Facebook Celebrates “Humans of New York”

If anyone has been feeling down lately; be it a slump in clients or feeling like you’ve hit a creative dead-end, I recommend watching this short video.

I was first directed to Brandon Stanton’s Facebook page in 2012 by my friend Jacqui while I was waiting for another friend at a bar. At this point in my life, I had already been a “Human of New York” myself.  I had recently relocated to Philadelphia from New York City, but I hadn’t heard of Stanton or what he had set out to accomplish. Scrolling through my iPhone that evening, I realized how many individuals I waltzed on the streets of New York, uninterested in the fact that each of these passersby had stories to tell.

Brandon Stanton is a photographer with a clear vision.  The genuine connection he establishes with his subjects is inspiring to me.  I recently purchased the Humans Of New York book, published by St. Martin Press.  Just like on Facebook, I am reminded of my home with each turn of the page.  “Oh!  I’ve totally seen that guy in Times Square,” “I definitely know what that woman means!” etc.  Anyone is game to stand in front of his camera: Stanton has photographed toddlers, the elderly, the homeless, and the wealthy.  His efforts have given the world a true cross-section of what it’s like to live in New York.

Stanton moved to New York City in 2010 with no money and no job, but he had his camera; and he had the streets of New York. On a daily basis he would approach someone in New York and connect with them. Not only was he taking their picture, but he genuinely cares about who they are, where they came from, and what they are feeling. Initially, Mr. Stanton intended on creating a “photographic census” of the City that never sleeps.  His vision was to attach each photograph to a map of New York City, an interactive experience which would allow users to really “see” into their own neighborhoods.  Frustrated with the lack of exposure, Stanton turned to Facebook Pages (which was in its infancy at this point).  The Facebook platform allowed a direct link to the socially-connected world.  As of today, the “Humans of New York” Facebook page has over 2.9 million likes.

I urge everyone to take a look at Humans of New York––especially if you have spent time in the city.  It will undoubtedly inspire you.

Humans of New York is available on Amazon.com for as low as $15.88 (if you’re a Prime member).

 

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TAG YO SHIZ – Why LensTag may be a Godsend

I am going to start this post with a disclaimer: I am not being compensated by LensTag in any way, shape or form.

Last night at around 11pm, I was indulging in a bad habit outside of my apartment complex.  I noticed a few of my neighbors congregating around the side entry to my building’s parking garage.  They seemed upset, so I asked what the situation was.  It turns out someone had entered our private garage (situated underneath our building like most apartments in LA) and had broken into two vehicles.  Almost everything had been stolen: a tricked out iPad, expensive jewelry, leather jackets… even a toy that was meant to be donated to charity.  The general consensus was that the robber intended to hit each car in the garage, but must have been spooked by an opening gate.

One of victims was a family whom had just returned from Michigan after (like many of us, myself included) spending hours in and out of the airport due to Winter Storm Hercules.  Weary from travel, they decided to rest upon arrival and unpack the car the following day.  They followed logic which in theory makes total sense: you park in a locked structure, your shit should be okay for the night.  Unfortunately, all it takes is a side door that doesn’t lock fully to turn your world upside down.

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So what’s the deal? As photographers, we occasionally store our gear in our vehicles… I tend to hide mine under a jacket or something.  Usually only for a few minutes… but that’s really all it takes (see Gone In 60 Seconds).  During my Christmas vacation I read an article on fStoppers about LensTag.  Previously solely web-based, the company developed an iPhone app for the purpose of tagging serial numbers to your equipment.  The owner enters the serial number into the app, and the gear is only verified once an approved photo of the actual serial number is attached to the entry.  In the unfortunate case something is lost or stolen, you can report the gear as stolen using the unique serial number assigned by the manufacturer.  Not only does LensTag allow you to tag cameras and lenses, but also computer equipment, hard drives, etc… anything expensive that, if lost, can be detrimental to your business.  Additionally, if and when you sell or transfer your gear, there is an option to do so within the app.

Unfortunately, LensTag does not double as a Private Investigator and the probability you will see your gear again is low.  But it definitely helps–LensTag keeps a running list (located here) of the serial numbers of gear reported stolen.  That way, if it pops up on eBay (et. al.), you have documentation that you are the rightful owner.

Right after I started writing this post, a horror story popped up on Reddit from Evgeny Tchebotarev (co-founder of revered 500px) who had $10,000 worth of gear stolen the day after Christmas.  It’s real, guys.  Theft is real.