When Victoria Chan had to come up with an idea for her spring practicum, she knew what she wanted to do immediately.
Chan based her idea for Humans of West Georgia from a man named Brandon Stanton who wanted to create a photographic census of New York, so he started Humans of New York in 2010. Chan, a Masters student studying College Student Affairs, is originally from Syracuse, N.Y., and was influenced by the social movement that has become increasingly popular on social media websites.
“I love this project and I think it’s absolutely gorgeous,” said Chan. “So I thought ‘why don’t we bring this to West Georgia?’ There are so many different people here and I think it should be highlighted in a very social media – photography platform.”
Chan said that she likes to ask questions that are obvious, but sometimes she asks more difficult questions.
“I love how honest people are being with me,” said Chan. “When I first started I didn’t know if people would open up.”
When Chan takes pictures and asks questions, she gets nervous sometimes, which she said was strange for her.
“The craziest thing is I’m such a social person and I love talking to people,” said Chan. “But sometimes I’m like ‘Do I approach? Do I not approach? Okay Victoria, you have to do it. You have to ask them.’”
Chan’s newfound confidence has inspired her to continue with her project once her class has ended.
“My goal is to highlight all the different types of people at West Georgia,” said Chan. “Originally, I was just going to do the campus, but in the square there’s so many awesome people. I would love to develop a book, and I’m going to see if I have the time to do that.”
Adding more people to the project is another goal for Chan.
“Eventually I would love to have photographers help out,” said Chan. “Although this is just a spring practicum, I would for this to just keep going on and on. I’d love to open it to student submissions.”
Opening up to student submissions could create more community at UWG. While Stanton’s idea was to show New York in a visual way, Chan wants to unite the UWG campus.
“I just want to get the word out there so we can start appreciating each other as humans and not ‘you’re affiliated with that,’” said Chan.
Although Humans of New York is popular on social media, Chan said she had people question why she was doing this project and what was her point.
“Essentially, I’m just going around taking pictures if you don’t want to look deep into it,” said Chan. “For me, my point is to study people and get to know people. I think we don’t do that a lot anymore. We don’t sit down with people to have intentional conversations. I think thorough this project there’s been a lot of, ‘Hi. I don’t know you, but please tell me about yourself. I think you’re beautiful and I’d love to capture that in a photo.’”
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