Director Profile: Agnes Varda

French director Agnes Varda is a singular figure in cinema, as recognizable for her blunt bowl cut and effervescent smile as she is for her whimsical, creative approach to filmmaking. Best known as one of the few women associated with the French New Wave movement of the mid-20th century, Agnes’ innovative approach to visual storytelling and documentary form, along with her commitment to feminist issues, has won her critical acclaim and a hefty collection of awards from the world’s top festivals.

Born in 1928, Agnes and her family escaped Nazi-occupied Belgium in 1940 for rural France. She spent her early adulthood studying art history and working as a photographer in Paris. It was in Paris that she met her husband, director Jacques Demy, and began working on her first feature, La Pointe Courte. Agnes’ experimental, socially conscious and pared down cinematic style sounded the entrance of the new French cinema (think Jean-Luc Godard) that exploded during the 1950s and ’60s.

1971_le_manifeste_des_343_salopes_01

Some of the women, including Agnes, who signed the ‘Manifesto of 343 whores’ in 1971. Image source.

It wasn’t just the structure of Agnes’ films that was radical and new. The second-wave feminist movement was gaining political speed and intellectual ground in the 1970′s. Agnes was drawn to the social change and revolution of feminism, engaging with the lives of women in her work, and directly participating in protests on the street. She even signed a French feminist document called the “Manifesto of the 343,” where 343 women declared their support for better reproductive rights by admitting to having a then-illegal abortion.

Now 86-years-old, Agnes has retired from her career of feminist cinema. She still teaches about film at the post-graduate level.

Curious about Agnes’ work? These selected films are a great introduction to her early work, feminist focus, and later documentary style:

Cleo From 5-7 (1962)

This psychological, temporal black and white film follows a young woman, Cleo, as she waits for a phone call that will determine if she has been diagnosed with cancer. Agnes’ second feature is firmly in the world of Left Bank and French New Wave film.

Vagabond (1985)

Later in her life, Agnes spoke of this gritty, surreal work as an expression of the anger and rebellious energy of the feminist movement that she participated in. The film tracks Mona, a seemingly homeless and restless woman who lives by her own rules as she squats from place to place in the French countryside.

The Beaches of Agnes (2008)

No one does autobiography or documentary quite like Agnes. In this free-spirited and playful doc, Agnes looks back over her life and filmography with a charming modesty. She plays with mirrors on the beach, rides in cardboard cars, celebrates her birthday on camera, and has a wonderful time reflecting of a life in film on film.

online shopping

Skip The Mall: Shop Your Favorite Styles Online!

It’s late and all of your friends have gone to bed. Your homework is done, and you’re all Netflixed out. But you can’t sleep, and you’re just itching to do something.

And then it hits you.

You pull out your computer and crawl into bed with it. The white screen illuminates your face and the area around you, blinding you for a little bit while your eyes adjust (and they eventually do). You pull up your browser, eagerly anticipating what you’re about to see.

This, my friends, is a familiar habit of an online shopping addict. You know you’ve been there, and you’ve definitely done it. During your late night boredom or your rainy day sadness, sometimes the only cure is some hot tea and your favorite online shopping sites.

Online shopping has become quite popular, and many prefer it to regular shopping.  Forget the lines and the hassle of driving all the way to the mall, only to spend a half hour looking for a good parking spot. While our parents don’t trust websites that take our credit cards, we shop with absolutely no fear. And hey, if it’s not physical cash I’m handing over, sometimes it makes the blow to my bank account feel a little easier.

The Internet has made a lot of stuff easier for our generation, and online shopping certainly falls under that category. Even if you just add a billion things to your shopping cart and not even purchase anything, for some reason, you’ll still feel comforted. Maybe that’s just me, but I seriously enjoy filling up my shopping cart with hundreds of dollars worth of clothes that I will never purchase. Online stores have seriously taken window shopping to the next level.

