Peter Varga’s Humans of Dublin Facebook page continues to attract followers, now exceeding 30,000. A recently posted interview on Dún Laoghaire Pier with elderly widower Bill Doran, on life after the death of his wife, attracted over 19,000 likes alone and over 1,000 shares.
“In the back garden we used to grow tomato plants, but she died about 18 months ago so I stopped growing them. She was a month younger than me, and I was surprised that she passed away before me, so I was just waiting for my turn. A few months later my neighbors arrived with a box of tomato plants, about 12 little sprouts, and he said they’re not giving up on me. I was looking down at these little sprouts and thinking how the hell I’m going to plant them if I can’t even bend down anymore. Anyway, I thought I’d give it a try. I spend half the day in the glasshouse planting them. They’re about 16 inches high now, and the tomatoes are beautiful on them. I started to grow these new ones as well, what do you call them? Cherry tomatoes . . .
“To be honest with you, I didn’t think I’d see Dún Laoghaire harbour again, but my son and his wife forced me out here. They went for a walk, but they bought me a tea and an ice cream, and now that I’m here, I feel happy.”
The page, which follows the formula created by Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, typically posts a portrait of somebody encountered on the street, alongside words from them about some aspect of their life. The interviewees are normally unnamed and are represented only by their own words.
The page was created in August last year by photography student Peter Varga, who noticed the original page had become somewhat erratic. The Hungarian decided to start his own version last August and he continues to promote the page entusiasticly and grow his following.
Varga (27) takes all the photographs himself, posting almost daily. While the portraits do not pretend to be high art, taken alongside the quotations they present a fascinating slice of daily life. His page can be found at facebook.com/thehumansofdublin.