The People in Our Lives

CONNOR HARTZELL

A Note from the Photographer:

This project entailed asking two people who shared a relationship (roommates, childhood friends, mentors/ mentees, etc.) how they have influenced one another. During the photoshoots, I was given unique insight into how their lives crossed over. There were many laughs, goofy faces, and retakes. I witnessed how much one cared about the other: each was interested in their partner’s activities, excited about their accomplishments, and encouraging towards their goals. This project not only made each reflect on this specific relationship and its meaning, but it also let the other know its significance. In the non-stop chaos that is collegiate life, it can be difficult to pause and appreciate all that friends do for you; I know it is for me. An integral part to a successful and happy life is the people with which you surround yourself. Thus, I hope that the following photos and quotes inspire you to give thanks to the meaningful people in your life.

Mark and James

“You know in cartoons when a character has an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other? Mark is the devil on my shoulder. He’s fun to have around, but it’s safe to say that I would be a lot more productive and I would make better decisions if I’d never met him.”

“I bother James a lot. When I say a lot, I mean a lot. At this point, I essentially find it a recreational activity. I bother James so much that in a couple of years bothering James will probably be a pastime for all of America. But I guess you could still consider us friends.”

Chelsea and Sarah:

“Everybody acts like best friends are supposed to be the same person, but that’s not true for us at all. We love to wear matching skirts and animal shirts and pretend were going “on safari,” but she builds robots and I’m perfectly content crunching numbers for hours at a time. What makes our friendship so unique is that it combines two very different people into one story-telling, Gilmore Girls loving, adventure taking entity. And I couldn’t be happier.”

“Sarah brings out my spontaneity. Whether it’s anything from dropping what we’re doing because we immediately need cookie dough to going on a 2 week road trip to Maine and back, we find adventure in everything. I never used to be like that… I love that we encourage each other’s crazy ideas and just run with them.”

Alexis and Meggie

“From the moment we met, I noticed that she was the kind of person I wanted to be: goofy yet collected and brilliant but humble. Meggie is the person that makes you want to be a better person. Every day she tells me (in one way or another) that I’m more than I think I am. She taught me how to laugh at myself; something seemingly arbitrary but actually life-changing. Meggie is the friend that I couldn’t live without–the friend that taught me what a friend truly is: always present, always honest and freaking hilarious.”

“Initially, I didn’t like Alexis, but then I realized, how could you not love someone who all in all makes you a better person? Alexis literally brings out the sparkle in me and as cheesy as it is, truly helps me shine. She helps me see my value and worth when I can’t see it myself. She’s fun, passionate, selfless and sometimes a little crazy.”

Marina and Bianca

“I have to be careful because I don’t want to use all the material I’ve been saving for her Maid of Honor speech. Sometimes I don’t think she realizes it, but I attribute most of my successes to her. My big sister inspires me everyday with how effortlessly she accomplishes incredible things. Such as pulling off an entirely cheetah print outfit like it’s still 2010.

“Being the older sister, I always feel like it is my job to influence and inspire Marina. However, I am constantly blown away and learning from her accomplishments… I am lucky everyday to have Marina as a positive influence in my life, even if she likes to drink caramel from the bottle. She claims I’m going to be an old cat lady, but I’m okay with it as long as she lets us stay in her guest house.”

Sebastian and Tempris

“I can’t remember what it was that originally pushed me to be her Mentor, but I was ready to fight a few people for her during selections. Actually I kind of did. Since then, Tempris has become an inspiration for me within my own leadership roles. She reminds me what integrity looks like and how to stay strong with your own convictions while being flexible enough to effectively work with others. She told me once that “when you look at me, you see all the potential you think I have.” But saying that overshadows the fact that what I see first is the growth she’s already had.

“What made [Sebastian] so great was that he cared about my involvement and school work. He assisted me with different opportunities and always cared how they went. Even a whole year later, I feel the genuine mentorship.”

 Maya and Kalyani

“Maya is not just my mentor but also my sister, my confidante, and my best friend. Her belief in me is unparalleled and she constantly motivates me to be the best that I can be… Frankly, it is extremely difficult for me to describe in words my relationship with Maya to an unknown reader. Our friendship goes beyond a short, reflective paragraph and a pretty, “candid” photograph. All I can say is that I hope everyone is lucky enough to have a Maya in their lives – Someone who loves unconditionally, protects fiercely and inspires deeply.”

“I met Kalyani in her first year when I was assigned to be her mentor. I always assumed I would be the one to teach her everything I know, expecting little in return. Yet, in many ways Kalyani has played the mentor role in our relationship. She advises me, encourages and challenges me, and forces me to think about what I do and why I do it.”

Yolanda and Yesenia
“Yolanda has always taught me to laugh. And I mean that
literally, but also spiritually. She has taught me to take life a
little lighter.”
“[Yesenia] has taught me that with hard work and
dedication anything is achievable. Through her I have seen
that true and real friendship really does exist and that people
will have your best interest at heart.”

Taylor and Rhina
“Her strong, beautiful soul has been a source of comfort,
warmth and love. Taylor is the embodiment of resilience. Like
a phoenix, she continually defies all odds and is reborn into an
even more inspiring individual… She knows everything about
me and makes me feel important, like it’s not irrational that
the rain makes me sad or that I stress about my future. She is
always there to listen and to hold me when I can’t hold myself
together. Taylor has introduced me to a kind of unconditional
love and support that I only ever expected to feel from my
family.”
“When [Rhina] hurts, I hurt, and when she’s happy, I’m
happy. I talk about her constantly like she’s my boyfriend
(really, it’s kind of annoying), worry about her like she’s my
daughter and love her like she’s my sister. A connection like
that makes you believe in something deeper, like maybe
certain people were supposed to find each other in this life.”

Nardin and Matt
“Even though [Matt] is only a year older, he seems so
wise. I really appreciate that he has always kept it real with
me, something a lot of people don’t really do. He tells me to
do what makes me happy and that’s probably the best advice
a person could give.”
“She jokes every once in a while that she’s a robot, and
while this may still be up for debate, she is also one of the most
caring and warm hearted people I know. Nardin is always
ready to go on adventures, make cheesy jokes, and offer “real
talk”. It’s been incredible to watch her grow and make waves
everywhere she goes.”

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