Capturing 1,000 Human Moments in 1 Week


One of the goals that I gave myself before coming down to live here in Mexico was to become a better photographer here. There’s an amazing amount of life, of things going on here in Mexico City. The thing is, it’s been almost three weeks now, and I’ve barely taken my camera out to go shooting street photography, portraits, anything. And there will always be excuses, you know, at first it was that I was looking for an apartment, and then it was I’m trying to build my routine here, and now it’s kind of become: “Oh, but I’m focused on creating videos”. But the truth is if I truly want to get good at this, I’ve got to put in the time, I got to put in the effort. So this week I’m giving myself the challenge of capturing 1,000 human moments. 1,000 photos basically, that have a human subject in them. So the requirements for this challenge, are the fact that I’ve got to feel good about each and every photo. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, but the photos can’t be just like quick iPhone snaps of whatever. All the photos need a human subject, because what I’m trying to capture is 1,000 human moments or human interactions. And the other rule is that I’m only giving myself one week to do this. Alright. Let’s do this thing. So I’ve decided to start here in Parque Mexico. Every time I run through this park I see so many different things going on. So I thought I would start chill. Let’s see how things go. I don’t think I’ve wrapped my mind around how many photos 1000 photos really is, and how much time and effort is going to take. So I’m starting chill and we’ll see how things go. This is not so much a video about photography, as it is a video about pursuing something and getting better at it. This is to push myself to create. If you want something in life, you’ve got to go get it. Nobody’s just going to give it to you. And starting, getting out there, is always the hardest part. It’s the barrier that separates the amateurs from the professionals. Alright. That was challenging. Everyday I went to a different part of the city. Usually in the late afternoon just as the light is getting soft. So I found a spot I really like, but I’m just waiting until the right moment with the right subject. I began to love photography when I started to let go of my obsession with the perfect shot. Sometimes the composition is just right and the still looks like a painting. But usually life is messy and chaotic. My search for perfect often prevented me from doing anything at all. So this week I decided to let that go, to shoot without expectations and let things turn out how they turn out. 1,000 is a powerful number. Out of a thousand photos, I might walk away with three that speak to me. 1000% represents a 10x or 10 times improvement. It takes thousands of hours to attain mastery in most things. In street photography there’s not a lot of time or space to think. If a beautiful composition reveals itself, or if I spot a moment that I want to capture I have to be snapping in that instant or it will be gone forever. I learned this the hard way. This exercise of not thinking but simply being and reacting is good for me. It’s a break from the rest of my life where I spend my time calculating my decisions. There’s a joy and a thrill in being spontaneous, on not planning things out. Okay, so today I am headed to Roma, Which is the part of the city where the most recent oscar-winning movie by Cuarón was filmed. I’m really excited about it. I think it’s a beautiful area, and I am excited to capture human moments there. But I’m kind of racing against time because it looks like the rain might be coming. So I’m trying to move quickly. Be able to catch some of these moments The week wore on and despite my doubts and all the other things going on in my life I kept showing up to do the work. The truth is there are no shortcuts in life. Nothing replaces patience and consistency. All right, so today is the final day of this challenge, if you will. I am in a new part of the city, Coyoacán. Or, Coyoacán, I guess is how the Mexicans would pronounce it. This is very cool It’s a very colorful area of the city, so I’m excited to explore and take some photos here. I’m struck by how frequently things do not go according to plan. It’s great to have a plan, to have a goal, but really what I think is most important is to just go for it, to try your very best at whatever it is you’re after. On my final day shooting, the sky darkened and drops began to hit the ground. I got lucky and found a little space protected from the rain next to a spot selling churros. Something about this spot suddenly made me invisible, as people would come within inches of me and not spot me or the camera. That was really cool. I stayed there for a while. In total, I took 1,091 photos. And with that, I accomplished what I set out to do. This was such a cool challenge. I’m so glad I pushed myself to do it. It was just amazing to discover the city in a new way. To force myself to go out. To force myself to practice photography. Just in so many different ways. And so if you’re interested in photography, or exploring your own city, and have a camera, definitely give this a shot. I could not recommend it more. For those of you that are interested to know what I use to shoot these photos, every single shot was captured with my Fujifilm X-E3. I have a 23mm f2 lens on there, which equates to 35mm on a full-frame camera. A popular focal length for street photography. I absolutely love this camera and I’ll leave an affiliate link to it down below. But this really isn’t about the gear, and you can go out and shoot some amazing photos with your phone nowadays. Isn’t that incredible? There are no excuses left not to go out and do it. I’ve created a bonus video to go along with this one where I talk a little bit more about the experience and share more of the photos that I took throughout this last week. So if you’re interested in that you can find that on my Patreon page. Yeah. I hope you enjoyed this video. If you’re interested in more content on the topics of mental clarity and productivity hit that subscribe button. Hit that Bell button for notifications. You can also follow me on Instagram. I do live streams every Sunday as a way to answer questions and connect, you know, more personally with with you guys. And that’s also going to be a place where I’ll be posting some of the photos that I took throughout this challenge. And finally, I have a newsletter that might be of interest to you where I share some of the resources that I come across when I research these videos stuff like that. Okay. Thanks for watching. I’ll see you soon.