And that’s another thing: some brands don’t even exist outside of the Internet! Yes, you can purchase Forever 21 in store or online (and avoid the mess), but popular websites such as Tobi don’t even have a physical store that you can go to. All the hassle is eliminated, and you can shop for hours from the comfort of your own home. Now, that’s what I call the good life!

So check out some of the best online sites to shop from!

1. Tobi

Tobi is amazing. Many young women between the ages of 16 and 25 will know exactly what  it is you’re talking about if you mention you shopped at Tobi. With a wide variety of trendy clothes available, there’s something for everyone on the Tobi website. While it is an online-only store, the exchange and return policy is generous and makes it hassle-free to return clothes that do not fit. Also, when you sign up with your Facebook, you get 50% of your entire order the first time you shop. Go check it out and shop till you drop!

2. Modcloth

If you love vintage clothes, Modcloth is the place for you! With name-brand, but affordable clothes, shoes, accessories, and even home décor, Modcloth is an online dream. You know those high-waisted bathing suit bottoms you’ve been looking for? Yep, Modcloth has them; and those crazy Betsey Heels you can’t find anymore? Yep, they’re here too. You can bet you’ll find the quirkiest (and cutest!) outfits on this site.

3. UrbanOG

Love Urban Outfitters but hate the prices? Yep, me too. UrbanOG takes care of that issue, offering the trendy clothing similar to both Urban Outfitters and Tobi for a much lower price. Better yet, there’s always discounts and markdowns on the site.

4. Choies

You know you’re Pinterest-worthy when you put on an outfit from Choies. Heck, you’re even good enough for Tumblr. The best way to describe the styles on this site is funky. Let out your inner fashionista and be the trend-setter you always wanted to be.

5. Necessary Clothing

Trendy, designer clothing without the designer price. If you’re a fan of Nasty Girl, you’ll be a fan of this site as well. This may be a cheaper alternative, but the quality and style of the clothes are great!

6. boohoo

Last, but of course not least, is one of our absolute favorites: boohoo! Shop the latest trends without breaking the bank with this online site! Remember our 30 styles under $30 article? Yeah, you can thank boohoo for those awesome prices. Plus, they’re a UK-based company…so bonus points for that.

Happy shopping!

[Image Source]

Taylor Swift Shake It Off

Taylor Swift (Finally) Announces New Music

The time has finally come! Taylor Swift just announced that she will be releasing a new album on October 27, 2014. Fans had been patiently waiting for hints about new music from the superstar; yesterday, during Taylor’s live stream she finally gave her fans the details — alongside a new single and music video.

Excited about the big new announcements? Fans can now pre-order Taylor Swift’s upcoming album, which will be titled 1989.  Taylor claims 1989 will be really different from anything she has done before, describing it as her “first straight-up pop album.” In addition to the album news, Taylor gave fans a nice surprise by premiering her first single, “Shake It Off,” which is dedicated to all of her haters.

When talking to Rolling Stone about the song, Taylor said:

“I’ve had every part of my life dissected — my choices, my actions, my words, my body, my style, my music. When you live your life under that kind of scrutiny, you can either let it break you, or you can get really good at dodging punches. And when one lands, you know how to deal with it. And I guess the way that I deal with it is to shake it off.”

It’s no secret that Taylor gets a lot of hate, so it’s pretty cool to see her addressing the fact that she doesn’t really care about what they say. As she sings in the single:

The “Shake It Off” music video is entertaining; it shows Taylor surrounded by different types of dancers and scenarios, and she is unable to do any of the moves. Poking fun at herself for her highly criticized dance moves, Taylor is making a statement that the negative comments don’t matter.

“It takes a long time to figure out who you are and where you fit in in the world. I’m putting myself in all these awkward situations where the dancers are incredible, and I’m having fun with it, but not fitting in. They’re doing the most beautiful things, and I’m being embarrassingly bad at it. It shows you to keep doing you, keep being you, keep trying to figure out where you fit in in the world, and eventually you will,” Taylor said about the video during her live stream.

