Let’s do something completely different this week. How about a photo-essay?
When I began my study of decision-making, I assumed that the coldly rational, quantitatively financial-economic approach was the best. How else can you avoid making the systematic errors that our cognitive biases can cause? I’ve since learned that emotion, intuition, empathy and even unconscious thought are crucial to effective and ethical decision-making.
To better understand how emotions intertwine with decision-making and get to know my neighbors, I interviewed and photographed people selling their things at the West 104th Street Block Association 2016 Yard Sale. This annual event brings folks from eight neighborhood buildings together to sell their old toys, kitchen-wares, clothing and bric-a-brac.
I asked them one question: “Which item do you kind of hope won’t sell?”
The answers I got were profound and moving, humorous and sarcastic, mundane and bland. Many had a deep and emotional connection with the things they were selling. And yet, they decided to put a (often ridiculously low) price tag on them and offer them to any passerby.
I then had them pose with the item so I could make their portrait. I hope you enjoy “Selling my Darlings“.