My Facebook albums are filled with faces of my friends, family, mentors, teammates. Photos of their terrible snapchat selfies and the shots I sneakily snap of their laughter. These are the people I live with, the people I see every day at a Crossroads brunch for a recap of the night. The people I run to when their car pulls up my driveway after my first semester of college. I know them all; I know that they never eat cold-cut meat and that their stuffed Polar Bear says “love you” if you squeeze its paw. Some of them I only know because we always end up at the same parties or because we once helped each other with stats homework — but the point is, I know them.
What about all the people I don’t know? There are billions of people I do not know. I am not speaking figuratively; I have truly never met and never will meet most of the world’s population.
But that’s what I love about these approximately 7 billion people I will never ever know. I don’t know what politically incorrect things their grandpa sometimes says. I don’t know that they used to hide Scooby snacks in between the couch cushions. I don’t know about that one time their dad cried at a sushi restaurant. So, all I can do is imagine what complicated stories have made them into who they are and try to capture these stories in the form of a photo. So, here’s to them: All the people I don’t know and will never know.
Couples. The most intriguing of the people I don’t know. I don’t know how they met, if they sometimes share clothes and who wakes up first. I don’t know if they will stay together, or if this is their first date. I can only imagine.
Children from various reaches of the world (from left: Portugal, Morocco, Germany) who probably have drastically different lifestyles, but I will never know what they have in common. Do their moms all sing them the same song but in different languages? Are they all the oldest siblings? Who will they become?
Photographing these people takes a lot of sneakiness — something I have yet to master.
Sometimes they hide. Sometimes they notice me. Sometimes they never do. I have trespassed into their world, and they choose to welcome or deny me.
People in action are easiest; they’re too busy to notice you. And so often, they are happy. Shortly after I took the shot of skateboarding boy, he took a tumble and his friends erupted in laughter. This young girl swinging had no idea I was there because she had giant headphones on, singing quietly. I have a feeling that the parents of these young boys didn’t know that their sons were climbing on a wall that dropped down into the sea. They giggled guiltily when they caught me snapping photos (not so sneakily). People moving forward are the happiest.
One of my sneakier photos. When I saw a man’s eyes on a screen while everyone else’s eyes were on art, my eyes (and camera lens) were on him.
I like to capture the relationships between all these people I will never know. Different kinds of relationships: groups that are created out of habit, friendships that form out of necessity, the dynamic between follower and leader. Although I do not know anything about them, I feel like I can tell from these fleeting moments how long the relationship has lasted and how it formed, but these are only guesses. I do not know how close to the truth I am.
To the people in these photos who I will never know, thank you for letting me get to know you.