“Shake It Off” shows a bit of a new side to Taylor Swift; less of the vulnerable singer songwriter and more of a fresh-faced pop star who can take a joke (or five). Amidst endless criticism and scrutiny about various aspects of her life — from the public to the very private — it is nice to see Taylor take a positive stand on the trials and tribulations of being a superstar.

[Image Source]

Ray Rice

Ray Rice: Domestic Violence And The NFL

As women, we are told to fear the male strangers. We are told to walk quickly to our cars at night, carry pepper spray, and pretend to talk on the phone when walking alone late at night.

These are clearly victim-blaming statements– meaning, if women do all of these things, they will not be attacked or assaulted. However, people argue that these are merely means of prevention in a world where men are constantly bombarded with images and messages of committing violence against women.

But what about when women experience violence at the hand of someone familiar to them? There are no dark alleys to avoid or improper clothing to wear in your own house. How is it possible to blame the victim in a case of domestic violence?

Apparently people do and will.

Ray Rice, a Baltimore Ravens running back in the NFL, has been under fire for an altercation with his former fiancé and current wife. This case of domestic violence was caught on videotape at an Atlantic City casino on February 15, 2014.  Rice, having knocked out his fiancé unconscious, drags her out of the elevator after a “fight.”

You can watch the chilling scene here. (Trigger warning.) This video has since then gone viral, and evoked immense media debate and discussion. According to police reports, Palmer and Rice both attacked each other. However, by the looks of the video, obviously the NFL player hit her much harder—enough to knock her out.

In the wake of the video’s release, Rice received a two-week long suspension from the NFL, resulting in him being unable to play in two games.

…I know what you must be thinking.

That’s it? Just a short suspension for an insanely violent act?

If a player is caught using marijuana three times, a four-week suspension is the punishment. In effect, the NFL is really saying that marijuana use is worse than or more punishable than a player clearly carrying out felonious crimes of domestic abuse. Seriously?

While Palmer did admit to also hitting Rice, any type of physical altercation is unacceptable regardless of whether or not it comes from a man or a woman. However, men (especially in this case) often have the advantage of physical strength. Here is an example of a NFL player who is obviously bigger and stronger than his fiancé, knows what he is capable of doing, and literally knocking her out to the point of unconsciousness. He definitely deserved more than a 2 week suspension.

It’s unacceptable for a woman to slap a man or hit a man, but the man shouldn’t hit her back either. This is not about gender—this is not about being a man or a woman. This is about an individual having an obligation as a human being to not hit another human being, especially if you have that kind of advantage and strength. It’s simply common sense.

 And what’s even worse about this whole situation is the way that the media reacted.

Stephen A. Smith is a commentator for ESPN known for his outrageous comments, but he went way too far in this case. Smith commented on the Rice case as follows:

“We got to make sure that you can do your part to do whatever you can do to make, to try to make sure it doesn’t happen. We know they’re wrong. We know they’re criminals. We know they probably deserve to be in jail. In Ray Rice’s case, he probably deserves more than a two-game suspension, which we both acknowledged. But at the same time, we also have to make sure that we learn as much as can about elements of provocation. We’ve got to do is do what we can to try to prevent the situation from happening in any way. And I don’t think that’s broached enough, is all I’m saying.”

If you’re enraged at this point, I can’t blame you. Basically what Smith has said is so long as women don’t provoke their male partners, you wont get hit; if you provoke them, expect to be hit.

Is this the 1950s? Really?! The  true means of preventing violence against women is to educate women and men to use communication rather than violence, and to educate men that despite all of the misogyny seen in the media, women deserve to be treated with respect. Violence is never okay, no matter who is committing it.

It is clear that Smith is promoting victim-blaming behaviors, and telling women not to push their male partners too far. Sorry Smith, but being “driven crazy” by a woman never justifies this violence.

