Photographs Worth a Thousand Words

- "Are you an artist?"  - "Divorce Lawyer"

– “Are you an artist?”
- “Divorce Lawyer”

Recently during my annual binge on Webby Award nominees and winners, I came across the Humans of New York (HONY) Tumblr. It already has nearly two million fans on Facebook, so this post is really for the two readers out there like me, who didn’t know it existed. Its creator, Brandon, goes around New York (and in one of my favorite series, Iran) and takes photographs of, well, pretty much anyone. As someone who could stare at street photography for hours, wondering what its subjects are thinking or who they are, what’s most endearing about HONY to me are the quotes and tidbits of conversation between Brandon and his subjects that accompany most of the photos. I like to think that I have a pretty good imagination, but I could scarcely dream up the surprising truths revealed about the people in these photographs.

And good news if you’re a fan: HONY just released its first book! Mine’s already sitting in my living room. Hopefully, I’m ahead of the trend — or least keeping up with it — on that one ;)

Street Photographer

Self Portrait by Vivian Maier

Photo by Vivian Maier

Photo by Vivian Maier

Photo by Vivian Maier

One of the things I admire most about photojournalists and street photographers is their ability to capture life in action. Raw. No posing or fancy lighting or perfectly placed props or planning meetings. There’s something magical about looking into the faces of the people in their photos, frozen in time, and wondering what must have been going through their minds or how their life had taken shape.

This weekend I had some time to kill in Los Feliz, so I decided to flip through some of the fabulous coffee table books at Skylight Books. In the midst of my wandering, I discovered a book of photographs by Vivian Maier, a New York City/Chicago nanny who took thousands of captivating photos throughout her fascinating lifetime (1926-2009) and was only discovered in 2007 when historian John Maloof came across her work, found in a local-Chicago thrift auction house. Not only was I fascinated by Maier’s life, which very much broke the mold of her generation, but also by her photos, which were beautiful, haunting, funny and intriguing all at the same time.

I think when I wrote Summer Bucket List item No. 12, become a better photographer, (more on my progress with that in a later post), I really had photos like these in mind. A girl can dream …

{Photos by Vivian Maier}

The Bikes Are Coming

Susan Peters - Photo from Hollywood Rides a Bike by Steven Rea

You guys, it’s happening. After I’ve waited practically a decade for bike sharing to head west, Bike Nation is finally bringing a bike-share program to Downtown Los Angeles — plus Hollywood, Playa del Rey, Westwood and Venice Beach. You’ve probably seen these programs in other cities. They’re super nifty. Basically, they allow you to rent a bike out of a totally automated station, ride it around and drop at off at any other station nearby. I’m already dreaming of all the fun biking adventures I’ll be going on very soon.

In the meantime, I’m swooning over Steven Rea’s newish book, “Hollywood Rides a Bike,” and its collection of romantic photos of Hollywood stars from the ’30s ’40s and ’50s riding their bikes around town. The one above is Susan Peters. Isn’t it just lovely?

Titanic

When Titanic came out in 1997, I was 13 years old and completely obsessed with the film; it helped that I had already gone through a ton of reading material on the ship in the 6th grade (yes, huge geek here) and  it’s still the only movie I’ve gone to see three times in theaters. TIME magazine recently released an amazing collection of the only photos of the Titanic at sea to survive the shipwreck, all taken by an Irish Jesuit priest named Francis Browne, who by chance decided to disembark from the ship after the first leg of its trip. The photos are a fascinating–and eerie–glimpse into life on the ship before the crash, and what things and people looked like during that time period. (Of course, director James Cameron really got all of those details spot-on in his film.)

Here are some photos from the slideshow…

Do you guys think you’ll see the movie in theaters? I’m not really a fan of 3-D, but I do love the idea of experiencing it on the big screen once again–it was seriously such a thrill to watch when I was a kid.

To see the entire Titanic slideshow, go here.

Polaposts

This would make for such a sweet surprise for a friend: Polaposts lets you turn regular photos into Polaroid-styled postcards that you can send off in the mail. All you do is purchase the sleeve, clip your photograph to size, slip it inside, and seal; the writeable back lets you personalize it with a message. With all of our photos going online these days, wouldn’t it be great to personally mail something like this?

{via swiss miss}

Face to Face With Literature

Edward Rochester, Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë - from The Composites

Daisy Buchanan, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald - from The Composites

As much as I love seeing my favorite books make it to the big screen, it is sometimes hard to reconcile my own envisioning of a particular character with Hollywood’s. Case and point: the Twilight series.

So I’m slightly intrigued yet slightly wary of this tumblr feed created by Brian Joseph Davis that uses law enforcement composite sketch software to create mug shots of famous literary characters.

I think I’d be more on the intrigued and delighted end of the spectrum if the software didn’t make everyone look like descendents of Gollum from Lord of the Rings. Luckily I don’t have a strong affinity for any of the characters featured so far.

Regardless, it’s a fascinating and thoughtful project, so it technically meets “smitten” standards :). Learn more about the project and creator Brian Joseph Davis in this video feature from the BBC.