Humans of New York and the growing concept

If you are anyone in photography, you have seen the Facebook page, Humans of New York. I have seen it many times and also seen a dozen cheap rip off of it like Humans of Fiji Islands for example.

Before we go into this, let’s establish one thing: Humans of New York is crazily popular among Americans and they are not just from New York City.

Another thing we have to establish before we get into the subject is that the founder, Brandon Stanton is not a Nikon user. I know, I know. We can forgive for using inferior systems like Canon. Look at the bright side: it is not a Sony 🙂 (He is shooting using a Canon 5D Mark III and a few fast lens)

One thing I can say is the guy is very talented for just using a camera, a lens and maybe a flash on top. There is no way he is walking around with a complete setup of off camera lighting, tripods, monopods, etc. As a street photographer myself, I respect that alot.

One thing I do find interesting is that he uses the 50mm (1.2) which is an amazing lens (as least on Nikon) but I would think the depth of field at maximum aperture wouldn’t be realistic.

Humans of New York as a concept

The idea behind it is amazing. Having a photographer that walks around the city all day and finds amazing portraits of them in their natural environment, tells a short story about them and shares it on Facebook.

As people find the story, they share and their friends also like the image. It is a great idea to say the least. The reason being is non-photographers like real images that are not studio based!

The other thing that people love is the emotion of the image. A photographer is there to tell the story of the image. Brandon gets a story of the person and someone reading it related to it. It has creative power for the reader as well. It is the humanity that grabs people.

This is something that I have been reminded of by reading some of the post by Humans of New York. These days, I try and remember to have my Zoom H1 mic with me on the streets to record their testimonies. I don’t always remember but I do try.

The truth is this is a concept that could work all over the world. Some people have started it and have been quite successful at doing it. I really like the ones from international locations. I saw one the other day from Mumbai, India. I love places like that tell a story of somewhere that I am not thinking about every day like the United States or here in the Philippines.

I have to admit that sometimes looking at the Facebook makes me want to grab the Nikon D800 and throw on my Nikon 50mm (1.4) and go get some amazing portraits on the street of Manila.

What about Photoshop?

A question that many have is about post production or what has becoming filed under Photoshop. According to an interview he did with B&H, he only does light touching up using Adobe Lightroom. If you believe that, (I do not) great. I would also like to know how he defines “light touching up.” When I was doing alot of HDR images, my idea of a light touch up; others called a complete overhaul!




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