It is often said, ‘buy books not gear’. This is not necessarily always the best idea, for instance, a good quality 50mm 1:4 lens will capture better photos than a well-read copy of The Hobbit screwed to the front of your camera. However, books are a brilliant source of information and inspiration. In addition, looking at a printed image beats an online photo every time!
My current home, India, shines when it comes to purchasing books as there is no tax to be paid. New books are a bargain, and second hand books are a steal. ‘Church Street’, in the centre of town and is brimming with second-hand bookshops. This weekend I purchased a nearly new copy of ‘Humans of New York’, written by Brandon Stanton. As a source of inspiration, it ticks all the boxes.
I’m probably a little late getting to the party on this, as the book and website are very well established. The images are posed, so it is debatable if the genre is strictly Street Photography, but with portraits this cool, who cares? Not only has Stanton captured some unique characters, but he has also found a piece of information about each person. Talking to each subject has created additional depth and adds interest for the viewer. New York has long been home to some of the greatest Street Photographers alive and is certainly a city I would love to shoot in. The variety of life in New York provides excellent points of interest.
Here are 10 of my favourite quotes from ‘Humans of New York’.
‘I’m just figuring out what I want to do, ’cause it ain’t this.’
‘I listened to my teacher and went beyond and above.’
‘The man on the right spent several minutes explaining his plan to become a gender-bending rock star. It all sounded very impressive. The man on the left waited patiently while his friend held the spotlight, then, in a quiet voice, he said:’I’m a card-carrying native American and the twilight series was based on the legends of my family.’ BOOM
‘I believe in a little bit of everything.’
‘When I eat at cafes, I try to get a table by the window. Just in case someone walks by with a giant sun mirror’.
‘I’m an artist and dressing is my art.’
‘My ultimate goal is to reach a certain level of adulthood where I can afford to be a child.’
‘Why are you dancing?’ ‘I just saw my wife across the street.’
‘I’m studying to get a Ph.D. in neuroscience, but in my free time I like to perform in burlesque shows.’
‘Sometimes the loudest personas belong to the quietist people.’
Does this inspire me to look for ‘humans of Bangalore?’ To be honest, a lot of my photos follow the same format, of finding someone who looks interesting, then asking to take their photo. In ‘Humans of New York,’ the author Brandon Stanton, goes one step further and finds out a little more about the person whose image he has captured. This is often not possible when you travel as there are inherent language difficulties, but is something I will aspire to do more often.
Well that is all from me folks. Take care and keep clicking, Chris