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Dear Friends,

I hope you have enjoyed Alec’s blog. I personally love reading his pieces – knowing Alec as I do – they sound just like him: he is an enthusiastic street photographer who really enjoys sharing his art.

But the point is not to read and enjoy the pieces – the point is to be courageous and test out what Alec is suggesting – making new friends and capturing their inner beauty. This is harder said than done – I know.  However, I was determined to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. So….one day on vacation at the Jersey shore I had an opportunity to test out Alec’s ideas. My daughter asked me to go get matching tattoos with her – a golden opportunity to interview someone of interest!

At first I was really nervous to ask if I could take photos but our tattoo artist, Diane. She was so friendly and kind that I forged ahead and my nerves faded away. She was awesome. She told us she does interviews all the time and was happy for me to snap away. She told us some of her life and about learning her art from her dad. She made us laugh when she said being a tattoo artist was the hardest form of art since you are working with a canvas that “has opinions and talks back!”

But I had been so caught up in the setting up of the interview that I wasn’t really prepared. Later as I listened to my audio recording, I realized that I had missed a golden opportunity to ask good questions. I wish I had asked what she likes about being a tattoo artist, her tattoo drawings, her relationship with her customers, when she feels happiest, if she ever lose herself in her work, her process, her best learning experiences, and so forth.

Even so, it was a really good experience: I was able to connect with a lady who on the surface is completely different to me and I really liked her. I left feeling that I had made a friend and that I had enriched my own life a little bit. Now in retrospect I think the experience demonstrated to me that the intersection of photography and positive psychology is very powerful and our job is to explore how far we can go.

Nikki and I have beautiful matching tattoos to remind us of the day.

Here are the photos:

I encourage all of you to read the blogs and try out Alec’s suggestions. I think you will find a whole new world, new friends, renewed curiosity about people who appear different to you, and more confidence arising out of forgetting about yourself and really thinking about someone else and their life story.


Mandy Seligman

Mandy Seligman is the founder of SeeingHappy, a nonprofit whose mission it is to promote wellbeing through photography using positive psychology. She is a psychologist who believes that we can all benefit from using using positive psychology at every stage of life.

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