Elisa Bronstein is the photographer behind Humans of Capitol Hill.
I have always had a desire to capture what I see on a day-to-day basis and share it with the public. I have done this with great mediocrity for the last 10 years through varying social media platforms. We each have a really important story to tell and so frequently those stories are confined only to the social circles we find ourselves in most naturally. When I ride the bus, travel to foreign lands, or just venture to the grocery, store I am consumed with wanting to know more about many of the people I see.
I moved from Boston, MA to Seattle, WA a month ago. I knew I was moving to an area that was starkly different than New England and that I would likely have surroundings worth documenting. About a week before I moved here I created a Facebook Page- Humans of Capitol Hill Seattle. I planned to post engaging photos of my new home there. When I launched the page I had no idea how this project would impact my life or the lives of those around me.
While I’ve always enjoyed talking to others, and yearned to hear everyone’s tale, I never knew how to do it without seeming odd. So I often didn’t do it at all unless the circumstances were just right. I soon realized that with a camera and a blog to post the pictures to, people are more open to talking. I can approach unique characters, ask for a photo, hear their story and share it with others.
With that, I’ve set out on the Hill, snapping photos of people and listening to what people have to say (even if it is just a microcosm of the whole). In turn, I’ve created a community celebrating Capitol Hill both on and off the world wide web. The fans on my page are enthusiastic, and engage with the photos and with one another there. And on the streets, many whom I’ve photographed now stop to say, “Hi” when we pass each other. This endeavor brought to light the fact that I am not alone in my desire to hear what strangers have to say and more important, that we all have a story worth sharing.
While I am just one person among many who has tail-spun off Brandon Stanton’s wildly popular page, Humans of New York, my experiences are unique to Seattle and the Hill. The people here are different, their stories profound and the imagery a mere glimpse into all the stories that grace the streets of the great Northwest. I hope you’ll join me on my pages and who knows, you might be next!
You can follow along here humansofcapitolhill.wordpress.com