Spare a thought?
January 21, 2005 1:34 PM   Subscribe

Simon Hoegsberg's latest project involved stopping passersby and asking what they were thinking at exactly that moment. These are their thoughts and portraits.
posted by freddles (16 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
His last project, Private and Public was discussed here back in 2002.
posted by freddles at 1:36 PM on January 21, 2005

Ooh. When people ask me the "what are you thinking question," I usually punch them.

I hope I run into him....
posted by mudpuppie at 1:55 PM on January 21, 2005

"I was thinking of punching somebody. I'm always thinking of punching somebody. Hey, as long as you're here..."
posted by iJames at 1:55 PM on January 21, 2005

Simultaneous postgasm! Clearly great minds think alike.

(Though what that has to do with mudpuppie and me, I'm not sure.)
posted by iJames at 1:56 PM on January 21, 2005

Weird. I didn't read that one. Maybe I have run into him and didn't realize it.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:57 PM on January 21, 2005

How come none of the twenty or so that I read said they were thinking about sex, death, or fear?

All these people are walking around ostensibly free to think about whatever they want to, and yet it seems like most of them are having these really hollow and contingent thoughts. They talk about what was on their walkman, or what their horoscope told them, or about what they are waiting for or worrying about. I hope this is because they are lying to the guy, because, if not, it seems very depressing.

That last one with the big eyed girl seems the saddest. She's walking around outside without any evident social, work-related, or familial limitations or obligations as to what she should be thinking and all she can think about is buying goddamn furniture.

Personally, I spend way to much of my time thinking about myself and buying crap and various other ridiculous things, and I would like to think that this is because I am shallow and vain, and that most other people are not like that. For that reason, this site, as interesting as its concept is, made me very depressed. I would like to think that more people are think about sex or literature or even about starting fires and committing crimes. Instead, the objects and minutiae of our daily existences control not only our base material circumstances, but intrude violently upon any semblance of an inner life that we might wish we had.
posted by mokujin at 2:35 PM on January 21, 2005

Just before I saw this thread I was thinking about India's historically poor showing at the Olympic games.
posted by bobo123 at 3:05 PM on January 21, 2005

I think Private and Public was a lot better--this seems a little half-baked, since, of course, what they tell him they're thinking about isn't necessarily what they were thinking about, and, even if it were what they were thinking about, it wouldn't be what they were thinking about in the portraits.

I'd really like to know what the private and public people are thinking.
posted by josh at 3:51 PM on January 21, 2005

I wanna know what kind of camera and lighting techniques he's using to take these awesome photos out in the street.
posted by designbot at 4:43 PM on January 21, 2005

This is fantastic and I love it. Thank you!
posted by selfmedicating at 5:16 PM on January 21, 2005

I wanna know what kind of camera and lighting techniques he's using to take these awesome photos out in the street.

Lighting technique: Fill the frame, add +.5 ev off the meter. 85mm 1.4, shot open. Focus on the eyes.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:25 PM on January 21, 2005

Oh, and shoot with the sun at their back, preferably when it's overcast.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:26 PM on January 21, 2005

Good call, C_D. I think he's filled, too, with a white card or something (see #29)
Read what the first guy (top left) says, and think MetaFilter instead of parking. Or anything, really. Good advice.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:47 PM on January 21, 2005

Seems awfully Ethan Hawke Before Sunset-ish. I really liked private & public.
posted by shoepal at 7:18 PM on January 21, 2005

It is a good project and fascinating. But I wish it were more focused. The Copenhagen / New York split threw me; perhaps it would've been better if they were two different projects representing two different mindsets.

Along these same lines, try Ellie Harrison who has documented everything she ate for a year, every step she took, a record of a year's worth of sneezes, etc.
posted by ubueditor at 7:41 PM on January 21, 2005

I think it's a good project too — every picture/person tells a story, and all that. (Although I agree with ubueditor that it should be more geographically focused.) It would be interesting to hear a) what percentage of the people he asked agreed to talk to him and b) how he decided which people to ask as the crowds wandered by.

While lying awake in the middle of the night (if I'm in bed by then) I've been thinking about a similar project: asking people what they think about when they're lying awake in the middle of the night.
posted by LeLiLo at 11:42 AM on January 22, 2005

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