Student Photography Zine Gets Candid

When Frank Yang ’22 approached a cab driver on the streets of Shanghai to speak to him and take his photo, he knew he had to capture that moment.

* Click here to view the zine

“I wanted to reflect the challenging situation of the lower middle class, even in the modern city of Shanghai, through the discontented expression on his face and the blurry disorderly background," Yang said. 

Yang and his classmates discovered that stepping out from behind the camera to engage a subject is not as easy as it seems during a recent assignment inspired by photographer Brandon Stanton’s “Humans of New York.”

Stanton is best known for his photojournalistic work capturing and captioning images of New Yorkers after chatting with them. Similarly, students in upper school photography teacher Rachel Langosh’s Photography 2 class interviewed friends, family members and strangers after taking their pictures. The photos and interviews were compiled into a zine titled  “Pandemic People.”

“I love doing this work with my Photo 2 class because it asks students to pause and spend time with their subjects instead of just quickly taking a portrait,” Langosch said.

Yang enjoyed going outside his comfort zone with his subjects. “Each of their experiences has amazed me and broadened my horizon,” he said. “In this project, I could also share with my audience the culture and even alarming problems for the individuals in my country through the use of visual language and literal statements.”

Corinne Furniss ’23 is often inspired by nature and landscapes in her art, so for her, “The most challenging part of this project was building up the courage to talk to a stranger. I am somewhat of an introvert, so talking to strangers and taking their photos was kind of awkward and difficult, but definitely a great learning experience!”

While the pandemic made the project more difficult for those who had to navigate remote interviews and image-taking, Langosch discovered its upside: “It was a beautiful collaboration that bridged worlds in a time that has felt so distant as students brought us together to feel slightly more connected on a global level.”
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