the People of Ann Arbor

Last Friday, Beixi and I met up to work on our remediation project, which involves stopping random people on the streets of Ann Arbor, asking them a few highly personal questions, and taking a photo that captures who they are as individuals.

Hi, we’re doing a project for our Minor in Writing Course. Would you be willing to answer a few questions and get your photo taken for our blog?

Don’t tell Beixi, but I was a little skeptical about how this would turn out. Would people really take time out of their lives to tell us “what inspires them” and about “a moment they wish they had appreciated more”? People rarely even make eye contact on the streets, let alone welcome strangers into their inmost thoughts.

We stopped 23 people on the street. 23 people gave us thoughtful responses. 23 people allowed us to take their photographs. And we finished the day with 23 incredibly unique answers to the exact same two questions.

A father with two of his five children said, “You can use my photo as long as it doesn’t go on Total Frat Move or whatever you kids call it”. Then, went on to tell us about his wife, his wedding day, and the moments in which his children were born.

A homeless man on Liberty Street stressed the importance of intelligence and wisdom.

A graduate student that we interviewed on State Street went as far as to show us his brand new block M tattoo, which required him to strip down to his boxers on a busy Friday evening and take the bandage off of his fresh ink.

Along with fulfilling any requirements for a class, this project is restoring my faith in humanity. People are awesome. The People of Ann Arbor are awesome. 


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2 thoughts to “the People of Ann Arbor”

  1. I am so happy to hear about this success!! Not going to lie, I too was a bit skeptical about how many responses you would get. Not only does it speak to the awesome-ness of these people, but it also goes to show how awesome you guys are! Opening up and sharing your story has a lot to do with the people asking. It speaks to you and Beixi’s genuine, trusting, and warm nature to be able to get people to participate! I can’t wait to see the final website and all of the inspiring ideas.

  2. Hahahahaa I only just saw this!
    I’m also very surprised that we had 100% participation. I thought that at least one person or so would say no but everyone has been more than willing to help and you’re right, it really is changing how I think of people. It seems everyone has so much to share and is so willing to share, that I wonder why we don’t talk to strangers more? We become isolated in our own spheres, not looking at each other as we cross the street, but then all it takes is for two college students with a phone and camera to start a conversation. If our goal was to talk to one new stranger everyday, I can’t even imagine all the incredible things we could learn.
    I am so thrilled we decided to do this project and am actually so excited with how it’s turned out. I think we’ve both grown as writers and as communicators, and we’ve discovered that Ann Arbor, truly is, Awesome.

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