Big Idea: Hi, Neighbor!


Name: Svetla Morrison
Occupation: Photographer/creator/educator
Hometown: A small town in Bulgaria
Home now: Cuyahoga Falls


What’s your big idea?

Hi, Neighbor! is a project that aims to look beyond (and despite) the facts we could find about each other online, inviting you to extend your knowledge for the people who inhabit the same living area as you to a closer, more personal level, more so as humans rather than titles and facts.

The project portraits the “soul” of Akron by featuring a diverse group of participants from every Akron neighborhood.

I take a photo of each participant in their comfortable environment. Each photo is featured along with four questions I have asked every participant to answer: name; how they perceive themselves (beyond social acknowledgement and titles); and two pieces of advice: one which they’d been given that means a lot to them, and another they wish they’d been given.

By asking the participants to share their advice (one of the most altruistic ways of communication), I aim to capture the spirit of understanding, acceptance and compassionate community ultimately translating to The Wisdom of Akron.

I also hope that this project will benefit the communication between Akron’s neighborhoods.


Since this issue is centered around self-portraits, thought it would be fun to ask Svetla to participate in her own project. Here are her responses.


Name: Svetla Ganeva-Morrison

How do you perceive yourself?
A professional observer, passionate explorer of all things humane, tripoholic, adventurer, believer.

Advice you’ve been given that sticks out to you:
I have been fortunate to have my childhood and adolescent years full of wise people who were caring enough for my well being to share their life experience with me. But what sticks out the most from all the amazing advice I was showered with could sum up “It’s all about the attitude.”

Both my mom and my grandma used to often say to me, “No one shoots an arrow towards a smiling face.” And this great advice kept reoccurring in their various lessons: “Be nice to people, it doesn’t cost you anything,” “Treat others with the same respect with which you wish to be treated,” “Be considerate of other people’s needs,” “Everyone is somebody’s friend, family, teacher—be careful what your attitude charge their worlds with.”

Of course all these words sound great and most of us identify with their importance. Others may disregard them with apathy, but either way, if you attempt to live up to their meaning, you quickly discover it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Advice you wish you were given:
I really wish somebody along the way had pulled me aside and asked me, “Hey, has it occurred to you that ‘Done’ is better than ‘Perfect’?”

I’ve struggled for years, ending up not landing tons of ideas, because they were not perfected.

When I moved to the States (almost 8 years ago), I saw great examples of this much more realistic approach in the face of quite a few great women I met through my first working place, The International Institute of Akron. Dylanna Jackson, Rebecca Jenkins and Natalya Mutareva just to name a few.

However, probably the most distinct example of this idea I had the opportunity to observe closely through Chris Horne venturing the job of a publisher of The Devil Strip magazine. I joined helping Chris from the very beginning of the magazine in print, and through the following months working together, my admiration for his skills to balance dreams with reality and stay away from perfection discouraging and overwhelming him only grew bigger. Because indeed, ‘Done’ is better than ‘Perfect.’

And so I slowly realized, launching a perfected version of an idea is an oxymoron, because perfection is not a constant. It’s not a final, and definitely not the first phase of a creation, but rather is the very fabric of our evolving vision influenced by the things we encounter on daily basis. We are never the same, and so can’t be our state of perfection. And the thought of this was so liberating. But it took me awhile to see it.


You can follow Svetla Morrison’s Hi, Neighbor! project on her facebook and instagram pages / @ svetla morrison fotografy/ and also check it on her website,


(Featured photo of Svetla Morrison by Svetla Morrison.)