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Stranger 7. Jenny.

I saw Jenny and her dog turning the corner off Delancey Street, one of my favorite streets in Philly. I loved the color flow of her top, her purse, her shoes and wanted to capture her.

I never know what will catch my eye about someone enough to ask them to be in my project. A perpetual art director at heart, I am often drawn to the potential of an esthetically crafted image. And the interview is where I get to dive a little deeper.

I so appreciate the time and openness my subjects give to me, a perfect stranger, to capture them in both image and words. They jump in not knowing exactly what is in store for them and say yes.

Jenny was a photographer in her past life and said yes immediately because of her appreciation of photographers and the art. Her dog who's name I forgot to ask, was so sweet, yet a little nervous. In service of wanting to get photographs of both of them, we had to improvise with the dog and work with his energy rather than against it. We landed on a stoop where they could both be comfortable and at ease for the interview.

Some Stats:

Name: Jenny Bogoni

Age: 57

Photographed in: Rittenhouse Neighborhood

Lives in: Rittenhouse Neighborhood

Occupation: Runs the Citywide early literacy campaign called Read by Fourth (Amazing!)

Some Questions.

1. It could be said that life is one big improvisation. Where in your day today have you had to improvise?

Jenny: Walking my dog. She's normally very easy but suddenly she stops in the middle of the street and we have to go a different way. So it's taking us twice as long to get around the block. Improv...every day. I have teenage kids things never go the way you think they're going to go so. Today I had to change a meeting around because my daughter needed something at school, I'm constantly improv-ing.

Kat: Are you good at improv would you say?

J: I've learned to manage it. I don't know that I'm good at it but it doesn't get me upset, it doesn't frustrate me.

K: That's being good at improv. Being able to go with the flow and not lose your mind.

2. What is your hidden talent?

J: Maybe photography. No one really knows I'm a photographer. I don't use the artistic side of me anymore, but I used to love to find Art in the world outside of me.

3. What inspires you today?

J: Actually right now I'd say young people who are trying to affect the climate change crisis, they really inspire me. When I see teenagers suing the state of Montana and trying to save the planet, I think that's pretty impressive

4. How do you feel about being photographed and why?

J: It's a little intimidating, you know. I prefer to be behind the camera.

K: Why do you think you feel intimidated?

J: I suppose it's someone looking at me more closely than I'm used to being looked at. In the city you walk down the street there's plenty of people around all the time but you don't really stop to see or feel seen.

5. What piece of advice have you heard that you use or think about most often?

The one I repeat the most is one my mother told me, I don't know decades ago. She said, never turn down a job before it's offered to you.

So you know when you get halfway through a process and you're questioning whether you should really want it or don't want it? Keep going. Because unless they offer it to you, there's no decision to make.

I thought about that a lot and I think it applies to more than just the job. Like don't turn down an opportunity till it's fully in front of you. Don't close doors until they're open for you.

K: Oh that's a great piece of advice. Where have you used that in your life most recently?

J: I've been using it with my daughter who's applying to high schools and she's been second guessing which schools are the right fit for her. And I've been encouraging her to apply to more than she might think. You know, why shut a door until it's really open, and so we've been talking through that idea a lot.

6. What is something you believe but cannot prove?

J: I'm drawing a blank oh! I don't know maybe I could prove this but, my mind immediately goes to things like the kindness of strangers and those kinds of things. Believing in the kindness of strangers.

K: I believe in the kindness of strangers, Jenny! Thank you for your time.


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