Humans of New York: Brandon Stanton

brandonstaton

The phrase “Humans of New York” has a particular ring to it that many people seem to know. What is Humans of New York, though? Brandon Stanton, the man who created the blog Humans of New York, didn’t really know what it was going to be until it unfolded to what it is today.

Brandon started the whole idea with one photograph he took on a subway of two mothers – strangers to each other – and their sons. The whole idea behind the photograph was that Brandon overcame a fear of his by taking this intimate photograph of these people he didn’t even know. This one image became an idea that spiraled into Brandon’s passion for portrait photography of strangers. In the beginning, the only thing Brandon wanted to do was photograph random people he’d come across on the streets of New York and let the images tell the stories. As he continued to take photos, he came across one particular woman that didn’t necessarily have the best portrait he had taken and thought about deleting it. However, he realized that what this woman did have was a story.

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By sharing his first image captioned with a short quote from this woman, he came across a bigger idea that touched many more people than he thought. He began doing portraits similar to the one of that woman and captioned the images with a personal testament from that person. Brandon recognized that what his audience was interested in was getting to know strangers on a personal level. It gives a feeling of connectedness among the population of people who don’t even know each other.

The biggest takeaway from listening to Brandon Stanton speak about the startup of this revolutionary blog Humans of New York was the overarching theme of dedication and hard-work. Not a day goes by that Brandon does not work all day long with 110% effort. Some may call his dedication slightly obsessive, some may see it as a passion. He followed his dream, gave it his best shot, and had quite a bit of sweat and tears along the way. Without this burning passion, Brandon could not be where he is today.

 

Images via 1, 2

 

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Boss Lady: Alessandra Salituri

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week, we chat with the founder and creative director of Citizen Atelier, Alessandra Salituri. This beautifully curated online art gallery will have you swooning over images from artists all over the world.  

French Grey Photography by Brian Wright for Alessandra Salituri

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your career.
I am a born and bred Canadian from Montreal. I am the founder and creative director of Citizen Atelier, online art gallery as well as a public relations consultant and brand manager. I wear many hats and keep busy to say the least! I grew up in the art world attending art fairs and gallery openings with my mother. It was a natural progression that I became an art dealer and communications manager for visual artists at a young age. This eventually evolved into starting my own gallery about 7 months ago.

Along with this project, I continue to work as a consultant that specializes in media relations, marketing and branding development for innovative individuals and businesses. I am passionate about all things creative including interior design and fashion and love helping other brands cultivate the business side of their projects.

2. What prompted you to start Citizen Atelier?
The online landscape has allowed interior designer lovers to have so many more beautiful products at their fingertips than previously possible. Nonetheless, I always felt that finding art that I loved for my own space took so much searching! I could not find a one-stop shop online that had art and photography that spoke to my style; namely images with dreamy or surrealist elements where the artist really travels into their imagination. In the atelier you will find these types of pieces ranging from a rendition of the fairytale the Princess and the Pea, to seals ‘dancing’ under a disco ball in the ocean, to intimate portraits of a ballerina seamlessly dancing in the air.

I also felt there was a gap in the art market between high-end galleries and mass-produced images at big-box stores. I therefore built Citizen Atelier around the idea of curating a collection of unique and inspiring pieces from international artists, offered at a variety of price points. The unifying vision is that each piece is selected because it is truly a ‘forever’ piece of art; they are all are made with beautiful, high-end materials like archival canvases and photo-rag papers.

Krzysztof Wladyka photo via Citizen Atelier

3. What does a typical day look like for you?
Since I started conceptualizing the site about a year and a half ago, my life has become very busy, but I can’t complain! I feel very fortunate to be able to pursue my different passions. To make all the moving pieces work, I try to maintain a structured routine. I’m not a morning person, though a few days a week I try to hit the gym at 7am. It’s always super hard to motivate myself though afterwards I feel that it boosts my energy and starts my day on the right foot.

