For Patrick Chin, what began as an informal way of capturing the important people in his life quickly grew into more intentional storytelling. A Florida native, Patrick began taking pictures after high school, when he was gifted a Canon FX. After settling in the Orlando suburbs two years ago, Patrick has grown to love the area and, through his photos, hopes to show others a side of the city they may not typically see.
Following a chance encounter with a man named Johnny, whose ribbon-adorned bike caught his eye, Patrick realized he wanted to document individuals and their stories from around the city. Describing that initial meeting, he explains, “It was equal parts exciting and challenging, and I honestly loved chatting with him. It just made sense to me to begin looking for more opportunities to tell people’s stories.” This experience served as his inspiration to begin the People of Orlando photo series, a portrait collection of people he meets on the street. “Ever since starting the People of Orlando series, I feel like my eyes have been opened to how interesting (and sometimes weird) we all are.”
“When people look at this series, I hope their eyes can be opened to the fact that we are all living a story, even though we’re usually just pushing forward with our tunnel vision. People are great. People are interesting. I’m always on the lookout for more People of Orlando portraits. I see it forever being a collection that I slowly add to, a piggy bank of good memories and new friends.” Browse the photos below for a selection of portraits from the people of Orlando, and visit and follow Patrick’s VSCO Grid to delve further into the series.
Patrick typically does not pose the subject for their portrait, but instead, tries to capture them in the middle of their natural activity. “Breaking the ice when approaching a stranger is the hardest part. You can usually tell in that moment if they’re going to let you take their photo or not. If I can get past the awkwardness with them, I’ll usually ask them about what they’re doing. I’ve had some great conversations with people.”
One of his favorite stories emerged at the local farmer’s market, where he met Sista Susie, a farmer selling eggs and produce. They struck up a conversation, and he later toured her farm, a full-scale operation in the heart of the city. Susie had turned to farming following her husband’s death and her own rehabilitation from illness. Patrick reveals, “Farming had given her something to live for, she said. She truly credits her being alive to finding contentment and satisfaction in farming. We both cried, laughed, hugged, and ate lots of good food before I left. Asking for her portrait was easy. She didn’t mind at all, so I put her in front of her shed and just kept chatting with her while I snapped away. It was really special to me, and I still keep in touch with Susie to this day.”
To achieve a consistent editing style for his portraits, Patrick uses VSCO Cam. “VSCO has truly shaped the way I take photos. Both the community on VSCO and the inspiration have helped push me to get a little better every day. I love how easy VSCO Cam is to navigate and how dramatic and how subtle edits can be.” As for his favorite presets, he says, “I find myself using Legacy 6 a lot. I’ll also usually add +1 sharpness, unless there are fine lines, and then maybe +1 on skin tone. M5 is so flattering on skin tones, and I like what it does with whites and browns, too.”
Recently, Levi’s® Commuter™ and VSCO teamed up for a second time to honor the experience surrounding cycling. We were excited to release the limited edition Levi’s® Commuter™ Preset, LV3, available for free within VSCO Cam®. Having asked photographers, cyclists, and creatives alike to join in, people from all over the world have shared their perspective on the ride to VSCO Grid™.
There are so many experiences one can have while riding a bike, and the images shared to VSCO Grid with the hashtag #commuter have been fascinating to view. Many commuters enjoy the ebb and flow of a bustling city, securing a backpack snugly around their shoulders, and clamping into toe clips before embarking on a wild, fast-paced ride. Others take it more leisurely and glide along the streets on a cruiser, stopping after work to pile groceries in a basket. No matter how people like to ride, it’s the experience that is beautiful. In honor of the captivating #commuter images uploaded to VSCO Grid, we thought it appropriate to share some of our favorites. To see more incredible cycling images, be sure to visit and follow the Levi’s® Commuter™ x VSCO Grid. Also, remember to tag your VSCO Cam images of cycling with the hashtag #commuter for a chance to be featured on the Levi’s® Commuter™ x VSCO Grid.
Since its inception, VSCO Grid has been a platform for sharing your stories. We have long upheld and revered your voices, your perspectives, and your insights, and we are continually blown away by the content you share with us through your grids. Oftentimes, we see a portrait of your lives, your communities, and the world at large when we browse through your photographs.
Over the past week and a half, the eyes of many have turned to the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a policeman. The shooting has sparked protests and riots throughout Ferguson, and around the country; citizens have spoken out against police brutality and are demanding justice for Brown.
Events such as these affect us, whether we are present to witness them, are impacted by them personally, or even if we simply watch them unfold on television screens or Twitter feeds. We react, sometimes viscerally. By sharing our emotions, we amplify our voices and bring others into the dialogue.
We have been moved to see members of our community sharing their unique perspectives in the wake of the events in Ferguson, and we share the images below as a testament to what is transpiring. As the investigation continues and details are revealed, we want to acknowledge that a young man’s life has been lost, and that in itself is a tragedy. As we scroll through the images uploaded to VSCO Grid, we find singular photos revealing history as it is unfolding. Two photographers in the St. Louis area caught our attention after posting several powerful images from Ferguson over the past week. Photographer Adrian Walker and designer Marcus Stabenow, who were both raised in the St. Louis area and live there now, have spent time documenting the events in real time. Read on below to learn more about their experience in Ferguson over the past several days and see their gripping images.
Can you give us a description of the atmosphere in Ferguson, Missouri? How are people feeling?
Adrian: Our moment of silence for the death of Michael Brown has ended, and now the people want to be heard. They want answers. They want unity, not just in the black community, but for all races. We want justice. Never in all my time here in St. Louis have I seen members of the St. Louis community band together in this way. It’s extremely powerful and a feeling that I will never forget. Protesters are unified and rejoicing with one another through their overwhelming frustration, anger, and confusion. People are happy to be around others in support of this cause as they try to protest in peace with no intervention from the authorities. Even with all the noise, there is a silence in the air as everyone waits for some indication that change will come and justice will be served.
