My name is Colby Yee. I am a senior at Lexington High School. For the past year I have been undergoing an independent study into portrait photography under the guidance of my teacher Damian Barneschi.
Inspired by Brandon Stanton, founder of “Humans of New York,” I began my own “Portrait Project”. Like Brandon Stanton, I too wanted to photograph strangers and listen to the stories they had to tell. For this project, one of my challenges was to make connections. Like many people, I went through life with tunnel vision; avoiding eye contact, unfamiliar faces, and uncomfortable conversations. Through this work I hope to show that there is so much that can be learned by reaching out to those you don't know.
I set out to take a portrait of a different person each day, for the entire duration of 2014. During that time, I feel as though my portraiture has improved alongside my heightened curiosity and willingness to engage with others. I ended up learning more than just people’s stories; as the year went on I learned more about composition and technique, and emphasized these more and more in my work. With practice and guidance I was able to hone my skills and work with both film and digital photography.
The images that follow are the photographs from my project. They convey the stories, faces, and situations that spoke to me most. These images had a large affect on me because the subject’s words shaped my views gave me unique perspectives that I might not otherwise had access to had I not met them. My work encourages the viewer to reach out to those around them and to listen and learn through other people’s experiences.