Clad in boots and jean jackets, a woman and child sit on a pastoral wrought iron and wood bench at a park at Manderson Landing in Tuscaloosa.
“I’m getting married in a few minutes,” the woman said.
This is just one of the responses of Annelise Moreau’s interviewees. Since February 2014, Moreau has ventured all around Tuscaloosa, photographing and interviewing many random individuals including the bride-to-be.
Moreau intends to create her own version of Humans of New York (HONY). Started in the summer of 2010 by Brandon Stanton, Humans of New York is a photo-blog as well as a New York Times bestselling book featuring hundreds of street portraits and interviews taken throughout New York City. In a matter of four years, Humans of New York has developed a large following on social media and now boasts over eight millions followers, transforming it into a global sensation.
“I saw what Brandon Stanton was doing with Humans of New York,” Moreau said. “I want to try to dig into people’s lives and find that common reference we have and show how we’re not just a carbon copy in our oversized t-shirts and Nike shorts.”
As a University of Alabama junior majoring in Telecommunications and Film, Moreau actively pursues her passion for documentaries in Tuscaloosa through her project, Lives of Tuscaloosa, or LOTus for short. Similar to Brandon Stanton’s popular photo-blog, LOTus captures the stories of the people all over town and exposes personalities that go beyond what the eye sees.
After initially launching and running LOTus last February on Facebook herself, Moreau welcomes the assistance of Creative Campus, an application-based arts advocacy group led by a team of around forty student interns including herself. A handful of these interns, including Honors College student Sarah Johns, take at least an hour each week going out around Tuscaloosa to interview people.
“I was first introduced to LOTus when Annelise pitched it to Creative Campus at our intern -orientation meeting at the beginning of this semester,” Johns said. “I’ve been a longtime fan of HONY and actually pitched an idea similar to LOTus at my Creative Campus interview, so it only made sense to join the LOTus team once the opportunity presented itself.”
This school year’s launch of LOTus is set for October. According to Moreau, the tentative plan is to release three to four interviews with corresponding photos a week. With this school year, Moreau hopes to continue LOTus’ primary mission of “want(ing) people to start paying more attention to the deeper qualities of every stranger around them and think before they draw conclusions.”