Sunday, January 26, 2020

Photos of Americans at Outdoor Fairs

Person at the Fun Center from Earthsworld
taken by "a human being in Portland"
Earthsworld is a website with collections of candid photos of anonymous Americans taken at outdoor fairs.

It includes a crosscut of individuals, honest and unfiltered. It's a good source of reference for character designers and virtual people-watchers.


RotM_81 said...

This is great! People-watching is one of the bonuses for doing art/craft fairs!

Jim Douglas said...

Do I detect an unusual color gamut mask? It seems like nearly every photo has a strong magenta. I'm not sure how to describe what I'm seeing.

James Gurney said...

Jim, yes, there seems to be some kind of color grading in post.

DG said...

Did they ask people's permission 1) to take the photo ? 2) to post it publicly ?

Lou said...

Hmmm, don't look real happy do they!

James Gurney said...

Lou, I wonder if our facial set-points are a little more angry or frustrated, collectively speaking. I've noticed that people more often look startled, worried, or frightened, especially kids. I remember us all looking more open and humorous.

DG, There's no need to ask permission to either take the photo or post it. At county fairs, people are in a public space with no expectation of privacy. Also the posting doesn't reveal their name or other personal details, and the photographer is anonymous.

Lou said...

James, not sure I understand. Do you say as a society our expressions now are more dour than they have been in the past?
If so, have to say I've never really considered that. Suppose you'd have to look at photos from the same venue over a period of time. No doubt more than one or two post-graduate sociologists have done their thesis on the subject.

James Gurney said...

Lou, there's a very interesting BBC podcast about how the faces of modern humans have changed over the centuries, especially our eyes and jaws:
You can also see changes by watching films of regular people 50 or 100 years ago.

earth said...

Hey James, thank you for introducing a few new folks to these photographs!
And yes, fortunately within the US, taking and publishing photos of people with no reasonable expectation is still perfectly legal. I know in other countries, like Germany, this isn't the case, but i'm so happy that we're allowed to here. Coincidentally, the original photograph which inspired this project for the past 20 years was taken in Stuttgart.

As far as expressions go, what i generally am waiting for when i push the button is that moment when people are alone with themselves and not interacting with or performing for anyone else. That's always a big challenge for me since most are at the fair with family or friends and then trying to line up everything else like lighting, crowds, backgrounds, etc, while also finding that quiet moment... well, i tend to miss a lot of photos =(
Thanks again!

Roca said...

Legal or not I'd be pretty uncomfortable if I found a picture of myself in these.

ChrisW said...

Thanks for posting this resource. For me as someone who is just trying to learn to draw people (portraits and figures), this will be a great source of reference material for me to practice doing quick sketches trying to capture their likeness and expression.

BTW, I'm very much enjoying reading through your very interesting blog posts.