“One in 8 Million” is a multimedia photo and audio project that the New York Times created in 2009, introducing 54 incredible individuals with unique stories living in New York. The subjects talk about themselves as images of them and their lives play as a slideshow.
The use of audio along with the photos is what makes this piece so effective. A picture can tell a story on its own, especially an entire collection of pictures, but hearing the main subject of the photos tell their story brings it all to life. It makes it feel more personal, like you actually know this person. You really feel for them and appreciate their story on a completely different level, compared to if it was solely audio or visual elements.
One of the stories that always resonated with me is “The Bar Fighter”. Mr. Marmo used to get into a lot of trouble, until he bought a bike. He started to ride his bike and he stopped getting into trouble; simple as that. He started bike racing and it changed his life.
The first image in the story is very powerful. All of Mr. Marmo’s tattoos are visible as he crouches over his bicycle, showing his past and present all at once.
At the 1:20 mark in the story, there is a close up of him at work. I like this shot because it adds to his character. It allows the viewer to see what he does for work and the emotion on his face while he does it. The framing and focus of the picture is also very effective in drawing our attention right to Mr. Marmo.
My favorite image is 10 seconds from the end of the story. It is a picture of Mr. Marmo riding over the bridge but from a very unique angle, as if the camera is moving with him. The background is completely blurred, but he is in focus. He says when he goes over the 59th street bridge he feels like nothing can stop him, and you can almost feel that looking at this photograph.
The 54 people who are featured in this collection are people that I would want to meet. They’ve experienced heartbreak, passion, divorce, relationships, routines, obsessions, and happiness. This project makes you rethink the old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” by introducing you to 54 new people and bringing you below the surface to hear their stories. After hearing them, you may have a different opinion than when you first clicked on their title.
I chose “One in 8 Million” because I find it to be extremely moving and inspirational. There are 8 million people in New York and each and every one of them has their own story. That is a lot of stories and, to me, it is amazing to think about. Every person that walks through Times Square is complex and fascinating in a different way, all passing through for a different reason, and probably never stopping to learn about each other. This project brings that idea to life.