Who Do They Think They Are?

And who are they, really?

Photo: Ruvan Wijesooriya
Photo: Ruvan Wijesooriya

Every day, we put out into the world a version of how we want to be seen — and, of course, we’re always misunderstood. Each week in our “Judgments” photo project, we’re asking strangers on the streets of New York City to size each other up.

Joanna (above)

“She’s standing with a Louis Vuitton bag there, she’s got money. A little bit European, into fashion, an artist type. Beautiful, smart, intellectual. The red hat — she really knows fashion.” —Joe, 39

She’s an art student. Happy and outgoing. Very smart, a little shy too. You can see this little forced smile. She’s a little out of her element.” —Ivy, 34

“She looks like a student, maybe foreign, from Europe. She looks very bubbly and fun. She’s probably got a significant other.” —Liz, 47

“I think she probably works for a newspaper, like Time Out. She looks like she likes to go to the library, probably because of the glasses.” —Joyce, 27

High-school student, 16. “I’m in the choral conservatory at Nashville School of the Arts in Tennessee. I play guitar and write songs. When this photo was taken I did not have a significant other. I do now. I’m from America so I’m not European, but I’ll take that as a compliment! I do actually really like to go to the library. I was just looking for a position as a librarian, for my summer job.

“I’m big on empathy and want to be a therapist or something — a music therapist would be great, so I can incorporate everything I love to do.
My friends tell me that I dress like a different person every single day.”

Jessica Boddy, Emma Grillo, and Sarah Nechamkin contributed reporting. On set production by Jean Jarvis.

Who Do They Think They Are?