Portrait Project

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

Amy Huynh

We often associate magic with the extraordinary and the unexpected. I've learned that magic is in fact omnipresent and can be found in moments as quotidian as a morning walk to work, or in things as simple as a smile. We just have to discover that magic.

Nearly every morning while I worked in New York what made my day was the three to five minutes I spent talking to John. He was a janitor who swept the sidewalks and through-block arcade of 1325 Avenue of the Americas. He would walk me from 54th Street to 53rd, sometimes from 7th Avenue to 6th and share with me the most delightful stories about his weekend dancing with his wife, or the more agonizing stories of tending to his ailing mother. Sometimes, he would offer me unsolicited advice and tell me I needed to meet a boy. My favorite morning was on his 50th birthday. I brought him two giant cupcakes. His eyes widened, he dropped his broom, gave me a heartfelt hug and smiled so genuinely that he lit up the street. I wished others had stopped for a moment to see how happy he was. It was magical.

I want to discover that magic every day, be part of it, and add to it. I want to embrace the otherwise unremarkable and transform them into the remarkable, both for myself and for others.

— Amy Huynh