'Humans of Fort Smith' Puts Faces to City's Name

Your Whispers staff agreed not to disclose her identity, but she’s not a professional photographer. She likes to describe herself as an entrepreneur. We’ll call her “storyteller,” “ST” for short.

In homage to the Facebook page Humans of New York, on which “street photographer” Brandon Stanton tells some of the “8 million stories of the Naked City” (’50s TV flashback alert), our storyteller has created Humans of Fort Smith. And though there may not be 8 million stories in Fort Smith, there are plenty to make Humans of Fort Smith a great diversion.

ST is “more or less” a native Arkansan. As for what prompted her to start Humans of Fort Smith, we’ll let her explain:

“I was fascinated with Humans of New York. I’m fascinated with photography. And to be honest, I moved here reluctantly. And I’ve always talked about leaving Fort Smith and this is definitely just a very personal project I was doing. Now, life events have arranged themselves where in the very near future I could leave Fort Smith. And I didn’t want to leave this town without having loved it.”

Part of learning to love Fort Smith involved picking up a camera, observing people and going up to strangers to ask their stories.

“It’s a very random thing. I just encounter people. I always have my camera with me,” ST said. “I want to know the story. I want to know who these people are.”

Among her first stories was that of an elderly man visiting the grave of his wife in the National Cemetery in Fort Smith. It was raining, and ST had no coat, but she visited with the man and noted the words on the headstone: “The World’s Best Apple Pie Maker.” The man started crying and ST started crying and suddenly she had captured a Humans of Fort Smith moment.

“I truly believe that the people I take pictures of, they need their pictures taken as much as I need to take their picture.”

And that’s what our storyteller is doing, as her Facebook page notes: “Falling in love with our city, one human at a time.”