The way we view something or someone will in one way or another determine our experience with them and this is generally a direct result of a belief which one has established at some point in the past. A lot of time these perceptions have the likelihood of being flawed depending on how they were acquired but I like to think it’s our responsibility to delve deeper and discover more on those things that we judge based on what we see.
Photographing on the streets has this uncanny ability to teach you a lot more about human behavior than you would ever be interested in. Luckily I welcome all of it and rarely do I ever see it as an unwanted side effect. Today I wanted to experiment a bit with this whole conception of perception. I took to the streets of Bushwick with my trusty white board again to ask random residents if they would to write one factual thing about themselves that no one would know by simply looking at them.
The following are portraits of the responses I gathered.
I had to give each my subjects a couple a minutes to put some thought into their answer since a few struggled with it but as always, I was in no particular rush. Whether we admit it or not, we all have this preconceived opinion about people we come across based mainly on their appearance. If you live in a neighborhood like Bushwick and you’re arms are entirely coated with tattoos and you’re smoking and you happen to be standing at a corner bodega, most people would think that you’re up to no good without them really knowing anything about you. Perception seems to dominate everything but it quickly gets challenged when you take the initiative to learn something about a person and I like to think that’s what I did today.
I’m constantly in and out of several neighborhoods around New York City so I would be curious to give this experiment a try in many of them.