Friday, February 26, 2010


This project was a tricky one. After much brainstorming, I decided to get an umbrella and just walk up to random people and cover them with it in the sun and observe their reactions. Following will be small captions and possibly some commentary on each person featured in the photographs.

Reflecting on the project, I guess I really didn't put much thought into what I was expecting from these people, especially as it relates to how they would react. I figured that seeing that we are at BYU, everyone would be chill with it after the initial shock. I certainly didn't expect anyone to be mad or that bothered with the idea. So what started as a gimmick was forced to turn into a reflection on the project as a whole. I guess even in the most mormonist (oh yes, I just created that word) place on earth, you find those people who are wound really tight, are just not having that great of a day, or just need to drop some change (sorry for the expression).

On the contrary of the negative side, I was very impressed with the reactions of people as whole. Perhaps because we are at the most mormonist place on earth, the majority of people here are just happy, outgoing, fun loving people, and I really liked that. The first picture is a hallmark to this generally people-friendly, mormon attitude.

I find it amazing and even somewhat comical that so many random strangers would be so willing to welcome me into their "personal bubble" with a giant umbrella as my key. I don't think that all these nice mormons would have been so welcoming if I just started walking withing inches of them as I am, no gimmick, no prop.

This was the first person I walked up to. He put his arm around me right away as if he was expecting it! We had a nice chat for about the 30 ft. we walked together where he asked why I felt so inclined to put a huge umbrella over him. It was a great start.

After this guy got over the initial shock of me coming up behind him with a huge umbrella, he thought that me giving him shade was "a good idea!"

Some people were not so welcoming of my generous acts, like this lady who actually sped up and kept trying to increase the space between us, doing all she could to not get under the umbrella. When I told her I just wanted to shade her she said, "I would rather walk in the sun, thank you."

I call this one 46 seconds. That is how long I stood next to this guy before I finally said hello to him to help him realize that a strange man was towering over him with a giant umbrella.

When this guy caught a glimpse of me out of the corner of his eye, he said, "Uh....hey." I think the photo tells the rest of the story, especially his expression.

"You freaked me out," followed by this laughter.

As in the photo above, you can see that my tactics had less than anticipated results, like scaring some of them. The two girls on the outside saw me first and didn't even warn their poor friend that some strange guy was about to come right up behind her and scare her to death. "Oh my gosh! Hello."

Some people actually took this moment to improve my knowledge and vocabulary. "We call this a parasol when they are used for the sun." Then he walked away.

This girl was not happy with me. She seemed to really be concentrating on moving forward and got a little frustrated that I ruined or threw off her concentration. "Hi...what are you doing?" As if, get away from me before I hit you with this crutch.
(photo credits to Ben Sparks)


  1. I love this idea, it is hysterical. Whoever was taking the photos is genius--they captured the reactions of your unknowing victims perfectly. Great timing of the photographer. Good work.

  2. the facial expressions are absolute gold

  3. The idea is so simple and clear that it makes the essay really effective as a whole. I really like the photo of you standing over the man for 46 secs. It shows how oblivious we can be to our surroundings or how vulnerable we make ourselves in public.

  4. I like this, its simple and effective like Kayla said. you're the kind of person I avoid because I'm shy but love laughing at as you approach other people. :)

  5. My favorite of all of these is the one where you are hovering over the guy laying down, he is so oblivious to his surroundings and your facial expression just adds to the image.

  6. As far as implicating yourself in a project goes, bravo! I think that the photos are made not by the subjects alone, but by the contrast between your expression and body language when compared to theirs.

    You would have made me feel marvelously uncomfortable had you approached me like that (if I didn't know you), and I think that for that reason I can identify both with the victims and with you.

  7. I think the candid pictures that you got really make this project work. I love the idea and the responses you got.

  8. about the prop, i think you should try this one again without it, and just walk next to people really close, and see how they react. Or take the parasol to another city to test out your mormonist theory.

  9. I thought this project was so funny! I laughed aloud at some of the photos. Such a simple and straightforward concept too.