Archives for posts with tag: strangers

Time-based photography can be powerful and very telling. And few know this better than Danish photographer Peter Funch. For nearly a decade, Funch photographed the ritualistic exodus from (presumably) home to work. Funch took up a post just outside of Grand Central Station in New York City, as morning commuters scurried the streets of Manhattan in the morning hour between 8:30 and 9:30 AM. Just as his new book’s title states, Funch’s fastidious documentation took place at the corner of 42nd and Vanderbilt. During the editing process, Funch began to notice patterns… the same folks were being captured days, weeks and even years apart (and often wearing the same outfits). And, often, these familiar strangers were traveling in packs next to or near each other daily, paying little attention to one another, day after day, week after week. Funch’s work captures these fascinating patterns and really speaks to cliches about the daily grind, monotonous routines of daily life… about the proverbial rat race.

Via peterfunch.com and Instagram

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Not speaking to strangers is a lesson learned early and practiced often, but this fascinating ongoing photography series flies in the face of such prudence. Mumbai-based photographer Jay Weinstein attempts to break down barriers during this particularly vigilant time in world history, one smile at a time. Aptly titled “…so I asked them to smile”, this minimalist photography project explores the smiles of strangers, and how facial expressions truly transform perceptions and soften even the most hardened of appearances. Weinstein captures strangers in two different poses: one without a smile and one while smiling. See for yourself… with no other context (Weinstein does not provide life stories, names, occupations, confirmed religions or ethnicity), it’s striking to see how a simple smile can humanize a perfect stranger. Weinstein describes the genesis of this compelling sociological experiment in his own words: “December 2013. I was on a photography trip to Bikaner, in the deserts of Rajasthan, India. Near the busy train station, I saw a man I wanted to photograph. I hesitated. The look in his eye and his stony, stern face intimidated me. It’s always that moment of hesitation that kills a shot! I ended up avoiding him and photographing other subjects until I heard his jovial voice, “Take my picture too!” Camera lens focused, my finger poised to fire. ‘Smile’, I called out. And he was transformed. His face radiated warmth, his eyes sparkled with a humor I had completely missed. Even his posture softened. I knew then what my next project would be. So I asked them to smile was born. I wanted to document the effect of the human smile on a strangers face.”

Via soiaskedthemtosmile.com

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On the heels of (no pun intended) the wildly popular Humans of New York series by Brandon Stanton, photographer Stacey Baker takes a slightly different approach, but in a similar vein. Baker, associate photo editor at The New York Times Magazine, takes to the streets and photographs women’s legs from the waist down. The collection as a whole, of meticulously composed shots, documents a dizzying diversity of figures and fashions, with these swift street encounters with perfect strangers. Baker has documented this series on social media, amassing almost 80,000 Instagram followers along the way. Her recently published book, NY Legs, is available for purchase (here).

Via Instragram and lensculture.com

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