Thanks must be given to the sane people in the world for coming out and criticizing Smith’s comments. Smith, quickly trying to make amends,  tweeted the following:

“If a man is pathetic and stupid enough to put his hands on a woman…of course he has to pay the price.”

“Who on earth is denying that? But what about addressing women on how they can help prevent the obvious wrong being done upon them?”

“In no way was I accusing women of being wrong. I was simply saying what that preventative measures always need to be addressed because there’s only but so much that can be done after the fact…”

Nope. Nice try, Smith, but everything you’re saying still promotes victim blaming.

In consequence of his comments, ESPN suspended Stephen A. Smith from its TV and radio airwaves for a week.

While these suspensions (while much too short) on both the part of Rice and Smith are welcomed, they do not solve the problem here. “This is not an isolated incident. The NFL is perpetuating a culture that tolerates violence against women,” says Becky Bond, Vice President and Political Director of Credo.

These brief suspensions do nothing to prevent violence against women. If every NFL player can get away with something like this and only miss out on two games, then what’s to stop them from committing these crimes against women? It truly is absurd that the NFL could weigh the punishment for marijuana use more heavily than what was a very public and obvious display of domestic violence.

The NFL should be ashamed for their promotion of violence against women.

[Image Source]

On The Record: The Week’s Best New Music (August 19)

Looking for some sweet new sounds? We’ve got your back with a round-up of this week’s most compelling new music and fresh releases.

Imogen Heap – Sparks

20140504083814!Imogen_Heap_-_Sparks

Imogen Heap’s fourth album incorporates fan-sourced samples into her technologically experimental choral pop,  wreathing the tender, powerful voice that has always been her primary instrument with gorgeous cello moans and ambient landscapes. Rhythmic vocal arrangements, like those on her explosively popular single “Hide And Seek,” are refreshed with a nervous, post-Internet edge in “The Listening Chair” and “Telemiscommunications.” Always on the forefront of musical technology, through Imogen Heap’s ear the mechanical becomes accessible and warm.

Beach Day – Native Echoes

kr117-Beach-Day-Native-Echoes

Somewhere between surf-rock, girl group, and riot girl, Florida’s Beach Day makes the perfect two-minute treats of honey and fuzz. The smooth harmonies and scuzzy guitars are topped with wry, bratty lyrics and a healthy portion of nostalgia.  Guitarist/vocalist  Kimmy Drakes croons “I don’t wanna be BFFs,” on “BFFs,” and  remembers teenage rebellion on  “All My Friends Were Punks.” Break out this hard lemonade before what’s left of summer fades away.

Kimbra - The Golden Echo

afa57d14b6fb481fdca3d231c799eb96

Even if you think you aren’t familiar with Kiwi musician Kimbra, you’ll probably know her as Gotye’s duet partner on the ubiquitous “Somebody That I Used To Know” back in 2012. Her jazzy, surprising mash of genres on Golden Echo will be sure to make an indelible impression.  Lounge, R&B, 80’s and 90’s pop, and science fiction soundtracks beautifully collide in “Teen Heat,” and funk, alt-rock, and orchestral blend into something new on “Carolina.” Your life will actually be worse without a taste of  Kimbra’s idiosyncratic vision.

Hildur Guonadóttir  - Saman

hildur-saman

For fans of experimental and classical music, cellist Hildur Gudnadottir’s resume is a dream come true. She’s played with Throbbing Gristle, Nico Muhly, and The Knife, and is a solo artist in her own right. Her sombre, minimalist compositions build a world from the simple relationship of voice and cello, the instrument’s melancholic tone giving us the soundtrack to a long-lost dark drama.

schoolresolutions

New (School) Year Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

With the start of a new semester right around the corner, women everywhere are busy buying furniture, moving in, and prepping for new classes. But amidst the flurry of plans and shopping sprees, it’s a good idea to take time to think about the upcoming year. What do you want to do differently?