100 Comments

  1. Curiosity Culture said:

    After watching your last few videos, You have me sold. Notifications are on my man.

    March 26, 2019
    Reply
  2. araich said:

    You're right: art in general doesn't need to be perfect. Sometimes you just have to be spontaneous and let yourself go to fully immerge in a context different from yours and to capture the very essence of life.

    April 22, 2019
    Reply
  3. Varrel said:

    If you're ever feeling like you have an excuse to not go out– you're lucky. I'm always occupied by schoolwork and never have the time to do this. Im failing a class right now and i dedicate 100% of my time to it. I wish I have free time.

    April 22, 2019
    Reply
  4. llZak said:

    glad I stumbled on this video, Its pretty easy to come up with an excuse to not go out and shoot, and I appreciate this challenge video because I do the same with why I haven't made a video in days or weeks.

    April 22, 2019
    Reply
  5. jonnysoles said:

    was it time consuming to edit the 1,000 photos?

    April 22, 2019
    Reply
  6. DaNiEl V said:

    I wish I would have found your channel earlier. Absolutely fantastic work!

    April 23, 2019
    Reply
  7. JustLeslieO said:

    I'm so happy I found your channel!! I'm such in a dark place in my life right now and your positive attitude and videos have really brightened it. Thank you!!!

    April 23, 2019
    Reply
  8. Swaraj Kanr said:

    I can see as you started you were far from the subjects but as you took more photos you were getting closer & closer. Or is it just me.

    Great video. Subscribed & joined notification squad.

    April 23, 2019
    Reply
  9. Nitza said:

    You make me miss Mexico 🇲🇽 ❤️❤️ I was born and raised in the U.S. but feel that I need to connect with my parents motherland

    April 23, 2019
    Reply
  10. The Unrecorded Passenger said:

    hugely inspiring. it's amazing how much we can ground ourselves and how much we can create if we just take the patience and effort to observe the life and people around us. Thanks for sharing!

    April 24, 2019
    Reply
  11. Rosalie978 said:

    It is amazing – all i ever know or had heard about mexico city is, that it is dangerous to live there – but it looks soooo beautiful – i am deep impressed and should work on my prejudices

    April 24, 2019
    Reply
  12. ZB said:

    It really was a pleasure watching your video man. I see your eye improved and you seemed more lively as the challenge went on. Much love my brother and keep up the good content 🙏🏾

    April 25, 2019
    Reply
  13. lise leversen said:

    I love your videos! interesting ideas, straight to the point, and overall well made. your channel is going to be huuge

