a party, milling about so thick and tall that I and a couple other kids had to weave our way around their legs, and kind force openings between boring grown-up people. All of these different party-rooms were somehow connected with yellow metal tube slides, like at the playground, and you’d just slide from one busy boring adult-filled party room into another. An endless series of pointless yellow slides. It’s possible I needed a little more adult attention at that stage in my life, haha.

    I haven’t had recurring dreams in oh so long now. They always had this haunting creepy yet fascinating quality, even the scary ones, so a little part of me looked forward to them because they at least felt familiar. My familiarity comes from other sources now, I think. But I’ll let you know if I ever have a recurring dream again. 🙂


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