New year resolutions are notoriously hard to keep, but there’s nothing stopping you from improving yourself during the school year. The key is to make resolutions that are attainable and manageable. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

If you want to be healthier…
While simply saying you want to “be healthier” or “exercise more and eat better” isn’t necessarily bad, it certainly doesn’t work as a solid resolution. Instead of making broad, generic statements, create specific goals. For example, promise that you’ll go to the gym one more time each week or run a mile every day.

Don’t just aimlessly try to eat healthier; make a resolution to keep a food journal, or at least to eat one serving of vegetables every day. Whatever your goal is, make it simple enough that you can hold yourself accountable.

If you want better grades…
I swear, I’ve “resolved” to stop procrastinating for four years in a row. Again, a broad goal isn’t going to get you anywhere. Instead, pick up a good planner and resolve to making (and keeping) a schedule every day that aims to balance work, health, and fun.

You could also resolve to not watch Netflix until after you’re done working for the night, or to put your phone away while doing schoolwork. These small steps can really make a big difference in your productivity.

If you want to improve yourself…
Lately, I’ve gotten into the habit of making small goals to improve specific parts of my personality. Taking tiny steps is the best way to become a better person.

To do this, pick out a personality trait that you’d like to work on. If you tend to be more negative, resolve to write down three positive things that happened each day. For those of us who want to be more social, resolve to say “yes” to more invitations, join a new club, or invite a new friend to get coffee each week.

Resolutions are hard, yes, but they’re also easier than they seem if you make the right ones. Just remember that small steps lead to big improvements!

One Direction: Where We Are Tour Review

The lights dim out, an introduction video pops up on the screen, and the thousand of fans in the stadium start to scream in excitement. All of a sudden, five boys start a stadium show with their hit song “Midnight Memories.”

One Direction started off their Where We Are worldwide stadium tour earlier this year. The boys — Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Zayn Malik — have already been to South America and Europe, playing sold out shows to thousands of fans at a time. The 1D boys have now started the North American leg of their tour and are giving U.S. fans shows to remember.

Last week I was lucky enough to attend One Direction’s show at the Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA — where they played two sold out shows. Despite my three hour car ride — and the fact that we got totally rained on — I have to say that everything was well worth it to see One Direction.

The show started off around 7pm, with opening act 5 Seconds of Summer kicking things off.  The Australian band played for an hour or so and they had the entire crowd singing along to their hit “She Looks So Perfect.”

After a huge wait, the sky cleared up and One Direction finally came out. In a matter of seconds the whole stadium was off their seats, singing and dancing along to every song.

The whole group was very interactive with the crowd and traipsed all across their amazingly built stage. Niall played guitar throughout most of the concert, and Harry would not stop dancing, throwing towels at fans, or simply waving at everyone. One Direction even took the time to sing happy birthday to two very lucky fans.

One Direction sung an impressive total of 23 songs, including their biggest hits: “Kiss You,” “Live While We’re Young,”  “Story of My Life,” and “You And I” — in which Zayn’s high note completely took our breath away.  One Direction ended the night with “Story of My Life,” “Best Song Ever,” and a beautiful display of fireworks.

I can’t neglect to mention that they performed the song that catapulted the group into stardom in the first place — “What Makes You Beautiful.” For a few minutes the whole crowd was flung back into the summer of 2011 again.

One Direction knows how to put on a show and definitely gives you your money’s worth as they lay it al on the stage. The Where We Are Tour was an excellent night of singing and dancing, and I highly recommend it to anyone who’s a 1D fan.

sweettosalty

From Sweet to Salty: Try Out These Healthier Snacks

From sweet to salty, we all have our favorite junk food snacks. Luckily, there are quite a few healthy alternatives to your all-time favorites that will still take care of your cravings.

A few of these recipes require a bit more time than others, so if you are one of those people who get so hungry they munch their way through the fridge in their quest for an actual snack, try preparing some of these ahead of time!