I then often pick up a café latte and croissant and start my work day which usually includes meetings with PR and Citizen Atelier clients, the development of communications strategies, pitching stories to the media and social media marketing. In the evenings, I focus on client relations, art consulting, meeting with suppliers and new artists, and brainstorming potential collaborations. I’m usually answering the 100-200 emails I get a day into the wee hours of the night.

I also always save one hour a day of quiet downtime, whether it be yoga, watching my favorite TV show or reading, when I completely unwind and rejuvenate myself for the next day.

Magnus Gjoen photo via Citizen Atelier

4. What are your most successful forms of marketing (in terms of obtaining new customers, getting the word out about CA etc.)?
I feel so appreciative that the blogging community, especially interior designers who love art and share a similar aesthetic to mine, have embraced the site. They have really helped spread the word about Citizen Atelier.

On the visual marketing end, social media has been a great tool; it has allowed me to showcase the art within real homes, so that my clients can better conceptualize a piece in a space if they are unable to see it in person. I’ve worked with interior designer/stylist Christine Dovey and interior photographer Ashley Capp to produce two beautiful lookbooks. It’s been amazing to see the reaction to these photos and how they have really spread internationally with the help of Pinterest and Instagram.

Features in publications and sites like Style at Home, Domaine and the Globe and Mail have also been wonderful and exciting vehicles for sharing the word about the site.

Antonio Mora entry photo via Citizen Atelier

5. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
Definitely travel. I put my all into everything I do, so when I take the time to get away, I really try to let go and embrace life in a different culture as well as try new things while taking the time to relax and reflect. In April right before the launch of Citizen Atelier, I traveled to Peru and visited Machu Picchu. The trip both inspired me and provided a unique opportunity to pause and appreciate all the work I had done over the last months.

I’m also inspired by other creative women in the industry who’ve charted their own paths and both work hard and lead full lives, much like those featured on this very blog! I love learning about their creative processes and how they’ve developed their businesses.

6. What advice do you have for those looking to go from employee to entrepreneur?
This is a great question! More and more young women aspire to become entrepreneurs and start their own brands. I’ve always been a big dreamer and I knew from a young age that was something I aspired towards as well. I learned so much along the way (and continue to learn every day!), I could seriously write a book about my experiences. A few lessons I’ve learned are:

1) Cultivate an enormous amount of certainty in yourself and your vision. This is what will make your dream a reality, as there will always be challenges that will attempt to throw you off your path. These experiences are par for the course and not a sign that your vision is unattainable, so be open and flexible to making changes and persevere.

2) Use other entrepreneurs as inspirations- but only to a degree. I think that the growth of social media and Instagram can give the impression that people have achieved enormous success overnight which can be discouraging. Everything started from scratch at one moment in time.

3) The creative part of the job is usually the most fun though at the end of the day it’s only a piece of puzzle; marketing, accounting and general paperwork are such a big part of it. Read as much as you can about these aspects and create procedures for staying organized.

All in all: keep your eye on your goals, be patient and cultivate your project over time. I’ve learned that achieving your dreams and becoming an entrepreneur is not a vertical rise to success; it’s small actions that add up over an extended time period. Hard work truly does pay off in strides! Anything is possible.

Michael Wou photos via Citizen Atelier

JUST FOR FUN

1. What items do you always carry in your handbag?
My bag is like my best friend! I never leave home without my eyeliner, blush, car keys (I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m totally reliant on my car!), a good luck charm my mother gave me, nail polish for touch-ups, a scarf as I’m always cold, gum and my iPhone, otherwise known as my lifeline. And you’ll usually find at least one gossip magazine stashed in there!

2. Who is your all-time favorite artist?
It might sound cliché but all my favorites artists are currently on Citizen Atelier! I’ll say however that I’m currently obsessed with the work of UK artist Amy Judd; she creates these beautiful surrealist oil figure paintings of women surrounded by natural objects-whether it be wings, flowers or conch shells- that are at once glamorous and ethereal. I’d love to hang an oversized painting of hers in my living room.

