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NYT offers a look at 'hometown' across the U.S. through the eyes of teens

By dpreview staff on Sep 24, 2013 at 11:00 GMT

The New York Times' Lens Blog asked teenagers across the U.S. to submit photos of their hometowns for a project simply called 'My Hometown.' Thousands of teens responded to the call, with submissions coming from 45 states. The resulting collection is a yearbook of sorts, documenting the friends, family and places closest to a small sampling of the country's young people. A selection of 145 Editor's Choice photos have been published, and the whole collection is available online - searchable by student or state.

 Photo by Sydnei Olsen, 18. Sioux Falls, SD.
 Photo by Denney Turner, 18. Franklin, VA.
 Photo by Mariah Dennis, 14. Hampden, ME. 
 Photo by Thomas Dougherty, Woleboro, NH.

Browsing through the photos shows an interesting mix of rural and urban, new and old industry, suburban sprawl, the pursuit of summertime fun and snow-covered landscapes. In short, it's a snapshot of the US through thousands of sets of curious eyes, and well worth checking out at Lens Blog.


Total comments: 26
Roberto Peradotto
By Roberto Peradotto (7 months ago)

The kids are alright. The images are strong enough that I don't
have the slightest curiosity to see the exif. Thanks kids, a set
of real photos that worth to see and get inspired.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 36 seconds after posting
b craw
By b craw (7 months ago)

On many occasions in my classes, I've had students right out of high school show me excellent images they've shot in the past, then feel insecure in disclosing what camera they used. I've explained so many times how the perception and intuition is really so much of what makes a good photographer and a good artist. And that ultimately the technical knowledge should be to broaden potential approaches, and not foreground itself simply for the sake of doing so. Then I get a number of students with a few thousand dollars of equipment and who can't see beyond technique. Each image is like a math problem. The classes wherein I can get a dialog going between these factions is a really special thing to see - how everybody can help each other improve their processes.

Thanks, NYT. Excellent photographs, only incidentally done by young people.

By wansai (7 months ago)

I think for many art forms/mediums, the idea/vision and the technical go hand in hand. I consider one or the other incomplete; sketches if you will.

Mastery involves the ability to utilise the technical aspect of your craft in pursuit of your goals.

For a beginner, I think there are going to be people who approach it from different points of view. Photography is inherently technical which is also why it tends to attracts more of the analytical of mind. It is both an art form and a craft and as such requires both.

When one has less, a person is forced to utilise what he has. When one has more (equipment), he'll likely need to learn that technical first. As you said, somewhere, eventually they will hit the balance between technical and art.

1 upvote
By InTheMist (7 months ago)

Excellent photos. Kids see differently.

1 upvote
By Samolot (7 months ago)

My hometown looks similiar:

By AbrasiveReducer (7 months ago)

Wow. I'm sure these were edited from a huge selection but if this is the work of amateurs, let's see more of these and less from the pros.

By DaveCS (7 months ago)

Maybe it's me but the title of the DPReview post:
NYT offers a look 'hometown' across the U.S. through the eyes of teens

Makes absolutely no sense. It needs, at the very least, an "at" nestled in there between "look" and " 'hometown' ". Sorry but while the photos are great title read not well when missing word thing (catch the drift?).


1 upvote
By DanielFjall (7 months ago)

Holy crap! You're right!

By jkoch2 (7 months ago)

If you get no further than that, too bad.

You can "look there" and understand, without being told "look at there" or "look over there." Army drill sergeants bark "Eyes right!"

By Devendra (7 months ago)

small issue. the nyt title is 'my hometown', so it still makes sense.
Hope you saw the images before jumping into dpr comments though?

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
1 upvote
By SDPharm (7 months ago)

> You can "look there" and understand, without being told "look at there" or "look over there."

Although English is not my first language, I don't think that's right. You can 'look here and there' but you have to 'look at this' not 'look this'. Sure you can understand it, but it does not make it right.

By DaveCS (7 months ago)

= You can "look there" and understand, without being told "look at there" or "look over there." Army drill sergeants bark "Eyes right!" =

Yes, that's correct, a person can say "Look there" or "Eyes right" as a command, and be understood. However, the last time I checked, in reading DPReview (or any other online publication for that matter) I am reading and not dealing with a person directly, hence the difference and the reason why the original headline did not make sense.

By babalu (7 months ago)

@jkoch2 : seems that DaveCS was right in pointing this out; it has now been corrected , sir, Sergeant, Sir !

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
Don Kiyoti
By Don Kiyoti (7 months ago)

Besides the talent of the photographers, this gallery shows how important good photo editors are to the whole process.

By Johnsonj (7 months ago)

Kids aren't bogged down by per-conceived notions about what photography should be. They're more pure and less concerned about convention, rules, Photoshop and the diminishing returns of the RAW file. Give some willing kids a 5 minutes lesson on using a P&S camera and let them loose for a photo essay about Anytown, USA and they'll come back with images equal to (or better) than any seasoned photo journalist.

By jkoch2 (7 months ago)

The editors probably did some selection of the thousands or millions of submissions. Otherwise, most of the pictures would have been pretty much what most teens (or anyone else) posts to Facebook: friends, pets, etc. There might also be some "Holden Caldwell" out there whose photos might be striking but "in your face" too.

By AbrasiveReducer (7 months ago)

I'd give them more credit than that. A professional will go to a spectacular location like Antarctica and deliver spectacular photos. But getting great shots in a mundane environment is obviously far more difficult.

1 upvote
By wansai (7 months ago)

that's quite a knock against pros. Most people don't start off as pros and had their starts exactly like these kids.

The pros aren't argueing about the merits of cameras and equipment. They decide based on their needs and use it as such. You are lumping pro into the same category as the prosumers that have money to burn buying new cameras as gadgets. they are the ones argueing.

Not to mention, as jkock2 has stated, there's likely an editor combing through finding the best ones. These kids (and even pros) aren't pumping out winners on every shot. How many hundreds or even thousands of shots did each take to produce a good one?

You see the end result and make the assumption every shot kids take are award winning because they are "unconstrained". For every good photo I see on my facebook feed, there are thousands, literally, that are terrible - not even average, but terrible.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
By BBking83 (7 months ago)

It's amazing how articles like these get no traction of conversation about gear and the "FF" war.

Really nice photos in there, regardless of what they used and how they used it. They just took photos.

By mister_roboto (7 months ago)

I know right? You'd think after David Burnett won the white house photographers award with a shot from a Holga that people would "get it."

Some of the best people I know are photo people, unfortunately a lof of the worst people I know are also photo people.

1 upvote
By arry_girl (7 months ago)

There are some true gems in here. Am so glad I took the time to peruse!

By JEROME NOLAS (7 months ago)

Great pics!

By BravoEcoNovember (7 months ago)

Some really great photos indeed, worth the time to take a look. Intentional or not, some are really inspiring, others show some really great locations.

1 upvote
By fortwodriver (7 months ago)

Take note measurebators and arm-chair critiques! These photos are a fantastic example of what people can do when they get out and USE their cameras!

Comment edited 23 seconds after posting
By pictureAngst (7 months ago)

Use the camera? Wouldn't that affect the resale value?

By Marla2008 (7 months ago)

A lot of really good pictures there !!! Well worth checking out...

1 upvote
Total comments: 26