Photography project focuses on individuals, shares personal stories from the Clark community

October 28, 2013

Two Clark University students are focusing their camera lenses on faces around campus for their new project, Humans of Clark (HoC). Sophomores Nainika Grover, of Brookline, and Jonathan Edelman, of Leawood, Kansas, are sharing snapshots of students and other members of the Clark community, along with quotes from spontaneous conversation, on a Facebook page that aims to "portray the characters and personalities of Clark University."

Humans of Clark founders, Clark sophomores Jonathan Edelman and Nainika Grover

Humans of Clark founders, Jonathan Edelman '16 and Nainika Grover '16

Humans of Clark was inspired by Brandon Stanton's popular photo series, Humans of New York (HoNY), which sharing stories of strangers living in New York City with nearly one million followers on Facebook and Tumblr. The images are accompanied by brief captions or a few poignant words or sentences about the subject.

HoC founders Grover and Edelman discovered a mutual affinity for HoNY and decided to apply the formula on the Clark campus, believing their project had the potential to bring the campus closer together as a community.

"We wanted to adapt this here because we wanted the community to be able to know the various faces and stories of Clark," wrote Grover. "A lot of the time we only recognize students by face, but we never know their stories."

Edelman said he found Clarkies to be approachable and comfortable sharing their stories.

Since September 8, Grover and Edelman have published over 80 photographs of various members of the Clark community along with a personal reflection about his/her profession, personal goal, proudest moment or friend. Clark Political Science professor Ora Szekely's photo is accompanied by a comment about the compassion she experienced while in Jordan during the 9/11 attacks; a more recent, lighthearted entry features a student who writes about wearing her St. Louis Cardinals' jersey in Red Sox Nation. Stories that accompany HoC photographs range from whimsical to sentimental and profound (a student who survived cancer expressed the feeling of being "born again" after being released from the hospital).

In an article sophomore Tessa Isis-Bahoosh wrote for The Scarlet (the student newspaper), she attributed HoC's success to a combination of "the willingness of the community, the nature of social media, and the genuine interest with which the photographers approach their potential subjects."

In less than two months, the HoC page has garnered over 1300 likes, and it is believed that the page has been viewed in over 20 countries and shared by people around the world in 18 languages.

Grover and Edelman are currently in the process of developing a website so they can share HoC with individuals who don't use social media.

Dan Deutsch '13 contributed to this story.