Tag Archives: people

Shooting From the Hip – Chicago

Recently my partner and I drove across the country from Massachusetts to our new home on the West Coast — Seattle. Along the way, we found ourselves in places we never thought we’d step foot in. Chicago was an amazing city that felt so cosmopolitan. It’s like a warmer, more spacious version of New York… with a much nicer coast. And the pizza… Okay, so they aren’t that similar.

But one similarity came in how I photographed this city — from the hip. Shooting candid shots of passersby is one of my favorite things, especially when you’re in an environment where people are dressing to be seen. Check out these classic and sometimes quirky views of the “Windy City.”

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It’s all about who you know

Stats of geographical source of LinkedIn members.

As graduation is getting closer, and I am forced to consider a “real” life after college, there’s one word that I can’t shake out of my mind: job. While “loan,” and “adult” are also high contenders, I’m finding myself increasingly thinking about what the hell I’m going to be doing for a living.

In the process of stressing out about all of this, I’ve started using LinkedIn, a website that is best described as Monster smashed together with Facebook. Sure it offers some really useful tools like hosting a spot to showcase your abilities and your resume. You can also become a part of groups that are relevant to your field and seek out potential jobs. Moreover, LinkedIn shows just how much we are defined by those we know, especially in terms of today’s job market.

One of the major parts of LinkedIn is connection with others. Past employers, fellow employees, family members, and college friends all add up to make your network. You can see what they’re doing, where they work, and who they know. It’s a very socialized version of job hunting, visually revolving around people instead of skills or job titles.

While I do think it’s healthy to put faces to resumes, it’s a weird environment.

Just like any other social networking site, you’re selling yourself. LinkedIn is your own arena to make yourself look as employable and knowledgeable as possible and to show how many people you know.

What are interesting to me are the differences between LinkedIn and other social networking sites. As with Facebook, users of LinkedIn can post things of interest, have a profile picture, and get updates about their connections.

When I first started using the site, however, I felt strange using the same practices as I would on Facebook. I didn’t want to use my same profile picture. Why? It’s not like my Facebook makes me out to be a crazy college party animal; in fact, I look pretty subdued in my photo, but for some reason, it just didn’t seem professional enough to use as my picture on LinkedIn. What am I supposed to use the posting for? On Facebook, I usually post articles about politics or videos that satirize the whole situation. I might send someone a link to an irrelevant cute cat picture or post my photos from a recent trip. Does any of that seem like a good idea on LinkedIn? No. So what do I do with this feature?

Funny how function of a website – even within the parameters of social networking – determines how we use and perceive it. It was also funny to see how hard all of my peers try to sell themselves. Yes, that’s the point of the game, but that doesn’t make it any cooler to play it.

Join LinkedIn and you'll look just like all of these happy professional people. Yay!

When the Whole World is Your Audience

If you could say something to everyone in the world, what would it be? A message of peace? A call to action? A friendly greeting?

In eras past, this was an impossibility. With the introduction of radio and television, yes, you could reach a large scale audience, but it was fleeting.

Not only does the internet allow us to tentatively talk to billions across the globe; it’s also more permanent. Perhaps this medium will not be around forever, but when you put something online, it’s visible, and it stays there. Post something on your blog, and years later, you can reread it.

So, all of you online authors, what do you say when you have an audience of the roughly 2 billion internet users? In comparison to the personal tone of handwritten letters, posting something to that many recipients seems just ridiculous, but that’s what you’re doing.

Having The Scarlet online has been a true eye opener. It’s given us so much more insight to who reads what articles and why they’re reading them. How did they get to an article about Dean Little from last year? What brought them to a history of the hipster courtesy the Clark Historical Society? And even more interestingly, in what language did they read it?

Thanks to WordPress.com’s amazing stats page, we’ve seen articles read in a few other languages, redirected from Google Translator. What a world.

Just keep that in mind, next time you’re mindlessly posting something to your blog or Google searching. All text comes from someone.


The Faces of Worcester II

Still unsure what I’m going to end up doing with these, but they’re still very inspiring.

The Vietnamese woman was a true joy. At first I thought she was misunderstanding my request to take her photo. She kept saying that there were beautiful flowers near Clark. I said, “Yes, but I like photographing people. May I take your picture?” She insisted that I walk with her to the flowers. We got to Crystal Park.

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On the way we chatted. She’s lived in Worcester for 15 years. She’s from Vietnam. She doesn’t like Vietnamese people because they’re hard to talk to… and you have to be careful who you talk to on the street. (I guess I didn’t give her any bad vibes.) She was wearing a sedge hat and asked me why Americans like them so much. I said that I didn’t know. She offered to make me egg rolls next time I see her. I gave her my number and told her I’d give her a print of the photo soon.

She was very methodical in planning out the photo once we reached the park and insisted that I take a few. If one in 20 people I meet turns out like this, this project will be a thrill.

The Faces of Worcester

Here’s the first installation of the series of portraits, (which I’m calling for now) The Faces of Worcester. They’re shot with my Canon 50mm 1.8f lens on overcast days. I make a conscious effort to not photograph anyone I think might be a student. I ask just about everyone I pass. If they seem upset, busy, or entirely unwelcoming I don’t bother. Otherwise, I simply ask them if I may take their portrait.

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Most people were fine with the idea, and it didn’t take me long to rack up over two dozen shots. The ones that decline, I wish a good day to. Usually even if they didn’t want their picture taken, they would inquire about why I was doing it, which I thought was funny.

Two things I learned today: women are way too self-conscious and Clarkies can be stuck up.
Most of the women I approached (or at least a larger percentage of them than of men) declined. I asked an older woman wearing a magenta suit jacket covered in gold broaches; she said she was too old and just waiting for the bus. She then asked my reason. I told her that I find people fascinating. She restated her previous comment, and I replied “Everyone is beautiful.” Another woman who looked Afro-Caribbean had a similar response and said that her hair was a mess. She said she would next time.
Another younger woman I asked completely ignored me, which only happened that one time. I watched her for a moment and then saw her walk onto campus.
Something else I’m learning: this project is making me less guarded. I feel like since I’ve been living in Worcester, a larger more urban area, I’ve been harboring this wall of sorts. It’s a feeling I think I should have being in this environment. Oh, don’t make eye contact unless you want to engage someone. Don’t engage anyone. This is helping me to realize how unhealthy that is. Most people are awesome.

I want to add more about my encounter with each person, but I already feel like I could write a book’s worth about each one of them. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do with this series and also how I want to connect them. By emotion? How should I crop them? Sometimes someone’s outfit adds a lot to their presence; sometimes their face is the focus. Any input is appreciated!