Facebook page features portraits, stories of ABQ residents

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ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – One Albuquerque man has started a Facebook page with a simple premise: he interviews and photographs the people he meets, then shares their stories online.

“I’m a fan of portraits, I like black and white portraits, and I love hearing stories. If anybody has a great story to share, I always have an ear to listen,” Billy Nguyen, a photographer who also co-owns a downtown hair salon, said.

“I spend a lot of my time at the salon and it’s just picking up phones, so I needed something to do with photography so I wouldn’t go crazy,” Nguyen said.

Inspired by “Humans of New York,” Nguyen started the Facebook page “People of Albuquerque” late last year so he can share the stories of people he meets. Some of those stories are quite personal.

“By minute seven is when all the juicy, personal stuff starts coming out, and that’s usually what makes a story,” Nguyen said.

Mario Hernandez-Gerety has known Nguyen since high school. He was the first person featured on “People of Albuquerque.”

“He took a picture of me and he made kind of a joke story, and it just kind of took off from there,” Hernandez-Gerety said. “I think it’s awesome and i think it’s a cool social tool, and i think it could really bring a lot of needed attention to issues facing people who walk the streets every day.”

Nguyen told KRQE News 13 he has no intention of taking the focus away from those people.

“I’m trying to stay away from the news, trying to stay away from sharing any controversial things, and it’s more just about the people of Albuquerque, so I want to stay true to their stories,” said Nguyen.

About 200 people have been featured on Nguyen’s page so far. In a few short months, nearly 4,000 people have liked “People of Albuquerque.”

“Humans of New York,” a photographic catalogue of New York City’s residents, was started in 2010. More than 12 million people follow it on Facebook, and the project has been turned into a New York Times bestseller.

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