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Free-lance writer, author & farmer Dava Stewart.

My People Who Do Things project was born in Kansas City, MO in 2014 after gestating for many years undetected. Since my teen years I’ve been a fan of the poetry and prose of Dorothy Parker. I was always struck by the poem “Bohemia”, in which she rails in a tongue-in-cheek fashion against the creative set of people in her circles, declaiming “People Who Do Things exceed my endurance; God for a man who solicits insurance!” Still, I have always known that People Who Do Things - artists, writers, artisans, creators, musicians, performers - are my people. I am drawn to them and their creations. 

 I was in Kansas City for a brief visit with friends, in part to make author photographs for one friend, and family photographs for the other. The author portraits took an interesting turn as did the family photographs, when one friend donned a Luchadore mask for his author photo and the other friend put on her full clown makeup for the family photographs. I was reviewing the photographs when it struck me that I had something special here.  

I also thought that “People Who Do Things” are often also people who “solicit insurance” or otherwise have day jobs - ordinary people who do and create things, removing the glamorous idea that “creative people” are somehow different from ordinary people. This project is expanding locally as I collect artists, musicians, and artisans to be photographed for the series, but I would also like to include “people who do things” all across the United States and Canada if possible. I want to photograph subjects in their place of creation or while performing, as well as making portraits of them as people. I take a candid approach because I find that I portray a perception of honest and intimate expression and emotion more often than when posing subjects formally. The main thrust of my work is to show the extraordinary in the ordinary, and this project extends the scope of that aim.