Sage Interview Project

Our friend and fellow creative Rob Corpuz isn’t taking the extra time he’s spending at home for granted, he’s up to something BIG! You know Rob, he’s the photographer behind our Spirit of Portland photoshoot last summer, a project that brought together luminaries of Portland’s past, present and future for a bright and shining moment during the Proud Boys/Antifa protest.

Rob wants YOU to do something big as well. He wants you to get in touch with your sage: an older family member or mentor that you love and respect.  Invite them to record a video interview with you.  Ask them some meaningful questions and really listen to their answers. And he guarantees it will be a valuable experience that you’ll cherish forever.

Brian “The Unipiper” Kidd caught up with Rob to discuss this exciting project, here’s a partial transcript of their conversation:

Brian: Thanks for joining us, Rob.  I loved your video.  So tell me more about the project.  

Rob: Thanks, Brian!  In grade school, I interviewed my grandmother for a homework assignment, which inspired me to record an audio interview with my parents years later. 

A portrait of Rob’s father

The idea stuck with me, and I dreamed of making it into a project: travel the world, interview and photograph people in the autumn/winter of their lives, compile all the advice and stories, and share it with the world… but I never got around to it.  

I realized recently that, with so many stuck at home–especially older folks–along with the rising popularity and technical capabilities of video chat apps, now is actually a wonderful opportunity to make a version of this project happen, albeit without doing any travel or in-person photography myself.

Brian: Makes sense!  So why record the interview?  Why not just remind everyone to keep in touch with their elders?

Rob: Creating a sense of occasion can inspire a more meaningful conversation.  If you show your subject that you value what they have to say enough to go to all this trouble, they might be more inclined to open up, dig deeper, and give extra thought to what they say. 

Also, memory fades.  Ever looked at an old photo and thought, “Wow, I completely forgot that happened!”?  I doubt you can recall every word of even the most significant conversation you had twenty years ago.  Even if you can, wouldn’t you still love to actually watch it?  Or say… an interview with your great-grandmother? 

After my father passed away, there was a moment, months later, when I realized I was starting to forget his voice.  I went back and listened to that recording of my dad telling stories and laughing, and I cried, realizing just how thankful I was that I had that recording.  

That being said, if the only result of this project is a few folks having some great conversations with loved ones, I’ll be happy.    

Brian: And if you could get any result you wanted?

Rob: I’d receive clips from all over the world of people interviewing their own sages.  The more diverse, the better.  Other languages would be amazing!  And I’d do more interviews myself.  If anyone wants to introduce me to potential subjects, I’m all ears.  I’d make a film sharing the highlights of all the interviews and what I’ve learned.  

Brian: What do you hope to learn?  And what’s the next step for those who are interested?

Rob:I believe everyone has a story worth sharing, yet we never see regular people interviewed the way celebrities are.  While I have a few guesses, I’m actually excited to say I don’t know exactly what we’ll learn, but I’m confident it will be rewarding.  

If you know someone who you’d like me to interview, or plan on doing an interview yourself, please contact me on my website, Facebook, or Instagram, and then like, share, subscribe… and share again!  Thanks.

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