Starting with the sweet stuff:

Frozen Bananas

Craving chocolate, ice cream, or maybe a combination of the two? Try making your own frozen chocolate covered bananas. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Large bananas
  • Semisweet chocolate chips
  •  Popsicle sticks

The key is to not go crazy on the chocolate; just lightly covering the banana before you freeze it. You can also add toppings, like ground peanuts or coconut shavings before you freeze them! For step-by-step instructions on preparation, check out Eating Well’s recipe.

Baked Apple Chips

If you are looking for something light and sweet with a little added crunch, try baked apple chips. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Golden Delicious Apples (you’ll have to core them so pick large ones)
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Sugar (any kind you want)

The oven should be heated to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Then core and cut the apples into thin slices. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over them, and bake them for 45 minutes. For step-by-step instructions on preparation check out All Recipesinstructions.

Oven Baked Apples

Sometimes you’re sweet tooth really wants more, maybe cake, a muffin, or pie. For something a bit heavier but still healthier, try baked apples. This recipe is a bit like an apple pie, but without the crust, and the apple works as a bowl for the filling. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Large baking apples (i.e. Golden Delicious)
  • Brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Butter
  • Toppings (i.e. nuts, berries, a few chocolate chips)

This recipe is a bit trickier, and takes a bit more time. It goes great with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt on the side! For the full recipe and directions check out Simply Recipes.

Now for something salty:

 Seasoned Popcorn

Popcorn. Not the buttery, yellowish colored stuff you get at the movie theater, but naturally seasoned popcorn.

You can pop corn kernels on the stovetop, or use microwave bowls (with lids) that were made specifically for popcorn. While these are the healthiest options, you can also buy plain, unbuttered and unsalted popcorn at the grocery store. From here you just have to add seasonings. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Plain popcorn
  • Coconut or flaxseed oil
  • Seasonings of your choice (i.e. salt, garlic powder, chili powder, parmesan cheese)

Popcorn is easy and quick to make, and it’s a low calorie snack. For more info on stovetop instructions check out The Yummy Life’s suggestions.

Zucchini Chips

If you’re craving potato chips, these are a great swap. They’re still light and crisp like a potato chip, but much healthier. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Zucchini (washed and sliced thinly)
  • Oil (flaxseed or olive oil)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Any preferred spices (i.e. garlic powder, cayenne pepper)

This recipe can be made with or without breadcrumbs, but adding breadcrumbs makes it a bit less healthy. Check out details for this recipe at Skinnyms (but swap milk for oil and avoid the breadcrumbs).

French Fries

For those of us who just cant resist some salty fries, here’s a recipe for how to make your own. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Medium sized baking potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese (if you enjoy the sharp taste, if not leave it out)

The trick here is to not dunk the potato slices in oil, but to lightly brush is on. You can also add any of your favorite seasonings to give them a bit more flavor. For step-by-step instructions check out Fitnesstips.

It’s always hard to quit your favorite junk food, so instead of giving it up completely, try swapping it out. These healthier snacks are just as tasty, plus you still get to enjoy all your favorite foods and flavors.

[1. 2]

Lauren Bacall

Lauren Bacall: Discover An Icon

bacall-lauren-colour-face-pic

Golden-age Hollywood actress Lauren Bacall passed away early last week at the age of 89-years-old, sparking a flood of memorial articles and tributes. Lauren was an icon of classic American cinema, embodying the sophistication and glamour of old Hollywood style.

She was more than just a pretty face, though, projecting sultry personality and snappy wit through the screen with a radioactive power. Known for her distinctive lower-register voice and penetrating expression that everyone, including Lauren herself, called “the look,” her movies and persona became legendary fragments of a particular time and romanticism that could only ever be accessed through the transportation of black and white frames.

