Inspired by the beloved Humans of New York photo blog, Mike started the Humans of Salt Lake City Facebook page, where he's been presenting stories and photos of Salt Lakers for more than a year. Inspiring, heartfelt, humorous and tragic, Humans of Salt Lake City gives fans a window into the lives of Salt Lakers. Check out his photos at Facebook.com/SaltLakeCityHumans and HumansOfSaltLakeCity.Blogspot.com.
Why did you start Humans of Salt Lake City?
MSNBC featured Humans of New York a few years ago. I looked around here and noticed there wasn't a Humans of Salt Lake City, so I decided to start the Facebook page. It started slowly, and I quit during the winter months. Then in the spring of 2014, someone messaged me and asked when I was going to start back up again. My followers really got me back into it. I think I've started something I can't stop, which is pretty cool.
Does Salt Lake City have enough to offer for a photo blog like this?
I have photographed doctors, lawyers, teachers, musicians, homeless people, spiritual people ... and what I'm noticing is that there is majesty in every soul I come across. And I don't mean that in a religious sense. I can't walk through the city anymore and not look at people. I'm finding that there are people who are living on the very edge of their lives, but they all have hope. They are all going forward in one way or another. I'm capturing the proof that no one is standing still.
Where do you usually go for these stories?
I'm all over the place. I go to the Gallivan Center, Sugar House, Washington Park, the library, pretty much everywhere. I have gone to the U and the SLCC campus in Taylorsville and they were both instrumental in getting this going. I would like to visit other universities in Utah, but want to keep them as special events. It has also been suggested to me that I go to a veterans hospital for some stories, so I might do that soon.
Are you going to expand beyond Facebook, more like Humans of New York?
I have the domain name for Humans of Salt Lake City, but I haven't done anything with it. I'm holding on to it with the intent to do something with it, but right now I'm using a Blogspot page, which is more or less the stories behind the stories. I like to give a little more detail on the blog than I do on the Facebook page.
Do you have any events or special projects coming up?
When I realized what kind of following I'm building, I thought, "Maybe it's time to put the voice this page has now to some good use." The leader of the Humans of the U page and I had been talking about doing a fundraiser and I think there are so many worthy organizations out there that can benefit from this Humans to the Rescue fundraiser.
We will have a diverse panel of honest people to narrow down the candidates and then have our followers vote on which organization should receive the donations. The idea is that we will have people voting and donating at the same time, since we only have nine weeks until Christmas. They will be able to vote for the organizations by liking a photo of the organization in a photo album on Facebook, and the photo with the most likes will be the winner. We will announce the winner and present the check on Dec. 22.