    April 25, 2019
    Reply
  14. Aubrey said:

    I just found your channel and you're honestly one of the coolest people I've seen on this platform. How inspiring my dude for real from one practicing photographer to another I have mad respect for you and this channel. AND THIS CHALLENGE I totally understand this I just went to Italy with a similar goal and you are right about that handful of awesome photos that speak out of 1000+

    April 25, 2019
    Reply
  15. Bastian Martinez said:

    Man 426 is goooold

    April 25, 2019
    Reply
  16. Fidel Gonzales said:

    It feels like your living in the different perspective of life

    April 26, 2019
    Reply
  17. Siv Greyson said:

    For once, YouTube recommended something actually good! Wow!

    April 26, 2019
    Reply
  18. Alex C said:

    Hes like the more skinny and more philisophical version of eddy burback

    April 26, 2019
    Reply
  19. Willem Verbeeck said:

    I really appreciate how people making videos about progression are so well received on youtube. I this its much easier for an audience to sympathize with than something that is already incredibly established.

    April 26, 2019
    Reply
  20. Sandra Bianconeri said:

    This video was a big inspiration for me. Wish there were more people on the streets here in Sweden, but I will challenge myself and try to capture what is there!

    April 27, 2019
    Reply
  21. 1 9 said:

    "Nothing replaces patience and constitency" Thank you for saying that out loud.

    April 27, 2019
    Reply
  22. Quebrão Souza said:

    puta que pariu que vídeo delicioso!

    April 28, 2019
    Reply
  23. Chandana YJ said:

    Just found your channel today, because of your 30 day vegan video. I’m hooked, and can’t stop watching your videos! Subbed 🙌🏼

    April 28, 2019
    Reply
  24. Alexander Pöplow said:

    I like the message of the video

    April 28, 2019
    Reply
  25. Welber Trindade said:

    Are you having some of those photos availiable? I'm an Urban Sketcher And I think human subjects give some life to Urban photography and sketches. I would love to see some of the photos you took. Thank you for the content. Love your work.

    April 28, 2019
    Reply
  26. vicky victoria said:

    Me inspiro

    April 29, 2019
    Reply
  27. NFJ_digital said:

    Nice video idea man.

    April 29, 2019
    Reply
  28. GGGel said:

    I loved this so much

    April 30, 2019
    Reply
  29. google sucks said:

    very interesting photos and advice; particularly the part about life not usually working out according to original plans, much less all subsequent backup plans!

    May 1, 2019
    Reply
  30. Simeon in 't Veld said:

    art, great video work and mental clarity, inspiring content in every way! I would love to create similar content. massive sub!

    May 1, 2019
    Reply
  31. Thyra Misuu said:

    I've been trying to find a way out of my perfectionism lately, and now you're leading by example, so inspiring! Absolutely love your content Nathaniel, keep on going! 🙂

    May 1, 2019
    Reply
  32. Bobby Jett said:

    This was incredibly inspirational. I like nothing more than to walk the streets and shoot people in their everyday environments. My go to spot is India, where I try and go at least once a year. THANK YOU for shooting this video and sharing it with all of us. You are an incredibly interesting human being.

    May 2, 2019
    Reply
  33. Emily Lincoln said:

    I think what I appreciate more than anything is how honest you are with yourself and how willing you are to change.

    May 2, 2019
    Reply
  34. Moritz Kaa said:

    U kinda cool man

    May 2, 2019
    Reply
  35. Rishi Kesav said:

    One of the best channels I have ever been to on you-tube… great content and great videography…..

