NYU could be considered a representation of New York City’s fashion culture. Walking down the street, one can spot students in suits speed-walking with an air of importance, actors practicing on the street, environmentalists protesting, or politicians standing on soap boxes petitioning.
One photographer is now capturing it all in an attempt to describe the indescribable NYU student.
Simone Caves, a Tisch sophomore from the Dominican Republic studying film, has merged her passion for photography and her excitement for living in New York in a project titled “Humans of New York University.”
Caves defines it as a parody of the original “Humans of New York” project created by Branden Stanton, who moved to New York after being laid off from his bond trading job in Chicago and took the opportunity to challenge himself to create a photographic census of New York City.
“I thought it would be really cool to create an exhaustive catalogue of the city’s inhabitants,” Stanton said on his blog. “[It is] about picking a random person off the street, no matter where they happen to be, and celebrating them on a stage every night.”
Inspired by Stanton’s thriving and growing creation, Caves created a spectrum of NYU students’ diversity and beauty. She said every individual photo has a beauty of its own that can be shared with the larger community.
“I feel like NYU is just as or even more diverse than New York as a whole,” said Steinhardt sophomore Michelle Lee, who was photographed while studying.
As an international student, Caves said she misses her home country’s everyday customs and people. Before beginning the project, Caves was already participating in integrating new students into the metropolitan community through her leadership as an NYU Welcome Week Ambassador and within the film program.
The project is an attempt for Caves to ease the cultural change that many international students who come from tight-knit communities and feel overwhelmed by the anonymity of the city.
“I want to show people that they are not alone and that NYU is not as big as the stereotypical visitor may think,” Caves said. “I’m trying to capture as many faces as I can to show what a global university NYU is.”
She said that although “Humans of New York” focuses on people outside of the norm, she focuses less on uniqueness and more on creating a visual census of NYU; in effect bringing a sense of self-recognition to every member of the viewing audience.
“I felt special to be part of such a growing project,” said featured Steinhardt freshman Jos Wilder.
When asked what she feels while taking a photograph, Caves referred to the adventure of creating a beautiful picture and the longing enthusiasm to share it with others. Caves admits that although photography has always been her passion, now that she is able to share her work, photography has created a sense of achievement and ownership in her surroundings that are very different from the Dominican Republic.
Follow “Humans of New York University” at humansofnyu.tumblr.com .
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Oct. 10 print edition. Martina Belloni is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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