Lauren Bacall, giving "The Look"

(Lauren shoots some serious eye daggers with “the look”)

Through her film work and marriage to actor Humphrey Bogart (who was no slouch in the fame department himself), Lauren was a larger-than-life figure of the Hollywood star system, but she was also socially conscious. Lauren was a self-declared liberal who campaigned against the McCarthy government’s anti-communist witch-hunts in  notoriously conservative cold war America. To better introduce yourself to all the sides of this recently lost cinematic wonder, from ingenue to political player, spend some time with her best work:

The Big Sleep (1946)

Lauren is a perfect femme fatale in this Humphrey Bogart-led noir mystery.  The mesmerizing chemistry between Lauren and Bogart is often seen as overshadowing the complicated plot of the film.This is one of the films that defined a genre and character type for generations to come.

How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)

Lauren starred alongside fellow icons Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable as a trio of gold-diggers seeking the ultimate catch in this clever comedy. Lauren, Marilyn, and Betty embodied the ideal beauty of the 1950s with their carefully curled hair, immaculate red lips, and hourglass figures.

Lauren Bacall: By Myself (1978)

bacall

Many of us would struggle to write one autobiography; Lauren wrote three. Her first book, written later in life after the death of her husband, Humphrey Bogart,  won a National Book Award in 1980. What better way to get to know Lauren Bacall than through her own words?

 

 

[Image Source]

tumblr_n76d741NdS1qggwnvo1_1280

Meet Brandon Stanton: The Human Behind Humans of New York

I am sure you have heard of Humans of New York, but if you have not: it is the brainchild of Brandon Stanton, who photographs and talks to interesting people in New York City. Everyday he uploads multiple pictures with a significant quote from the conversation he had with the person he photographed, giving readers a little insight into their complex lives.

Humans of New York started in 2010, when Brandon took pictures of New Yorkers and posted them on his blog. Over time, the concept developed into pictures alongside quotes, and finally Humans of New York reached the social media sphere — where his pictures became wildly popular very quickly. Humans of New York not only has a national following, but also a great legion of international fans as well.

“When I began setting up the shot, it was just the boy on the tricycle. By the time I was ready to take the picture, it was this.”

Last summer, Brandon published his first book with an assortment of his pictures. The book quickly became a bestseller and sold so well at book signings that Barnes & Noble had to issue rain checks.

Currently, Brandon is traveling with the UN through the Middle East and photographing people in countries such as Jordan and Iraq. This excursion will help raise awareness about the struggles so many Middle Easterners encounter living or having lived in war zones. The pictures and quotes are breathtaking, beautiful, and unfortunately, oftentimes sad.

“We were engaged for six months, but her parents made her marry a richer man.”
“What’s the last thing you said to her?”
“I told her: ‘I’ve done all that I can do. I wish you happiness in your life.’”
(Petra, Jordan)

This is Brandon.

Since Brandon is known for the pictures he takes, it is nice to put a face to the name behind the lens that captures the essence of NYC and the lives of its millions of people.

Brandon has an interesting background of his own. He studied history at the University of Georgia; after college, he took out a loan and bet all his money on Barack Obama winning the presidential election. Because of President Obama’s win, Brandon’s friends suggested that he try trading in order to utilize his keen eye and prediction abilities.

After three years of trading — and some bad bets — Brandon decided it was time for a new passion. That is when he decided to move to New York City and take portraits of people in the Big Apple. And what a great decision that was! As mentioned before, Brandon’s photographs are viewed and treasured worldwide.

Living in New York myself, I always wonder what I would say to Brandon if he asked to photograph me. Secretly, I hope that I will run into him everyday. I love looking at the stunning images he takes and reading the quotes that accompany them. These little snippets feel like a glimpse into the lives of the many people around me. Everyday I encounter so many strangers that I will never meet and know. Humans of New York manages to make me feel closer to the people I encounter in this busy city, and that’s pretty cool.

[Image Source]

Eliminating misinformation and promoting miss information.