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Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Show and Tell: My Little Photobombers + Seeing New York (and People) Differently

I have two things to share today.

First, a little peek into what is usually going on around the food I photograph. I like to keep the photography on my site simple. It’s just my style. But there’s another reason for the simplicity, which is pictured here:

food photo shoot photo bomb |

I’m a mom. I work from home and I’m the primary caregiver. And those little people that I care for are always around, even when it’s time for a “photo shoot.” Nearly half of the photos I take have fingers sneaking into the shot, or faces popping up in the background. I just learn to work around it and work quickly. Yesterday, though, it went beyond cute chubby fingers sneaking in to steal a cookie. It went to a whole other heart-melting-I-can-barely-hold-my-camera-steady-garlic-what-garlic-that-boy-is-so-cute-heaven-help-me level.

Moving on to share item #2: Humans of New York (HONY). I always assume everyone knows about this blog, but, surprisingly, many people I mention it to have never heard of it. I simply will not rest until I get all people as addicted to HONY as I am, so a blog post is in order!

humans of new york book |

HONY was started by Brandon Stanton, bond trader turned photographer, who interviews and photographs (you guessed it) humans in New York. His blog is wildly popular and he published his first book this month, which I pre-ordered ages ago. The book is as wonderful as the blog and made it to the #1 spot on the New York Times Bestseller list for non-fiction. If you aren’t already, you need to start following the blog and/or the Facebook page and/or buy the book.

Beyond telling you about the website and the book, I also want to tell you an interesting experience I had as a result of reading HONY. I grew up in New Jersey and New York was our city. I went in frequently and know the place well. Last week I went on a quick business trip to New York. It was the first time I visited the city since starting to read HONY and it completely changed my perspective.

humans of new york book |

If you’ve never been to New York, it is just as busy and full of people as you might imagine, maybe even more so. When you’re there, you have to put yourself on fast forward, keep your head down and just go. Of course you notice people around you, how can you not? But usually you notice them in a quick way. However, on this trip, even though I was moving quickly, for the first time I was really noticing people. Not in a who-is-that-creepy-lady-staring-at-me-on-the-subway way, but in a these-are-all-humans-with-stories way. I had so much more compassion for people. I wanted to talk to people, find out what was happening in their lives. I wanted to get my camera out all the time. Instead of seeing a jacket that I previously would have thought was “ugly” I now saw a woman who really loved a fun jacket that made her feel good. I really, truly felt differently about everyone I walked by or sat next to or waited in line with.

humans of new york book |

It might sound cheesy, but HONY truly changed my perspective. I feel like I’m a pretty compassionate person and always have been. But what Brandon does is unique. He stops a stranger and asks them a question – not “What do you do for a living?” but “What would you tell a large group of people?” or something similarly probing. He tries to get something “real” out of the person. As Brandon says on his site, “Adding even the simplest quote to a photo can lend so much humanity to an image.” That is where the power of HONY lies – a beautiful image paired with a bit of humanity, a peak into someone’s soul. And those souls are all so different and oftentimes unexpected.

humans of new york book |

I’m sad that it took a visit to New York to trigger this experience and these thoughts for me, but at least it happened! There’s just something about being among 8 million people that gets you thinking. My goal is to take these feelings I had in New York and keep them with me, to look at all people wherever I am in this same way. My kids and I delivered cookies to all of our neighbors last night, as a way to meet people. We knocked on strangers’ doors, we smiled, we offered a gift, we asked their names, we showed interest in who they were. For some neighbors, they just needed a quick hello and a smile, for others they needed to sit down with us, share photos of their families, just talk. Once again I realized that everyone has a story and everyone wants to be noticed and loved, even in small and simple ways.

Here are a few of photos from HONY that I love, although I could list photos all day! Each click is a different link. Click! Click! Click! Click! Click! Click! Click! Click! Click! Click! Click! Click!

It’s show and tell, which means everyone in class gets to share. Show us what you got!


  1. HONY is such a great site to get sucked into! I love that it triggered a whole new experience for you Jane!

    I loved this one

  2. sounds like you had a wonderful trip, I miss NY there is always so much to do and see. I find people watching in NY is so fun! Great post!

  3. HONY is awesome! I don’t have the book but I do love their facebook page!

  4. Fun links. I really need to add more great sites like this to my Facebook. Some times I get tired of just seeing food.

  5. 5

    12 clicks was not enough! Each one is perfect. Thanks for posting these.

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