    May 4, 2019
    Reply
  36. CJ Explores said:

    Good effort dude! Cool project to, I agree! We need to challenge ourselves! ✌

    May 5, 2019
    Reply
  37. Eva Ch said:

    Awww you’re just talking to my heart here ❤️😵 I’m just about to improve in something well I am improving but there is next step to be doing and can’t make that step….and now I saw this…if I want to get better I need to make an effort it doesn’t have to be perfect but I need to make an effort ❤️☺️ thanks…I’m thinking starting challenging myself about staff too…about those resonating with me and actually which I love 💕 thanks for inspiration 😊❤️❤️❤️

    Editing grammar ☺️🤷‍♀️

    May 5, 2019
    Reply
  38. Dyer said:

    Cool

    May 6, 2019
    Reply
  39. Jacek Michaluk said:

    Completely Amazed at your effort :p

    May 6, 2019
    Reply
  40. Quick Ben said:

    Great challenge! Do you see a difference between the pictures you took in the beginning and the end of the week? What are your biggest learnings… style wise? Keep up the great work.

    May 9, 2019
    Reply
  41. Sergio Gonzalez said:

    Increíble. I can´t believe how often I look for the right frame when I´m taking photos. And you just make me realize how much life there is in my OWN city, thank you so much. Muchas gracias <3 🇲🇽

    May 10, 2019
    Reply
  42. HiJean said:

    I need to do this project!

    May 11, 2019
    Reply
  43. Luna Marshay Jezzard said:

    Please remember to check local laws, it affects Street Photography. When taking pictures of human beings, they can be protected by laws of Honor and Personal Image (at least in Spain they are). Great video!

    May 11, 2019
    Reply
  44. Anmol Gupta said:

    This is probably the best video I have seen on your channel. So beautifully made and authentic. Please do more like this!

    May 12, 2019
    Reply
  45. Elisa Drudi said:

    Hi Nathaniel, i loved your video! But i have a question for you. Did you interact with all these people or just take them photos? Could be very interesting… Maybe for your next video…

    May 14, 2019
    Reply
  46. Alejandra Chandler said:

    I love your videos!! They are so refreshing and calming lol

    May 14, 2019
    Reply
  47. Emer Miedema said:

    love your video's , don't be so hard on yourself!!

    May 15, 2019
    Reply
  48. Merlin X. Parache said:

    Nice video.

    May 16, 2019
    Reply
  49. potorig 100 said:

    100% inspiring

    May 17, 2019
    Reply
  50. Dima Lakhno said:

    Try shooting b&w film

    May 17, 2019
    Reply
  51. Elizabeth Liddell said:

    love this video!! So glad i watched it today! basically.. just do something!!

    May 17, 2019
    Reply
  52. Sonna said:

    What a beautiful concept. Thankful for people like you 🌟

    May 17, 2019
    Reply
  53. Maia Kipping said:

    I love photo 263

    May 19, 2019
    Reply
  54. Luan Stin said:

    Read it "Capturing 1000 Human Alive in a Week" for some reason…

    May 22, 2019
    Reply
  55. J. M. Jr. said:

    Do you ever edit video on a laptop? If so, which one?

    May 22, 2019
    Reply
  56. James Lauborja said:

    this is my most favorite video of yours.

    May 23, 2019
    Reply
  57. Matthew Hyatt said:

    I love your channel, man. I'm working on a "sun faces" series of shots…those weird, awkward, sometimes ugly faces people make when the sun is in their eyes. I'd love to visit to Mexico City one day and shoot with you.

    May 23, 2019
    Reply
  58. Ludwig P. Bäßler said:

    cool challenge and you got so many awesome shots 👌

    May 25, 2019
    Reply
  59. Maker_Tim said:

    Whenever I watch a video of you I feel better.
    It inspires me.
    Thank you.

    May 25, 2019
    Reply
  60. Shemene Kok said:

    I wish i could follow your advice on going out there to get what i want

    May 26, 2019
    Reply
  61. achaja said:

    I subscribed a bit ago and do not regret it at all! Keep up the good work and keep challenging yourself – you tell your stories and share your wisdom in them so well. Love watching! Waiting for more (:

    June 1, 2019
    Reply
  62. Verena v said:

    i love you, your videos, your channel, your character and your pictures. Nice and inspiring content! Keep it up cutie <3

    June 3, 2019
    Reply
  63. Konstantinos Palaiopanos said:

    Is it legal to show other people's faces without their consent? Or because it is a public place there is no problem?

