The #PeopleFocus Project

        In my ongoing effort to pursue personal projects, I want to focus more on spontaneous portraiture. As a long time follower of Brandon Stanton's Humans of New York, I was inspired to get up close and personal and take the time to get to know subjects rather than trying to discreetly photograph them from afar. But rather than the unique story focus of Brandon's work, I want to make the photograph...the features of the person portrayed...to be the main focus. I love small details, and I want to capture the contours and curvature of the individual faces, admiring the intrinsic beauty of a person and sharing my own experience and interpretation of who they are. I also deeply respect Brandon and his work, so I want to keep HONY uniquely his.

        The #PeopleFocus Project I plan to make a long term part of my photographic journey. I intend to keep traveling and shooting, and as I capture landscapes and street life, I will be taking the time to photograph the people that inhabit those places. With 196 countries and over 7 billion people populating them, the people I capture on my camera will only be a thread of the tapestry that the people of this planet make up. Still, I find it to be a joyous and worthwhile ambition...to know people and admire the way they are uniquely created.

        I have done many spontaneous portraits in the last 2 years that I've been shooting, but this marks the beginning of this project. I intend to theme groups of photos that I acquire, whether by location or subject. I want each photo (or group of photos) to tell a different story about where I am or what I am continually learning about humanity. I hope that this series can be a contribution to helping us understand more about each other and being able to see the value and beauty of each human being that walks this Earth.

"Radiance" I saw this girl sitting on a bench while walking downtown. She was wearing sunglasses at the time. I asked her for a photo and she very happily welcomed it! I probably spent 5 minutes trying to get the right angle, and she was extremely patient and even asked what she could do to make the photo better! She exuded radiance not only in her beauty and warmth of her features, but in the nature of her spirit.

"Radiance"

I saw this girl sitting on a bench while walking downtown. She was wearing sunglasses at the time. I asked her for a photo and she very happily welcomed it! I probably spent 5 minutes trying to get the right angle, and she was extremely patient and even asked what she could do to make the photo better!

She exuded radiance not only in her beauty and warmth of her features, but in the nature of her spirit.

"More than Meets the Eye" I stopped this guy while walking downtown because I have an obsession and appreciation for colored hair. We conversed a little after the initial shots, and while doing so, he took his hair down and revealed these really awesome looking locks!  I feel like that's 'people.' We see just one piece or angle, but given enough time, they can surprise you with something hidden deeper.

"More than Meets the Eye"

I stopped this guy while walking downtown because I have an obsession and appreciation for colored hair. We conversed a little after the initial shots, and while doing so, he took his hair down and revealed these really awesome looking locks! 

I feel like that's 'people.' We see just one piece or angle, but given enough time, they can surprise you with something hidden deeper.

"Vibrance of Life" I was at a Barnes and Noble when I saw this beautiful lady. I loved the color of her ensemble. She was working on a computer science class assignment at the time. After I took her photo, she asked what kind of photo work I did. It turns out she was new in town and needed a photographer for a personal portrait.  "I get a photo taken every year on my birthday," she told me. Talking to her gave me the impression that she really sought to live life to the fullest.


"Vibrance of Life"

I was at a Barnes and Noble when I saw this beautiful lady. I loved the color of her ensemble. She was working on a computer science class assignment at the time. After I took her photo, she asked what kind of photo work I did. It turns out she was new in town and needed a photographer for a personal portrait. 

"I get a photo taken every year on my birthday," she told me.

Talking to her gave me the impression that she really sought to live life to the fullest.

"Quintessence"  After doing a shoot downtown with a friend, we went by the studios on the river where he introduced me to his friend, artist Mark Mulfinger.  I learned that Mark and I went to the same college and studied many of the same subjects in the realm of literature. He shared with me with the college was like when he had attended and the influences that inspired him in the world of fine art and his appreciation for the humanities. I think that souls and minds like his are a rarity.

"Quintessence" 

After doing a shoot downtown with a friend, we went by the studios on the river where he introduced me to his friend, artist Mark Mulfinger. 

I learned that Mark and I went to the same college and studied many of the same subjects in the realm of literature. He shared with me with the college was like when he had attended and the influences that inspired him in the world of fine art and his appreciation for the humanities. I think that souls and minds like his are a rarity.

"Joy in Purple" While waiting for concert doors to open, I saw this girl's headband and lipstick and thought, "I'm going to get a photo of this girl because she has great look!" But what made the moment was the extreme amount of 'happy' that came off of her in her smile, laugh, and energy. It's the kind of joy that wish more people had. They say happy girls are the prettiest, and I believe that's true!

"Joy in Purple"

While waiting for concert doors to open, I saw this girl's headband and lipstick and thought, "I'm going to get a photo of this girl because she has great look!" But what made the moment was the extreme amount of 'happy' that came off of her in her smile, laugh, and energy. It's the kind of joy that wish more people had. They say happy girls are the prettiest, and I believe that's true!

"Gentility of a Giant" I saw this guy at a coffee shop and thought, "His beard is epic." I had to get a photo. He stood at 6'2, I believe (but then again I'm short, so everyone looks tall). He had a very stoic presence. When I asked what he did for a living, he said he taught high school Spanish.

"Gentility of a Giant"

I saw this guy at a coffee shop and thought, "His beard is epic." I had to get a photo.

He stood at 6'2, I believe (but then again I'm short, so everyone looks tall). He had a very stoic presence. When I asked what he did for a living, he said he taught high school Spanish.

"The Girl with the Wine Glass" I saw this girl sitting and reading while at a coffee shop I usually frequent near home. What initially caught my attention about her was the color of her hair. I asked her for a photo and then asked what she was reading, and she told me it was 'Harry Potter' romantic fan fiction.

"The Girl with the Wine Glass"

I saw this girl sitting and reading while at a coffee shop I usually frequent near home. What initially caught my attention about her was the color of her hair. I asked her for a photo and then asked what she was reading, and she told me it was 'Harry Potter' romantic fan fiction.

"A Man named 'Kai'" I saw this guy when shooting in Asheville, North Carolina with a friend. He was carrying a guitar, a sleeping bag, and had a dog walking behind him. He told me he was on his way to play in a different part of the city. He didn't have the glasses on at first. After I was done shooting him, I took some photos of his dog.

"A Man named 'Kai'"

I saw this guy when shooting in Asheville, North Carolina with a friend. He was carrying a guitar, a sleeping bag, and had a dog walking behind him. He told me he was on his way to play in a different part of the city. He didn't have the glasses on at first. After I was done shooting him, I took some photos of his dog.

Copyright © Aerial Jay Photography 2016