According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Humans of New York

God-filled Stories
of Life and Light
Searching for the Soul of Man

Humans of New York street photography gains popularity, Univ. alumnus plans for future of blog After he lost his job, Brandon Stanton decided to take photos.
Now he has created thousands of photographs and found even more fans.
Stanton, a University alumnus, is the photographer behind the blog Humans of New York, or HONY for short. The project has over 64,000 fans on Facebook and includes almost 4,000 street portraits of people in New York.
Stanton began taking photos while he had a job trading bonds in Chicago. Stanton said at that time, he mainly took photos on the weekends, but after losing his job in Chicago, he decided to travel a bit and continue shooting. Though many of his photos started off as landscapes, by the time Stanton reached New York, he focused on street portraits.
“I determined that the photos I was getting that were most compelling came from taking portraits of people in the street,” Stanton said. “I got to New York and determined that if I was going to do street portraits, this would be the place to do it.”
While he began his project with the idea of taking pictures in many different cities, Stanton said he does not need to change location because of the diversity found in New York. Also, he said about 25 similar “Humans of…” projects have cropped up in cities around the world, thereby making travel not as necessary.
“New York is such a large city and such a diverse city that I can spend my whole life here and not exhaust all of the subject matter,” Stanton said. “As opposed to trying to start managing some sort of similar project for the rest of the world, I’m just content to inspire an example in others.”
Stanton said in addition to New York’s wide range of people, he maintains variety in the street portraits by not having set criteria for who he photographs. Sometimes he sees color which attracts him; other times it's eccentricity. But most of the time Stanton photographs everyday people.
Christina Cotsakis, a freshman romance languages and business major from Alpharetta, Ga. said she enjoys HONY because it allows her to see the daily lives of different people.
“I like Humans of New York because I feel like it appeals to people’s secret love of people watching without being creepy,” Cotsakis said.
Stanton said he takes photographs everyday for around three hours. During that time, he will normally cover about six or seven miles to find a variety of people. The rest of the day, Stanton works on administering the HONY blog, answering e-mails and doing interviews.
As for the future of HONY, Stanton said he has reached a point where he needs to modify the project in regard to funding and reaching the audience. But even as Stanton thinks about monetizing his project, he said he hopes to avoid making it too commercial while still allowing it to develop.
“At this point, I’ve got over 50,000 people looking at the photos every single day, so I could probably raise money pretty unobtrusively through a print sale or something like that,” Stanton said. “I’m currently weighing my options, and I’m optimistic that I can raise enough money to continue doing this without over-commercializing the project, which I’m really worried about doing.”
Commercialization of HONY worries Stanton because he believes it could negatively affect the energy of the project.
“[Humans of New York] has this energy behind it. People are very passionate about it,” Stanton said. “I think a lot of that passion stems from the idea of somebody stopping random people on the street and documenting them out of a respect for their humanity and an interest in them. When you bring money into anything, it dilutes that energy, and I want to be very careful.”
Dave Adams, a senior public relations major from Kennesaw, Ga., said he enjoys Humans of New York because of the emphasis on the person rather than artistic composition.
“I like the fact that it’s not so much focused on the composition of the photos as much as it is portraying the person raw,” Adams said. “It’s really about the person…that’s what I like about it, it kind of lives up to its name.”
Stanton said he does not see HONY as a stepping stone to any sort of larger plans, but he does believe there will be books and other extensions of it. He also hopes to continue growing his audience and improving his photography.
Even though Stanton lives cheaply now — mainly off of savings from his previous job — he said he does not look toward HONY as a significant source of income.
“I’ve found what I love to do. It would be hard for me to enjoy my life more than I do right now,” Stanton said. “I’ve always said I don’t want HONY to be a means for me to achieve a certain lifestyle. I want it to be lifestyle in itself.”

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