Tuesday, April 17, 2012

On The Streets with Humans of New York

What do you call a project that combines the idealism of Balzac's the Human Comedies and August Sander's pursuit of documenting subjects for his People of the 20th Century ? What do you call a project that brings to mind many past forays into taking street portraits, yet seems to feel fresh maybe because the pictures were made just a few minutes ago on the supposedly mean streets of New York by a young photographer who engages his subjects directly with a smile and a request to pose or not.

Humans of New York, a photographic census with stories by a young photographer named Brandon Stanton who is close to making 4000 images and has written about fifty small stories about them.He has a long way to go there are 8 million in the city. I think it will be fun to follow this project. I spent over an hour recently looking at his website after seeing some images on Facebook .I reconigze a few of his subjects , one a professor and rabbi lives in my apartment building others I have seen on the streets.These are just people going about life and so far Brandon seems to be visiting every neighborhood and social group not just street people.

I felt this was a natural complement to the Vivian Maier posting

There have been complaints in the past about the smiles that a camera can produce in some portraits. Maybe that smile is really a way to say I am dropping my guard,I am letting you in to photograph me. This smile is part of the celebration of the act of being noticed .

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