Humans of OU: Photography class assignment expands into larger project


By Kailee Mathias

With a campus full of faces it’s hard to remember everyone seen. Humans of OU is a new project that will feature photographs of the many faces of Oakland.

Adina Schneeweis, assistant professor of journalism, was inspired by Humans of New York (HONY), which featured the ordinary faces of people not seen in magazines every day. What started as a class assignment sparked an idea.

“Let’s show what Oakland looks like,” Schneeweis said. “There’s so many students and staff that don’t get shown.”

Aside from New York there is also a Humans of Ann Arbor and Humans of Detroit.

“It’s becoming a national bandwagon,” Schneeweis said.

Who is in HOOU?

The group consists of members who all share a passion for photography. One of the members, Monica Nowak, had never touched a DSLR camera before her experience in Digital Photojournalism.

“I learned a lot in the class,” Nowak said. “Even now when I am taking photos of my family or friends, I think about how to take the photo from a different angle, check the lighting, following the rule of thirds, all of it.”

The initial class assignment really intrigued Nowak. One of the requirements was to ask the person photographed three to four questions and create a cutline.

“I really enjoyed it and thought; yeah I could definitely do this,” Nowak said.

Anyone who is interested in photography can join. The hope is that this will become a student-led club.

“Students would be able to see OU from a unique perspective,” Nowak said. “It’s something OU has never done so I think it will be beneficial and may attract other students to get involved as well.”

Future plans

At this point a cutline goes along with the photo, but eventually they are hoping to add small stories to go along with the picture posted.

The group can be found Facebook at HumansofOU and on WordPress at

“The day this site was released it got so many followers and likes it already has so much attention,” Schneeweis said. “More than I expected. That’s already an achieved goal in itself.”

Anyone interested in joining may contact [email protected].