Bankers, b-boys, and why diversity and solidarity are not NYC’s strangest bedfellows.
New York City. Was there ever a more diverse, colorful and eclectic hub of humanity? Fascinated by the incredible hearth of culture that is NYC, strategic planner and hobbyist photographer Friko Starc set out to document it at its rawest, most candid form. For three years, he took portraits of strangers and passers-by at five Manhattan corners in what became The Corners Project, an inspired cross-section of New York’s living matter.
The five corners where the candid, spontaneous portraits were taken — Clinton & Rivington, Chrystie & Grand, Wall & Broad, Lex & 116th, 19th & 8th — stretch all across the island, from Chinatown to Wall Street, Lower East Side to Chelsea to Spanish Harlem.
From hipsters to homeboys, executives to entertainers, the project spans the entire social spectrum, with all its vibrant richness and charming quirk. Often presented in pairs, the portraits bespeak a unique blend of diversity and solidarity, the unmistakable we’re-in-this-together-ness of New York.
The project is part Ari Versluis’ fascinating Exactitudes, part Jason Polan’s wonderful illustrated Every Person in New York, with its own gritter, more unfiltered take on the ambitious goal of cataloging NYC’s incredible diversity and energy.
Explore The Corners Project and find it on Facebook, then go stake out a street corner of your own and marvel at the living runway of urbanity.
Lap-sized habitats, or what Central Park gardens and Polynesian reefs have in common.
Ask a scientist, and she’ll tell you size is absolute. Ask an artist, and he’ll prove it’s relative. That’s exactly what photographer David Liittschwager did in his One Cubic Foot project, exploring how much of different ecosystems can fit within a single cubic foot of space. (Can you tell we’re on a biodiversity roll this week?)
Armed with a 12-inch cube, a green metal frame, and a team of assistants and biologists, Liittschwager set out to probe five sharply different environments — water and land, from New York’s temperate Central Park to a tropical forest in Costa Rica — putting down the cube in each, then waiting patiently, counting and photographing all the creatures that lived or crossed that space, down to those about a millimeter in size.
The Hallett Nature Sanctuary at Central Park, New York
Table Mountain National Park is an iconic mesa towering over Cape Town, South Africa
The endeavor was just as laborious as it sounds — each habitat took about three weeks to catalog, and a total of over 1000 organisms were photographed.
For clear access to the organisms of Duck River, Tennessee, the team had to lift a sample into a tank
It was like finding little gems.” ~ David Liittschwager
The project is highly reminiscent of a WWF campaign we featured last year, putting a global spin on the concept of ecological microcosms.
Towering a hundred feet over Monteverde, Costa Rica, this tropical cloud forest houses a microcosm of organisms the size of a finger nail
Coral reef in Moorea, French Polynesia, where Liittschwager worked with scientists from the Moorea Biocode Project, an effort to catalog every creature in and around the Moorea
Besides the original concept and impressive amount of work that went into it, the One Cubic Foot project bespeaks the incredible richness of our planet — and the regrettable gray deadness of our man-made concrete jungles: Try setting the green cube in the middle of an LA expressway or a New York City sidewalk.
So next time you venture out into the non-grey world, consider the fascinating and intricate homes and habitats framed by your even footstep.
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Intelligent insight, the fountain of youth, or what’s love got to do with it.
A couple of months ago, we raved about photographer Andrew Zuckerman‘s extraordinary series, Bird. Turns out, Zuckerman had a much more ambitious project in his back pocket.
Driven by the insight that the greatest heritage of a generation is the wisdom gained from life’s experience, Zuckerman rolled up his sleeves and went wisdom-hunting among 50 of our time’s greatest thinkers and doers — writers, artists, philosophers, politicians, designers, activists, musicians, religious and business leaders — all over 65 years of age. (Though Zuckerman himself is just over 30.)
You don’t stop doing things because you get old. You get old because you stop doing things.” ~ Rosamunde Pilcher, writer
He posed 7 questions, recording his subjects’ candid responses in a way that unearths a landslide of intelligence, inspiration and invaluable insight.
Against the plain white backdrop and in the signature crispness of Zuckerman’s shot, the subjects are stripped down to their core essence, decontextualized and thus democratized in a way that truly captures a cross-cultural cross-section of our era, with all its burdens and triumphs.
From Nelson Mandela to Jane Goodall to Mary Quant, the list of wisdom-dispensers reads like an all-star pickup game between TED and the Nobel Prize, a treasure trove of our greatest heritage and our most precious human capital.
It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another. Peace is the greatest weapon for development that any people can have.” ~ Nelson Mandela
Take your profession seriously; don’t take yourself seriously. Don’t take yourself seriously in the process, because you really only matter to a certain degree in the whole circus out here. If a person is confident enough in the way they feel, whether it’s an art form or whether it’s just in life, it comes off — you don’t have anything to prove; you can just be what you are.” ~ Clint Eastwood, filmmaker
The project was also reincarnated as a breathtaking and impactful exhibition in Sydney’s State Library of NSW Galleries.
Love something. I think we’ve got to learn to love something deeply. I think it’s love. It sounds sentimental as hell, but I really think it is.” ~ Andrew Wyeth, artist
Succinct and brilliantly curated, Wisdom is a living corpus callosum bridging the creative and intellectual hemispheres of culture’s collective brain, as close as we can get to an ideological and philosophical timecapsule of our era.
Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s an example. Like? Sign up.
Brain Pickings has a free weekly interestingness digest. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week's best articles. Here's an example. Like? Sign up.
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