Photo Essay: “My People”
For this project, I decided to walk outside, look around and shoot whatever inspires me. The reason why I think that ALL of the pictures below belong under a post titled “My People”, is because they reflect something that is within me. It can be an emotion, a state of mind, a situation or even a belief. It is something that makes them human, or that represents what being human is. Also, I decided to refrain from taking pictures of people I know. I tried to look for things that I believe in and that represent “My People”, but I wanted to show them by taking pictures of people I don’t know. I did this to show that everybody has these emotions and bonds, that they are an internal part of us.
The first picture was taken on an ugly day. As I was getting close to the library, while looking down and following the lines on the ground with my eyes, I was led towards this circular bench. On it was a woman dressed in a black coat and a red scarf. She seemed to be searching for something in her bag, but while she was doing that she was looking up at the flags. She was alone, but did not seem to be in a way. I find that the flags create a presence. I wanted to capture that presence. I sneakily looked for something I could stand on to get both the whole bench, the trees and the whole pole with both flags in the shot. I saw the trees to the left as a reflection of how chaotic one’s personality can be. The pole to the right was the polar opposite. Straight and white, it was the way society trains us to be, marked by the flags as an accomplishment or approval. The woman is sitting in the middle of this, on a circular bench that shows the necessary balance. This is a part of what my people are, or how they are.
The second picture to me shows passion, competitiveness and playfulness. Three people are surrounding the ball, each of them trying to get it. I also like this picture because it shows the concept of “center of attention”. Even the guy wearing the baseball cap on the right is interested in whatever is going on in that big, loud mass of people. I love these sorts of situations in my life, where you just leave your worries behind and play.
The third picture is one of my favorites. The setting is right next to the setting of the previous picture. They are very much inter-connected, because they show the genuine interest of others, in the unusual activity of the previous picture. Even the tree in the background seems to be leaning that way, trying to be part of the ball game. The girl sitting on the rail seems to be enjoying watching the others just as much as being part of the game. I think this picture portrays empathy, understanding and joy for others, which is a big part of “My People”.
I titled the fourth picture “Reflection”, because it shows that even though we are all very individualistic and different in many ways, we will always be reflections of each other. Learning from each other, and feeding off of each other emotionally. This can also be seen in the tree in the background, which is mirrored in the windows. It’s all about the reflections in this one.
In the fifth picture, this concept is hammered down. We see the two guys riding their longboards, going the opposite direction than the girl to the right. Different means of travel, different destinations, but still THE SAME PATH. This shows that even though we are different, and maybe some of us have completely different goals than others, we should be considerate, because we travel on the same road.
The sixth picture and the ones following it, were taken in NYC a week ago. I chose it because it shows determination. We see people of all shapes and sizes. Relaxed, but still determined. This was right before a street show-gag kind of thing. People were surrounding this group of individuals before they even started doing anything. They were emitting this presence, that I believe to be important and that is why they are my people.
In the seventh picture we see a game that was part of this gag. A few chosen audience members are mimicking the guy in the front. I thought this was powerful, because I think it portrays a negative side of our society. The five audience members look like robots or soldiers. There is one big difference though. Even though they are doing the same “move”, they all look so different. They are in no way uniform. They are incredibly individualistic-which is exactly what I think of when I hear “My People”.
Picture number eight shows a little girl that just received a bribe from the guy wearing green, crying and running towards her mother. The guy promised her money, so that she would stay in line, but she refused. I chose this picture because it shows that no matter how someone tries to keep us in line, whether they use bribes or force, as humans we will not stay still. And, a big bonus is that we have someone to run to for help. Someone to hug when we are in need.
The ninth picture is the logical progression. The hug. I just find it very touching and beautiful. It shows trust in the ones that take care of us. The strong bond of family and the respect that others have for it. This is something that absolutely could not be missing in this photo essay.
Finally, we have the tenth picture. It shows another type of bond. The one between human and animal. I myself have a rabbit, and I see it as more than just an animal. It is a companion, just like this guy’s cat. I used the bond between these two to represent the friendship between me and my rabbit. That is why it belongs in this essay. Also, there is a healthy amount of weirdness, which I believe to be important in life. Why is the cat on that guy’s head? You will never know!