Behind The Lens of Humans of GNS

By Michelle Yang
“Do you mind if I take your picture?”
Don’t panic. This isn’t your personal stalker, nor is it a scout initiating your life of fame, though you may be nearly famous if you say yes.
Meet Esther Cho: junior mastermind behind the Facebook page Humans of GNS.
Humans of GNS was born January 22, 2014, inspired and modeled after the similar Facebook page Humans of New York, created by Brandon Stanton. This page illustrates the many different and diverse faces of New York City, and many other cities — and schools — have followed in Stanton’s footsteps. Cho has even created a Tumblr blog,, to accompany the Facebook page.
“I wanted to show how great people at our school are,” Cho said.
There was also a personal goal. “I wanted to get out of my comfort zone a little more. I’m sort of an introverted person, so I wanted to interact with people more and talk to them,” Cho said. “It’s helped a little, but it’s still a work in progress.”
She started off by taking pictures of students she sort of knew. “I’ve tried to start with some people I don’t normally talk to, but I know of them and I’ve said ‘hi’ before,” Cho said. She aims to branch out and further increase the diversity of the page in order to fully represent students and possibly even teachers.
Normally, she finds people in the hall and asks, ‘Do you mind if I take your picture?’ “They usually say yes, but I have gotten some no’s,” Cho said.
She takes the picture allowing people to pose however they want. With this given freedom, Cho has been able to capture displays of school spirit, a “recreation” of a scene from the Titanic, as well as science teacher Dr. James Truglio’s “Andy Shu” impression, the most liked picture so far on the Facebook page.
After taking the picture, she asks a question or has a conversation for a quote to put as the caption of the photograph. If there is nothing that can adequately capture the photograph, she leaves a short description.
Initially, Cho had tried to post a picture every school day, but as she got busier, she started to post every other day or every two to three days. However, she has said that it “wouldn’t be too much trouble continuing to work on it on my own.”
So for now, Cho is still a one-woman force.
“[But] since I’m a junior, when I graduate, I’m thinking somebody could continue where I left off,” she said. “But I’m not sure.”
At the moment, Humans of GNS has posted 22 pictures, with 375 people liking the page.