    June 5, 2019
    Reply
  64. serena choe said:

    I found you from your 'Matt d'avella' video. your video also has great beauty inside in a different way. 🙂

    June 12, 2019
    Reply
  65. Teida Vera Heerdegen said:

    Notifications ON! I wonder if you could talk a little bit more about your experience living in Mexico City? 🙂

    June 20, 2019
    Reply
  66. Kevin Start said:

    I'm on a photography break and it's been around 2 months or so. I just feel so uninspired to take pictures but AFTER WATCHING THIS? I REALLY JUST WANNA GO OUT A SHOOT LIKE HELL YA

    June 24, 2019
    Reply
  67. Jitka Drahotská said:

    I am absolutely amazed by this idea! Personally, I've always been so shy to shoot around other people – not even mentioning taking photos of them! This little challenge you did really inspired me to actually do something with this fear. Love your videos! xxx

    June 26, 2019
    Reply
  68. Max Van der Stricht said:

    Been thinking about starting photography for a couple of weeks now. But this is it, your video made the itch of desire into a strong need to do it, im just goin to head out there and get snapping!

    July 3, 2019
    Reply
  69. Phoemela Ballaran said:

    Watching your videos inspire me to become a better person

    July 8, 2019
    Reply
  70. Arina Shórokhova said:

    Me he fijado que usas un ratón bastante peculiar. ¿Es realmente cómodo? Soy diseñadora gráfica. He visto este tipo de raton en una tienda, pero no me atreví a comprarlo.

    July 11, 2019
    Reply
  71. edgar escoto sanchez said:

    your channel is awesome

    July 23, 2019
    Reply
  72. Lizbeth De La Cruz Santana said:

    You came up on my YouTube suggestion and I am glad I clicked! Just subscribed &hit the notifications bell. Keep the great content coming:)

    July 27, 2019
    Reply
  73. the dark lord said:

    I would love to take more photos but I’m always out off by what people might think, whether they would think of me as rude or inappropriate for taking their photos. Have you felt like this while taking the photos? If yes, how did you overcome it and continue capturing the 1000 photos? This is a really beautiful idea and thank you for making it.

    July 29, 2019
    Reply
  74. Nel Downey said:

    This is a really beautiful video

    July 29, 2019
    Reply
  75. Jordan B said:

    How do you stay persistent when you're tired or your energy is low? And how do you do it if your energy is consistently low multiple days a week?

    July 31, 2019
    Reply
  76. Janina said:

    I love this video. It's the one that made me want to be subscribe. Hope to see more videos about photography!

    July 31, 2019
    Reply
  77. Fritzie Gassan said:

    I crave to meet someone like him one day.

    August 3, 2019
    Reply
  78. Ellen Lopez said:

    You have an incredibly intriguing perspective. Can’t wait to see more.

    August 4, 2019
    Reply
  79. Jay Samuel Wright said:

    Dude you're onto a winner with your content, really enjoy watching your journey!

    August 6, 2019
    Reply
  80. Emoticon said:

    Second video I've watched by you. I'm subscribing!

    August 13, 2019
    Reply
  81. Angelina Castro said:

    This is great I'm going to do this in Chicago and Milwaukee

    August 13, 2019
    Reply
  82. Uly & Ernesto said:

    Why did my eyes start water half way through… just magic.

    August 16, 2019
    Reply
  83. Max Taylor said:

    tomar mas fotos de la comida guero

    August 26, 2019
    Reply
  84. Goat Koala Г.С said:

    So cool! I Love that you did this in my country!
    I really like photography, I don’t have a cool camera, just my cellphone but one day I’ll buy a camera

    August 28, 2019
    Reply
  85. Max Gomez said:

    New to photography & I’m going to give this a shot to become more comfortable thank you!!

