Lifestyle

Documenting the faces of Temple

Kaniz Pramanik created a Facebook page-style blog called “Humans of Temple University.”

Spin-off blogs based on Brandon Stanton’s “Humans of New York” have become a trend among some amateur photographers, including junior biology major Kaniz Pramanik. 

Pramanik created “Humans of Temple University,” which she said tells a variety of stories through pictures and short interviews as a way to showcase how diverse her peers are. Her efforts started out as way to showcase some of her own work. Pramanik began taking pictures for Humans of Temple University in January of this year, but posted the photos later in February because of what she called her hectic schedule.

“Just within two weeks, I think I had around 200 followers,” Pramanik said. “I was like, ‘Wow, that’s amazing.’”

Pramanik said she has been interested in photography since high school when she took a black and white photography class. She said she loved being able to develop pictures in the school’s darkroom and manually manipulate the photos.

Not being able to afford the equipment to have her own darkroom, Pramanik decided she would explore the digital realm of photography. She bought a camera and began taking pictures, posting them to her Flickr page.

“I started taking pictures of people that I knew,” Pramanik said. “I’m trying to spread it out and pick random people. Just picking people that really interest me. I’m trying to get everybody in.”

Pramanik said there are many people around the university that interest her when she’s wandering around Main Campus with her camera, even a person who’s quiet and studying. She said her policy is to politely explain her purpose and ask permission to take their picture. She follows this with a series of short questions centered around the subject’s major, reason for attending Temple and any advice they have for fellow students.

So far, people have been receptive to the idea, Pramanik said, adding that no one on Main Campus has turned down her request to photograph them.

“I’m just trying to get out that you’re not alone,” Pramanik said. “There’s this one guy who’s from Washington D.C., who’s featured on the page and his life is hard, being far from home and being in school. A lot of people connect to that.”

Pramanik said she was initially hesitant to start a page based solely on portrait-style photos because she wasn’t sure it would be unique enough for students to recognize and appreciate it. She credited a close friend with giving her a push to start the growing project, despite other aspirations.

“My main goal was to be a doctor and that’s still going on,” Pramanik said. “I’m trying to get into medical school and stuff. Photography is my hobby, not precisely a career.”

With her page at almost 350 likes, Pramanik said she finds the most challenging thing about running Humans of Temple University to be time management.

“I work two jobs and I go to school,” Pramanik said. “For a while, I had free time so I would go around and take some photos, but now it’s getting so hectic because finals are coming up. It’s just the time. I feel like that’s the challenge.”

Pramanik said she also hopes to find someone to keep the page updated and running when she graduates from Temple. When the time comes, she said, she’ll look for potential candidates who would be interested in maintaining the existing page.

“I mean, it’s awesome just to look at the page and be like, ‘Wow, this is Temple, we’re so [diverse],’” Pramanik said. “We have a range of different [ethnic groups] and cultures. I hope to pass it on to someone who is as passionate as me and wants to get their photography out.”

Dominique Johnson can be reached dominique.johnson@temple.edu. 

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