20-year-old photographer snaps stunning shots of strangers in Times Square

A 20-year-old street photographer is capturing the magic of ordinary New Yorkers on TikTok.

While projects like Humans of New York take a no-frills approach to tell New Yorkers’ personal stories, Puerto Rican photographer Edwar Amean manages to bring out the vibrant spirit of his subjects. 

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Amean doesn’t provide many personal details about the people he photographs. Instead, his TikTok shows the moment he approaches the person on the street, then cuts to the punchy photo he took.

“I really liked to take pictures since I was young,” Amean told In The Know. “So I decided to go to the street and ask people if I can take their pictures. Everyone was nice and said yes. I’ve been doing it since I was 14 years old.” 

He usually goes to 46th Street and Broadway in Times Square, the city’s bustling epicenter of tourism and local attractions. 

In one video he approached two unassuming women wearing face masks, dressed in all black and holding H&M bags. One of the women, Claudia Cornejo, took off her coat and mask to strike a pose. When Amean revealed her photo, she looked like a professional model. The red tones in her hair jumped out, the light reflected perfectly off her leather pants and her expression was nothing short of fierce.

“I’m dying. I’m crying. Thank you so much. I’m the luckiest one,” Cornejo said in a comment. 

For another photo, Amean snapped a photo of a teal-haired man and made the color pop. It earned him 6.5 million TikTok views. Meanwhile, the photo of a man standing over a smokey manhole in a long brown coat earned 2 million

In most of Amean’s videos, his subjects have pretty emotional reactions to seeing themselves through his eyes. He even told In The Know he believes one of his photos may have helped a couple heal some old wounds.

“I asked a couple to take their picture,” Amean said. “But they were about to divorce and were so mad. But I was like, let me take your picture and I just made them so happy that day. From that day they promised each other, with the picture I took, that they will never make each other mad again.” 

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