    August 29, 2019
    Reply
  86. Baylee dm said:

    Honestly such beautiful photos you have created!! 💙

    September 2, 2019
    Reply
  87. Hailex said:

    I’m happy you utilized the rain and natural seclusion, human moments don’t only happen when it’s sunny and fair weather outside 🙂 Great photos sir.

    September 2, 2019
    Reply
  88. Rncrr D said:

    Hi. As I wrote in an earlier comment on another video, I'm interested in creative writing. You can do a similar project with the art of writing, too (of course :D). The observational journal! In one good creative manual I have, the author says to write down details of your surroundings to add to your stories. He says to capture human moments (like you have done) plus pieces of the environment, just little things, but they need to be precise, and you use them to create a more realistic setting in your stories. I do often combine this with mindfulness: if I'm out, I prefer to watch without thinking, then maybe start narrating only what I'm seeing (using only brief descriptions), so as to fix the image in my mind. Later, when at home, I try to visualise what I saw, narrate again to myself that image, and write down that narration. It doesn't come natural to me to try and write anything down whilst the subject is right in front of my face. I prefer to concentrate completely on seeing it, and fixing it in my mind with words, without any distraction of the pen. Seeing that this is the first time I'm in Milan, and I've been here for about five months, I should be capturing more moments, too! I've been using all the same excuses: apartment searching etc.

    September 3, 2019
    Reply
  89. Sky Harmer said:

    Thanks so much for this video. It has been a really long and stressful day for me today, and I decided to watch one of your videos instead of my math homework… Hehe. (it's fine, i'm doing it in the morning), but I just was brought so much peace after this. Like my mind at ease. Thank you so much. I LOVE your work and am inspired by it and you. Thank you for posting your stories!! Keep it real!!

    September 10, 2019
    Reply
  90. Gabriela es un show said:

    Me encanto este challenge!!

    September 10, 2019
    Reply
  91. Claire F said:

    Hey, this video really spoke to me. It is a super interesting idea, and as I'm not a photographer myself, could be a great learning experience. As I was watching it, I started brainstorming ideas on where I could go. I just absolutely love the idea, and though it's a little out of my comfort zone, i think in might try it!

    October 6, 2019
    Reply
  92. Vero H. said:

    I like how you see the world.

    October 12, 2019
    Reply
  93. ezequiel robles said:

    Subtitules in spanish please 🙏🏼

    October 14, 2019
    Reply
  94. Curious Guy said:

    Which two camera gear he use for vlogging and this cinematic shots of video ???? Anyone help me out ??? I'm dying to know ?

    October 17, 2019
    Reply
  95. beefcake said:

    The fact that he went over the 1000 photos. He didn’t just stop when he reached his goal but kept on going because he was having fun with it. That’s powerful.

    October 19, 2019
    Reply
  96. Alexander Loves Women said:

    Is there a place where you post all the photos?

    October 25, 2019
    Reply
  97. Alexander Loves Women said:

    Beautiful video. I hope you're gaining motization to purse your passion.

    October 25, 2019
    Reply
  98. Alexander Loves Women said:

    DANG it. I need to do patreon to see the bonus material. Guess I"ll have to suck it up and pay. Still, is there a place where all 1000 photos can be viewed? Are the photos in this video the ones considered to be the best?

    October 25, 2019
    Reply
  99. Atishay Jain said:

    one of the best videos bro from your channel, make more like this.

    November 4, 2019
    Reply
  100. Brutal Games said:

    Hey Nathaniel,

    Thank you very much for your content. It is somehow moving. You are accomplishing you challenges, but telling a story at the same time.

    One question: How do you take photographs of strangers without asking? Do you ask after it? I would never dare :/ I would love to overcome it. There are so many interesting and beautiful moments out there..

    November 8, 2019
    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *