The Butterfly

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A few years ago I read a story by a woman named Christina Decker called “Finding Bravery In A Butterfly“. With all this talk of cocooning lately and all the inevitable butterfly metaphors flying around I have been thinking a lot about it. Basically it goes like this. One day this woman was sitting at the traffic lights of a very busy intersection waiting to get on with her day, when she noticed a butterfly out among the cars. She remembers thinking how very out of place it looked out there amidst the traffic and smog. She wished it would turn around and go back to the safe place from which it came. She wanted to yell at it, tell it that this concrete jungle was no place for a beautiful butterfly. It needed to be near flowers and nature in order to survive and thrive. In spite of her attempt to will the creature to return to a more familiar place the butterfly proceeded determinately across the busy thoroughfare. It was at this point that the woman began to think that perhaps this butterfly was not lost or confused. Maybe she was purposefully venturing out of her comfort zone in search of greener pastures, taking a risk in the hopes of finding something even better on the other side. Fortunately before the light turned green the butterfly arrived safely at her destination on the other side of the road.

And yes you guessed it, the obvious comparison is coming. Don’t worry i’m not about to suggest for even a moment that any of us went looking for the current situation we are in or to try to minimise it in any way. This pandemic is very frightening, we are all feeling lost, confused and very anxious. None of us know what to do and the days are difficult to get through. All I’m saying is that we are here! We’re out of our comfort zone and in uncharted territory. We have gotten blown off course and I’m afraid turning around is no longer an option, no matter how much we would like to. So we must go forward and hope that the garden that lies on the other side will be more beautiful then the one we’ve left behind. And perhaps we too will emerge a bit bruised, battered but braver than when we started. Stay safe, stay healthy and if at all possible stay sane! x

“Humans of New York” is all about telling a story

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I first discovered “Humans of New York” on social media. Like many others I kept seeing these pictures appear on my Facebook feed. I even shared a few of them on my own page. I looked forward to seeing what characters would appear next and what their stories would be. I became more and more curious about it and so, as I do with everything I have an interest in I looked it up and began reading all about it. Brandon Stanton began taking pictures in 2010 after he lost his job as a bond trader in Chicago. He didn’t know what to do so he began taking pictures, first of things he saw and then of random people he met on the street. Photography was just something he enjoyed doing and not something he ever saw as a career. This idea has now developed into a worldwide blog with millions of followers called “Humans of New York”.

At first Stanton’s idea was to gather 10,000 portraits, plot them on a map of the city and present them to a publication but the project soon began to grow into something much bigger.  He started having conversations with the subjects in his photographs rather than just taking their picture. He asked them personal and intimate questions about their lives and coupled these stories with their pictures. This seemed to be the key that unlocked the magic of “Humans of New York”. Now it has between 13 -15 million followers on its Facebook page and blog. Two books have been released, one of which has been on the best seller list for several months and another due out at the end of the year. “Humans of New York” has also won a Webby for “Best Use of Photography” and a People’s Voice Award for “Best Cultural Blog.” Stanton was also named one of Time Magazine’s 30 Under 30 People Changing The World in 2013. Continue reading