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1000 Humans

Inspiration doesn’t usually come from thin-air. At least, it rarely does for me.

My latest photography adventure/challenge is coming directly from one of my new “mentors”, Brandon Stanton, the creator of the very popular Street Photography blog Humans of New York.

When a friend of mine emailed me a link to the HONY site, within minutes I was in love. And within minutes after that, I had registered the domain www.humansofnelsonbc.ca.

Self-portrait. First shot I took before I asked my first stranger the vulnerable question, “May I take your photograph?”

And on my lunch break, that very same day, I grabbed my EM-5 and headed out the door with my heart pounding in my chest thinking about what I was about to do – ask a complete stranger, “May I take your photo?”

The first person said, “No thanks.”

Ouch.

But I didn’t give up. The project was just too appealing for me to head back to the cave of safety.

The next person said “Sure.”

This is the first person that said “yes, you can take my photo.” I wonder if he had said no, if I wouldn’t have had the guts to ask the next person…

Now I was hooked.

Then I asked this lady to take her photo through the shop window…

This young mom reluctantly agreed to have her photo taken through the shop window. I’m glad she did.

A few minutes later I asked this gentleman…

I’ve always admired this gentleman’s style.

Jump ahead a month or so and I have 71 portraits. And I have started to get up the nerve to talk to people and get their story – which is sometimes used as a caption to the image.

“How long have you two been friends?”
“Well…it’s been umpteen years.”
“What’s kept your friendship strong for umpteen years?”
“Oh, I don’t know. She’s just so special to me.”

“What’s the best thing about having a kid?”
“I get to see life through her eyes. It keeps me young.”
“What’s the hardest part?”
“None of my friends have kids.”

We talked for nearly an hour. He told me many things, but I wrote down nothing. There was just no pause that would allow it. Plus, I wouldn’t have wanted the difficult task of deciding which story to write – and which ones to leave out.

“I went to New York once. I was looking forward to seeing all the whacky people. We all hear how different the folks are out there. So I thought, ‘Bring on the crazy!’. And sure I saw this guy in a skirt playing the harp. But I see that kind of stuff at home on Baker Street too.”

Seen in Nelson BC

“Someone from worked dropped him off at my door. The guy didn’t want him, and told me to drop him off at the SPCA if I didn’t want him. I thought the dog was ugly at first, with his goggly eyes and crooked tail. And he was a little shit. He crapped on my bed!”
“So why did you keep him?’
“He makes me laugh everyday. I’ve had him for 5 years now. He’s awesome.”

“I’ve seen a lot of communities ruined by progress.”
“What’s the answer?”
“I don’t know. But I think it has to start with affordable housing.”

“The end is nigh. Don’t be afraid. The Spirit will carry us home.”

Me: “How long have you two been homeless?”
Left: “We’re not homeless! We’re travellers. We both left when we were 15 years old. She’s 17 and I’m 21.”
Me: “What’s been one of your best moments since you left?”
Right: “When we got close enough to the mountains that I knew we were just about to make our new home in the wilderness. I just became overwhelmed with joy. I rolled down the window and yelled ‘I’M FUCKING FREE!’”
Me: “What kinds of reactions do you get from other people – being so young and by yourselves, not knowing what tomorrow will bring.”
Left: “We made a choice to live this lifestyle. So many people we meet and see in the cities are slaves. Slaves to their jobs, slaves to their debt, slaves to their stuff. We are free of all that. People say they are inspired by us, that they wish they could have what we have.”
Right: “And we know some people pity us or look down on us. But that’s silly. The travelling community is pretty big – and most of us are good people living life this way by choice. Unfortunately there are bad travellers out there too – and they give our lifestyle a bad name.”
Me: “What’s the worst part about travelling.”
Left: “It was freezing last night.”

And every day I upload these photos to my SmugMug site, and onto the Humans of Nelson BC Facebook page – where I have a growing audience that seems to be enjoying the photos and stories as much as I am.

The plan (right now) is to take 1000 portraits of strangers in my small, eclectic town in rural British Columbia.

Through this work I’m learning a lot about street photography, portrait photography, humanity, and mostly about myself – and I hope to share some of my insights with you through this blog.

Enjoy.

SmugMug Website Examples – Submit and Vote on Your Favorites

If you’re new to SmugMug, be sure to use the coupon code “WEDDINGGIG” to save 20% on your first year with SmugMug.

SmugMug

The following is a list of beautifully designed SmugMug sites created and used by real photographers.

Use this list to get inspiration and ideas for your SmugMug site.

And feel free to:

  1. vote on your favorites
  2. leave a comment
  3. add your own SmugMug site to the list

If you need help creating your site, check out my step-by-step SmugMug customization tutorial.

Examples of Well Done (and Famous) SmugMug Photography Sites

Examples of Well Done (and Famous) SmugMug Photography Sites

These are not just "designs" or "themes" --- these are fully functional photography websites that real photographers have built and use. From the big names like Trey Ratcliff and Scott Kelby...to the regular Joe's. Have a look around and get inspiration and ideas for your own SmugMug site. Use the coupon code "WEDDINGGIG" to save 20% on your new SmugMug account!

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  1. 1
    2 Voting...
    Stuck In Customs (Trey Ratcliff)

    Stuck In Customs (Trey Ratcliff)

    World famous HDR photographer and teacher.

  2. 2
    2 Voting...
    Scott Kelby

    Scott Kelby

    One of the biggest names on the photography world - author, teacher, tv-host

  3. 3
    1 Voting...
    Benjamin Von Wong | Photographer & Visual Engineer

    Benjamin Von Wong | Photographer & Visual Engineer

    "Motivated by the desire to be creatively challenged and overcome impossibilities, Benjamin Von Wong has become notorious for his epic photography. His hyper-realistic art style captures viewers in a fusion of special effects and innovative concepts. Benjamin's background in engineering gives him a unique edge for creative problem solving, where technical challenges become friendly competition."

  4. 4
    1 Voting...
    Thomas Hawk

    Thomas Hawk

    "Sometimes I like to think of myself as a photography factory. I see my photographs mostly as raw material for projects that might be worked on at some point later on in life. We all have but a short time on this earth."

  5. 5
    1 Voting...
    Gilmar Smith

    Gilmar Smith

    Freelance Photographer based in Orlando, Florida.

  6. 6
    0 Voting...
    Ryan Oakley Photography

    Ryan Oakley Photography

    Ryan Oakley is a professional wedding and family portrait photographer based in the beautiful town of Nelson BC.

  7. 7
    0 Voting...
    Schmootography

    Schmootography

    Life, landscape and San Francisco photography by Stephanie Theune.

  8. 8
    0 Voting...
    Alon David

    Alon David

    San Diego Top Wedding Photography

  9. 9
    0 Voting...
    Tomasz Nowicki Photography

    Tomasz Nowicki Photography

    PhoTom - freelance photographer Tomasz Nowicki.

  10. 10
    0 Voting...
    hossedia

    hossedia

    Design by Fastlinemedia.com

  11. 11
    0 Voting...
    Bill McCarroll

    Bill McCarroll

    Bill McCarroll Photography
    Design by Fastlinemedia.com

  12. 12
    0 Voting...
    Richard Silver

    Richard Silver

    Richard Silver is a Professional Travel Photographer who photographs the world. Based in New York, specializing in Tilt Shift and HDR photography.
    Design by Fastlinemedia.com

  13. 13
    0 Voting...
    Clark Kent Photography

    Clark Kent Photography

    This is the demo site, which is what the SmugMug tutorial is based on.
    http://photographyontheside.com/gorgeous-smugmug-tutorial

  14. 14
    0 Voting...
    Steven Sullivan

    Steven Sullivan

    Travel photography by Steven Sullivan, a software consultant and native Texan now living in Washington, DC who loves to travel the world.

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