After successfully launching the book version of Humans of Nelson, Nelson photographer Ryan Oakley was looking to take a step back from his project in order to refresh his creative juices. To that end, he advertised for someone to help out temporarily. That’s when he found Meagan Malone, who has taken over the gig for the month of December.
“I was surprised how accepting people were of me coming in and not being Ryan,” said Malone, who has already created over 10 posts. Having moved from Australia nine years ago, she currently works at The Source while pursuing creative work in her spare time.
“I thought people would be like ‘you’re not the Humans of Nelson person’ but really they’ve been like ‘oh, you’re doing it! Cool!”
The Facebook page for Humans of Nelson currently has 7,091 likes. It is based on the work of photographer Brandon Stanton, creator of Humans of New York, who both Oakley and Malone count as their primary inspiration.
“I love the idea of `who’s that person?’ `What might their story be?’ You judge people by the way they look but that’s not usually what they are. Often it’s completely different than what you think,” said Malone.
She said it took her over three days to work up the courage to approach her first subject, but once she did the experience was exhilarating.
“It’s a lot of work to just walk up to somebody. I usually go for somebody who smiles, or is standing still, or who talks to me first. I have to go through that whole thing like `will I bug them?’ and then just decide to go ahead and do it,” she said.
Oakley said bringing in fresh talent has renewed his passion for the project.
“One of the reasons I wanted a fresh photographer was to refresh my own batteries. Now I see Meagan’s stuff and I’m like `I wanna get out there again!’,” he said.
Though he’s interested in publishing a second book, he said he doesn’t want it to be a traditional second volume.
“It’s too early. If I did it, I’d want it to be different somehow,” he said, noting that Stanton’s second book tackled different subject matter as well. He said he’s currently weighing options on how to proceed.
Humans of Nelson can be found at facebook.com/humansofnelsonbc.