“It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.
The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.”
Street Census, 2000
This is about people watching. These pictures were made with the same impulse that causes some of us to pass time by sitting where there are lots of strangers and watching them go by. Each is an example of our infinite variety and complexity. Each person is the walking expression of a whole life’s story. And altogether, they are the story of a place.
This August Sander-like survey catches America at the height of its prosperity and optimism: before the dot-com crash, before 9/11, before Iraq, Afghanistan and global financial crisis.
We set up the Deardorff 8X10 view camera in ten different locations around the city, then watched to see who came by. We photographed them (the willing ones) on a white backdrop under daylight. It was endlessly fascinating to see who the sidewalk would bring us next. But it became even more interesting to see what our selected group would come to look like at the end of the day. It was as fun as dipping a net in a stream.
All of us look at people on the street and instantly judge them—even before we’ve thought about it—by their outward appearances. That’s how society operates. Like it or not, how we present ourselves in public is a statement to all; the only choice not possible is to make no statement. This project shows us that appearances do count—they count plenty. And it urges us to ask ourselves how much we’re really seeing. Go ahead and stare. That’s what still pictures are for.
Each subject filled out a form asking for vital details and two questions:
Name, age, occupation, place of birth
- Why are you here?
- What would you like people to know about you that they wouldn’t know from looking at your picture?
VISITORS FROM INDIA (featured image)
Balrup Sharma (left), 37, Priest @ Gayatri Pariwar, India
1)For cultural religious programs
2)Religion is a way of simple living and high thinking.
Shantibhai Patel, 39, Priest @ Gayatri Pariwar, Kutch Bhuj, Gujarat, India
1)For religious programs
2)Walk for the twenty first century bright future.
Broadway & Melrose
Criminal Courts, 26th & California
Monroe & Franklin
Oak Street Beach
By Kevin Horan