A few years ago, my best friend, Theresa, and I started a photography project. Inspired by the book/blog A Year of Mornings: 3191 Miles Apart, we decided to create a new photography project. For one year, each of us took an image of our lives in our respective cities, and then we shared them with each other. We called our project NYC + KC, as Theresa was living in Brooklyn, New York and I was based in Kansas City. The project wasn’t perfect, but as I’m learning in my daily life, those imperfections made it truly awesome. The images weren’t taken by professional photographers looking to create an art installation, just by two buddies wanting to share their lives with each other.
There is something magical about having friends who’ve known you since you were a child. I met Theresa when I was 8-years-old, in our third grade classroom. She has been there through everything, and for about 10 years of our lives, we saw each other on a daily basis. Our lives were so intertwined, sometimes it was difficult to tell where one started and another began. She knew by a look on my face if I’d had my heart broken by a boy or my self-esteem crushed by another kid in our class. She knew who I was before I became who I am today…in fact, she’s probably the one person in the world I can’t fake out. I can pretend with other people, but not with Theresa. Even now, she will read a harmless text that I think is nonchalant and be able to sense I need to talk. That’s just how it works.
But after 10 years of seeing each others face every, single day, we both moved away. We left our hometown, she to the east coast and me to college and then abroad. She studied abroad soon after, and before I knew it was happening, we weren’t face-to-face friends anymore. We had become “hour-long phone call friends” and “quick texts on the go friends.” And while I still knew her, I didn’t really understand what her life looked like anymore. I couldn’t tell you the names of her neighbors or her work colleagues. I didn’t know what she had for breakfast in the morning or how she liked her coffee. Our lives were no longer intertwined, instead, they progressed steadily along parallel lines.
NYC + KC really changed that for me. Every day when Theresa would post I photo, I’d feel a tiny bit closer to her. Mundane items like a vase on my windowsill became beautiful because I knew I’d be sharing it with her via my daily image. For the first time in years, I felt a little like I did back in high school, when my best friend knew everything about me, large and small. This daily act of sharing became a way for us to connect, and it was wonderful.
Late last year, Theresa texted me asking if I’d be interested in resurrecting the NYC + KC project. I admit, I was hesitant. This was not an easy project five years ago. It was hard. We were lugging our large DSLR cameras everywhere we went, and then editing and uploading images at night. But Theresa had a solution! She suggested we do the project through Instagram, the social media photo sharing site. Instead of our big cameras, we’d use our iPhones and then edit and directly upload to Instagram. It sounded perfect!
Our new NYC + KC project began on January 1st, 2015, and so far, the magic is definitely back. It took us a while to get back into the groove, but slowly we found our speed and now I’m loving this project more than ever! One change we’ve made is to give ourselves themes to photograph to each month. The themes are all focused on different ways to look at our daily lives in a more positive way. January’s theme was gratitude and February’s is love. I love seeing what in Theresa’s life is bringing her gratitude, and so far, love has been pretty amazing as well.
If you’re interested, we’d love for you to follow our fun on Instagram under the profile @nycpluskc. Maybe you even want to play along?! Take a photo of something/someone/someplace you love, and upload it to Instagram using the hashtags #nycpluskc and #love. Then make sure you hashtag the city where you’re living (for example, all of my photos are also hashtagged with #kc), so we can learn more about the city you call home! How cool would it be to have a whole host of images of love from all over the place?! So cool. Remember, this is not some photography contest where we are looking for the most slick image, just somewhere to share a little love. That’s what friendship is all about…sharing a little love and receiving some back in return.