I’ve always been fascinated by photography, particularly in portraits. I am inspired by Brandon Stanton’s photo blog “Humans of New York” and I decided to pick up photography using my mother’s unused Nikon 60D. Mostly because I have a passion for people, technology and art so why not pick up a hobby that combines the three! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that I am a photographer. In fact, I barely know anything about photography. I am using this project to practice and learn more about photography as well as learn more about people. I decided to take up the project of photographing 100 strangers and what better place than Stony Brook University, the campus I attend every day. After the first day I realized that photographing strangers is well… strange! It was also incredibly exciting and left me filled with adrenaline after each portrait. There’s something about taking a candid photo of someone you don’t know that feels incredible.
Follow me during this project right here or over at my project instagram @HumanExperienceProject
START: 10/06/14 || END: Ongoing
#1: There is no better feeling than making your subject smile.
#2: “Is this for the no smoking campaign? Hold on I’m gonna go toss this”
#3: At first she was very shy, but then she began to giggle and smile; and that moment made my day.
#4: People rarely read the newspaper these days. I admire this guy because he was the only one not on his phone.
#5: Reading a book in the shade
#6: Candid smoke sesh outside Frey Hall
#7: Just catching up with his buddy
#8: He told me he was studying hard for an exam
#9: Everybody says they don’t look good in photos, but they’re usually wrong. We had a great conversation, I hope I didn’t make you too late to your midterm.
#10: Often times, those that appear the most shy exhibit the most profound beauty.
#11: This beautiful baby girl had the most irresistible vivid eyes.
#12: I was really diggin’ this dude’s mustache. Surprisingly, he was also the first person to ask if I was going to post his photo.
#13: I love finding people hidden off by themselves.
#14: When I asked this man for his photo he said “Who ME!?” and let out a nice chuckle which made me laugh, so it was a good day.
#15: She seemed really suspicious of me taking a photo of her but in the end she allowed me to. I think you can see the suspicion in her facial expression.
#16: “I don’t know what makes a good picture or what makes people interested. I get into Photoshop a lot, I like making women look beautiful”
#17: “You see how those clouds formed in waves? Before they looked like UFO’s. Those are Lenticular Clouds, they normally form near mountain ranges.”
– What brings them over here?
“I’m not entirely sure so I’m trying to get pictures of them, it will probably be a case study”
#18: “My greatest struggle has been staying true to myself”
#19: – If you could give one piece of advice to the world what would it be?
“Don’t forget to eat”
#20: “I used to go to school in Syracuse. My immediate family lives here but my friends and the rest of my family are in Syracuse. My biggest struggle has been being away from them.”
#21: “I have a quick survey question if you have a second?”
“If you could pick one thing that a girl shouldn’t judge a guy on what would it be?”
– Beard Length
#22: – What has been your greatest struggle?
“Overcoming my self and the instincts that lead us to make poor decisions. Also, to be okay with discomfort in life and to not run away towards some sort of escape.”
#23: – Tell me a little bit about Camp Kesem
“Camp Kesem is a non-profit organization that helps children who’s parents have struggled with, overcame, or lost the battle to cancer. It’s a free program and a great opportunity for children to establish a group of peers who have been through similar struggles. This whole week we’ve had Kesem week to spread awareness and raise money so these kids can go to camp.”
- Why are you giving out free hugs?
“Today is our last day of Kesem week so we’re giving out hugs because hugs make people feel amazing.”
#24: – If you could give one piece of advice to the world what would it be?
“To always appreciate your self. In high school, I was stuck in relationships that maybe I wasn’t meant to be in because I guess I wasn’t confident in myself. Being out of those relationships has made me realize that you have to be your own best friend before you can be with others.”
#25: – What are you most proud of?
“The capacity to love.”
- Tell me about your ability to love
“Theres a quote that goes something like, ‘How could a rose have thorns? But a better question to ask is isn’t it amazing that a thorn bush has roses?’ The capacity of love is just that, despite everything that’s happening people are still people. Deep down we all want the same thing and that’s to be loved, to care for others and to share the love and passions inside of us. We should also always feel gratitude. To sit here and talk to you about this right now is the best thing in my life because this moment right now is the only thing that exists. The now is tainted with our perception of it. You should see things for as they are, not what they have been or what they will be but what they are in this very moment.”