Marcus: The atmosphere is totally different at night than day. During the day, you see people marching and interacting with others, dancing, and giving food and water to the peaceful protestors. At night, it’s more intense. At any moment you feel like anything could happen. People are wearing masks, and some are armed and plotting. It’s uncomfortable. Some people were yelling at us for having cameras out there. The people are feeling really discontent, because they aren’t getting answers.
Above images by Adrian Walker
From your perspective as a documentarian, how do you approach an incident or event like this with your camera?
Adrian: When I see something that catches my eye, I don’t hesitate to photograph it. My upbringing has made me aware, but never am I afraid. I want to get as close and personal as possible. I’m looking to present the truth within my photos, so it’s important for me to focus on the positivity being displayed. I’m looking to tell a story. That’s what it’s all about to me. If you can’t look at my photos and feel what I felt when I took the photo, then I haven’t accomplished what I’ve set out to do.
Marcus: Ferguson is 10 minutes from my house, so I came over expecting anything. I was very curious during the day, but at night you get a little cautious. I took my iPhone 5 and Instax with me, and I looked for things that caught my eye emotionally. I hope to capture truth. I just want people to see what’s really going on down here. The media wants to capture riots, but they miss the community actually coming together and young people talking about solutions on how to keep these type of incidents from happening.
Above images by Marcus Stabenow
This is an on-going story that has been much talked about. How do your images, and the images of others who are there, contribute to the dialogue?
Adrian: I want to show the unity of the people and how they are working together to bring change. I have the platform to document history as it’s happening. That’s a big deal to me. I hope people see the light in my images that I post. I want them to forever remember this and to tell their children. I’m capturing images that I’d want our youth to see in history books. People can’t always look to media outlets for positivity, so I want people to know that they can find that in my images. I want to present history in ways that people have not seen before.
These people aren’t just protesters. They are not looters; they are not animals. They are real life people desperate for a change and standing up for what they believe in. My hope is that people will see my photos and will be able to recall exactly what was happening at that moment. Regardless of their involvement, I hope my images make people feel as if they were here with us.
Marcus: I want my images to share hope and truth. A lot of my images show the community gathering during the day, with some people walking with Bibles and praying with others. I was shocked at how diverse the people were. This is not a race issue but rather an issue of police brutality. I can say that I was involved with law enforcement in Florida and have good friends that are officers still, and they know this is an ongoing issue within the force. Some images show people in masks and showing their support in a totally different way at night. I want people to know the difference between the riots and peaceful protestors. We need the riots to go away. We need the leaders to really step up and lead this protest, peacefully.
Self-taught urban photographer Faisal Al Fouzan has taken to documenting the people and places that society has brushed aside. Calling his style a mixture of “street photography, environmental portraiture, architecture, still life, urban decay and documentary photography,” Faisal’s main photographic focus centers on the marginalized people of Kuwait, where he is based. He explains, “I try to record the landscape of the migrant, low income laborer residing and working in Kuwait, documenting their living conditions and showcasing a mosaic of the different cultures, ethnicities, backgrounds, and countries of this social class. I take pictures of them while working, during their leisure time and gatherings, and at their humble accommodations.” He describes his motivation as simply, “I feel myself driven to follow and document their existence.”
Browse below for a selection of Faisal’s striking portrayals of urban life in Kuwait and beyond, all processed with VSCO Cam. For further insight into his documentation of the people of Kuwait, as well as other portraits of daily life, visit and follow his VSCO Grid.
In his urban explorations, Faisal looks for irony and beauty in unexpected places. “In trying to scout the unnoticed and explore the overlooked, I try to shed a light on either the aesthetic of the early modern years of Kuwait’s architecture, the banal, everyday scenes, or the human condition of the people who live and work in Kuwait. Overall, I try to gather an album of my city.”
His shots include many intimate portraits of people on the street. Faisal says the key to a successful photograph is to shoot people with confidence and love. Many of the people he meets readily welcome being photographed, yet other shots are taken candidly, without the subject’s knowledge. To Faisal, missing a photographic opportunity is worse than the rejection or difficulties he may face.
When shooting his urban encounters, Faisal explains that “VSCO Cam’s filters always add to my picture, and amplify the subject that I try to depict. As for the preset I regularly use, it depends on the mode and phase, but mainly F2 (my all-time favorite) and T1.”
Whether rickety metal, wood-planked, or carved into the side of a mountain, stairs lead us to a place we would otherwise be incapable of reaching. They help us bridge the distance in manageable pieces, leading us upward or downward, step by small step. They beckon us onward to our destination as our feet beat out a steady left-right rhythm.
In our excitement or haste, we may take stairs two at a time. In our training regimens, we methodically run up and down them, over and over. In the summertime, we lounge on the steps that lead to our front door, drink in hand, to enjoy the activity of the street. We may even try to avoid a staircase altogether, as they can be synonymous with unnecessary work and effort. One misstep and our ascent is slowed or our descent may involve an unexpected tumble. Sometimes we stand at the bottom and look skyward at the seemingly unending climb before us, and we hesitate to begin. In spite of our uncertainty, the first stair lays unmoving before us as a simple invitation to explore new heights, one step at a time.
Below are a selection of some of our favorite images of stairs, found using the Image Search function on VSCO Grid. Remember to tag your own photos with key words, enabling others to find your curated images when searching for content.
Image by John Hames
Image by Conrad Schmalfuss
Image by Sri Lanka