3. Describe your ultimate date night.
My ultimate date night would be a relaxed evening in a tropical beach location (we can all dream right?), though if I’m being more realistic a sushi dinner followed by a walk in the old port of Montreal.

More on Alessandra:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest 

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Favorite Instagram Accounts (as of now)

Les Nouvelles

@lesnouvelles
From the owners, buyers and besties behind the specially boutique, Les Nouvelles, this account shares pictures from their buying trips around the world, street style shots and inspiration from classic movies.

gary pepper girl

@garypeppergirl
The Australian blogger, Gary Pepper Girl, not only has the looks but an eye for style. Here you’ll find a lot of unique and colorful images of fashion and travel.

@mimithor

@mimithor
The beautiful mother and cook shares her life in the Medoc region of France. Expect to see shots of the French countryside, villages, and lots of food.

theaptmt

@theaptmt
Based in the UK the consulting company, The Apartment, posts images of exotic locations, along with fashion images and beautiful shots of food.

@nicole_franzen

@nicole_franzen
Chronicling the life of Brooklyn based food, lifestyle and travel photographer, Nicole Franzen, as she manages to somehow make everyday spaces and objects look like a fantasy.

hannah bronfman

@hannahbronfman
The dj and cofounder of the Beautified app shares pictures of her latest beauty, hair and fitness tips. This account will give you an instant motivation to get up and move. Plus, you’ll learn a lot of easy and healthy recipes.

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Marketing Tip Tuesday

image of marketing tip tuesday on how to create a great pictures yourself

Last weekend, we had the pleasure of attending Bloggy Boot Camp in Philadelphia. Hosted by a team of wonderful, intelligent, and successful women, the two day event left us full of knowledge about social media, blogging, business, and so much more. Over the next few weeks in our Marketing Tip Tuesday series, we will focus on what we learned in boot camp!

Today, we want to focus on creating beautiful pictures. As many of you know here at Social Stylate, we believe that compelling visuals are key in successful marketing. Since not all of us have the natural gift of photography we want to share with you tips we learned in making any picture awesome.

First, lighting is so key. It may seem a little obvious but the best pictures are taken with natural lighting. There is such a science to lighting and we believe here explains it best for anyone to understand. Don’t have natural lighting? Purchasing a cheap lighting kit is worth it and Amazon has some great prices here.

Secondly, take as many pictures as possible and from all angles. Courtney Slazinik, of Click It Up A Notch, spoke about snapping from at least three different angles. People are compelled by action shots and products in use. Plus, shots from all angles can tell a better story. Furthermore, you never know what shot is going to be the shot and also you now have more to choose from. Below includes examples of the different types of angles you want to capture.

image of pictures from different angles

In this day and age it is also very important to capture an image both vertically and horizontally. In doing so, you now have more availability in what you can use your photo for. An easy understanding of this is terms of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest; horizontal photos look better for Facebook and Twitter covers; whereas vertical images work better on Pinterest. Trust us, take a few extra moments to capture the picture both ways.

Lastly, fake it with an app! There are so many photo editing apps out there today. Social media manager guru, Cynthia Wheeler, shared with us her favorites that we’ve already tested and can say that each one is awesome.

1. Snapseed – best for landscapes. Add the HDR filter to really knock it out of the park.

2. Fixel – our personal favorite so far. This app can literally erase anything out of a picture with a single touch. It’s magic and FREE.

3. moreBeaute2 – ideal for fashion images. You can create images that appear glossy just like the magazines.

4. Photo Wonder – great for beauty shots. Has many unique features that other apps don’t have.

5. Photoshop Touch – a bit expensive at $9.99 but has all the bells and whistles to edit any picture.

Well there you have it. Hope these pointers help you not only create beautiful pictures but also get you the most mileage out of each click!

Do you have any tips to add?

 

Photo via Carly Abbott Photography

 

 

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