#26: “I’m in the process of coming out to my family that I’m gay. The most difficult part has been actually saying it. So far my parents have either been alright with it or apathetic but I’ve always expected that. Not telling anybody for so long has left me in a weird state where I expect to get bad reactions. The first person I ever told was a very good friend of mine and she said, ‘I love you and I support you but I will never ever approve of that’ It brought a lot of things into perspective for me. The next person I told was the absolute best person I could have told and he is incredibly supportive of me. But ya know what, none of this changes the fact that I’m in a good college, that I’m doing what I want to do and that I am who I am.”
#27: – How do you want to help people?
“I want to make people happy because sometimes its really hard to do that.”
- Tell me about a time when you found it difficult to be happy?
“I changed from pre-med to pre-nursing and transferred from another school. The semester before I transferred I was very doubtful of getting into Stony Brook, but I got in and I was extremely happy. I remember when my mom called me to tell me the letter came in and I cried.”
#28: – What do you think it means to connect with someone?
“When you’re able to identify them as someone who is easy to talk to and has something genuine they want to share with you . You can move past the small talk a little and share what’s really going on with you.”
#29: – What are you most afraid of?
“Not having genuine relationships because the most important thing is forming honest connections with people, what do you have if not that?”
– Why are you fearful of that?
“I’ve settled a lot and watch people settle all the time. I think it’s difficult to stop settling and find a person you fully resonate with.”
– What do you think the most important element of connecting with someone is?
“Honesty. Sharing your most honest self and expecting the same from that person. I find that I give more than I get sometimes and that’s hard because people are guarded. This guard prevents them from being the best version of themselves and in turn inhibits successful connections.”
#30: – What are you most proud of?
“I’m proud of the fact I’m still here despite all that I have been through.”
What has been your greatest struggle?
“My birth mom died when I was six and my step mom died a couple of years ago, both of cancer.”
– What has been the most difficult part of that?
“Well my birth mom was in remission so it was a big surprise when she died and I don’t have any memory of her. My step mom went through six months of extreme degeneration and seeing what happened to her physically was very hard. It happened very fast and we knew from the start what was happening to her, we knew that she was going to die. I wasn’t particularly close with her but she had been my step mom since I was seven, it felt like she was my mom and I loved her.”
#31: This is Paul. He was pretty set on this pose so I thought I’d let his awesome style speak for itself.
#32: “Social boundaries prevent you from doing certain things around people. I feel really connected with my girlfriend. I’ve known her a while and we have a lot of memories.”
– Tell me about your greatest memory with her?
“It wasn’t really happy but, but one time we parked my car in a carpool lot because our parents wouldn’t let us sleep over. For some reason we thought it would be a good idea to have a couple four-lokos in the front seat. The cops came and saw the alcohol so they searched my car but we ended up getting out of it.”
#33: What do you think it means to be truly connected with somebody?
“I think it means to not only be connected with them physically but with their soul. Being connected has to do with your mindset. You connect physically, mentally, emotionally and it really doesn’t happen a lot. It’s rare these days to really connect with someone.”
– Tell me about a time when you felt connected to somebody?
“Right now, with you. I think it’s great that you’re here talking to me.”
– What makes you feel connected to me?
“I think the fact that you’re an objective complete stranger. It gives me the opportunity to get something off my chest. You don’t open up to someone unless they have a warm personality and they are willing to offer part of themselves.”
#34: – What’s the best memory you have with your wife?
“The birth of our kids. It’s a miracle to see your kids born and to share that with someone. When you’re sitting next to your wife in bed, holding your baby in your arms it feels like a miracle.”
– Whats the hardest thing about being a father?
“Letting go, letting them live their life”
– What do you want for your kids?
“I want them to be happy, they don’t need to make a lot of money they just need to do something that makes them happy. I want them to do something they’re passionate about.”
#35: – What do you think it means to really connect with someone?
“That’s actually a very difficult question. I recently found that I’m not very compatible. I’ve found that my only means of communication is analysis. Beyond that, I don’t really know what to talk about and I force conversation that doesn’t form connections. I think people often inhibit themselves because they don’t want to come off in a poor way as opposed to someone who is open and comfortable with themselves. When you have those qualities it allows you to flourish in relationships.”
#36: – If you could be any color what would it be?
“Any color? That’s a difficult question. I think it would be sky blue because that has always been my favorite color. It also most closely resembles my calm personality. I think I would have to choose brown though because well.. (points at skin) that’s what I’m used to.”