Friday, May 30, 2014

The photo blog Humans of New York, which launched in 2010, consists of portraits of NYC residents, accompanied by short quotes and stories. It's a relatively popular site and has been spun off into a best-selling book, so maybe you already know about it.

The site recently featured the photo you see above. It was accompanied by a short, cryptic quote — "I was Defensive Player of the Year" — and prompted a lot of interesting comments from Humans of New York readers, who read all sorts of things into the man's life just based on that one image and the simple statement.

That was enough to intrigue Sports Illustrated writer Greg Bishop, who became fixated on the question of how the guy in the photo had transitioned from some sort of athletic glory to a construction job. Bishop had nothing to work with except the photo itself, so he began using every tool and technique he could think of to track down the man's identity.

The result turned out to be a very PermaRec-ish little project, which you can read about here — highly recommended.

(Big thanks to reader Jeff Ash for letting me know about this one.)

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