It was february break this past week and I traveled to visit relatives in Portland, and to the beautiful Big Apple. I took lots of pictures. here’s a link to my flickr page to check out my most recent photos.
I’ve been a huge fan of Brandon Stanton’s “Humans of New York” work for about 4 years now. I first found out about his blog because it was advertised on my personal Tumblr dashboard. It was this photo.
I was intrigued. The look of this man’s face was honestly just pure happiness. For one minute of his life he was able to feel childlike and free. The blurry people in the background help achieve the feeling that this man was the only one that mattered. For one fleeting moment, he was the star of the show. I immediately wanted to know more of his story.
Since then, Stranton has been sharing bits and pieces of people’s stories from all over one of the world’s greatest cities, New York City. His goal is to create an interactive map of faces and to reach 10,000 photographs from every neighborhood, street, nook and cranny in NYC. He has currently met and recorded the stories of 5,000 citizens and visitors of the big apple.
It’s hard to describe what emotion his photos evoke in me. I always feel somewhere in between wonder and contentment. Stanton always knows what exactly to say and that’s the part I find most fascinating. What do I mean by that? Well, when Stanton takes a photo of a NYC citizen, he also has a chat with them. He discusses their biggest fear, their biggest regret, their advice to other “Humans of New York.” Stanton says that sometimes he talks with these strangers-turned-friends for an hour, about anything they like. What does he do with all of their wisdom they just handed to him? He takes a single thread in the quilt of stories they just weaved and he captions the photo. That’s it. Stanton’s work is so pure. So simplistic. Sometimes a single sentence, sometime’s just two or three words explain the Human in the photograph. And honestly I never question it. I never yearn to know more. His ability to capture the essence of a person so easily astounds me and it makes me wonder what kind of story I’m advertising about myself everyday. It makes me wonder what I could learn from the people around me right here in Farmington, Maine, if it’s apparently so easy to learn about a person with just a few simple words. That ability to capture the essence is exactly what I love about photography, and Stanton does it ever so delicately and elegantly.
That’s kind of what I’ve been missing, I think. The only time in my life that I took pictures i was really happy with was on my trip when I was forced and prompted to take pictures, hundreds of them, everyday. While in my class, I came home every night with tons and tons of pictures to sift through and edit. At first, I’d get one that I really liked out of all day of shooting. Towards the end, I’d only take maybe 100 or so pictures and I’d come out with 12 that I was happy with. That’s the key. To just get out there and do it. I’m not going to take a jaw dropping photograph if I dont bring my camera with me. Yesterday I went to Boston and I took 37 pictures and this is the only one I thought was semi “show-worthy.” My camera is always next to me and my thirst to create is not being quenched simply because I don’t take it out of its bag. If i do not prompt myself like my professor prompted me, I fear I will never get to that place where I’m happy with my work again. I have to almost force myself to just get out and try.
Ilanka Kaplan of Interview Magazine sat down and talked with music newcomer, Mary Lambert, on her second EP (Welcome to the Age of my Body) which was released December 17, 2013. http://www.interviewmagazine.com/music/mary-lambert-welcome-to-the-age-of-my-body/#_ The singer/songwriter became famous when she recorded with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis on the award-winning song, “Same Love.” The first few paragraphs of the article introduced Mary as a singer/songwriter and as a person. Lambert is a curvy woman with lots of spunk, attitude, humor, but she is also very thoughtful and artful. The tone of Kaplan suggests that she is very respectful of and awed by what Lambert has done with her songs touching on issues of heartbreak, body image, sex and sexuality, and many more issues that we all face today. Through a script-style interview article, Kaplan shows us that Lambert is a special kind of celebrity, one who knows the importance of touching upon “untouched” issues, as well as taking time to self-nurture and have fun.