South Coast ‘Humans’ become Facebook famous

Megan Luhrs is the ‘human’ behind the ‘Humans of the Sapphire Coast’ Facebook page, based on the globally popular ‘Humans of New York’ Facebook page.

Megan Luhrs is the ‘human’ behind the ‘Humans of the Sapphire Coast’ Facebook page, based on the globally popular ‘Humans of New York’ Facebook page.

THINK you know the story of that guy you see down the road every day?

What about the lady who works behind the counter of your favourite local shop?

There might just be more to them than meets the eye.

That’s the message being sent by a new Facebook page that aims to give Sapphire Coast locals an insight into the minds of our fellow residents, shattering any preconceptions we may have based on looks.

Inspired by the globally popular Humans of New York Facebook page, which has grown to an astounding 6.6million "Likes", Pambula resident Megan Luhrs created Humans of Sapphire Coast last month.

She says the initial reaction to the page has been “totally positive”, with everyone approached keen to be part of the fun.

“It can be intimidating for people when you walk in front of them with a massive camera and ask to point it at their face, so I show them the page on my phone and explain to them that it’s just something fun and they’re not named,” Megan said.

“I’ve not had one person say, 'Don’t take my photograph', but you do gauge whether you can ask a deep and meaningful question or just a surface sort of question; most people are quite open.

“People form a perception of people based on how someone looks, but you can tap into their mind with just one little question and find out so much about them.

“Someone who you might think looks mean and nasty could actually have a really soft story to tell.”

The page has featured almost 30 people to date, but by far the most popular has been Eden’s Betty Buckland, whose photo has attracted 97 Likes and 19 comments, meaning it has been seen by over 2000 people.

And while no-one is named in posts, Megan says the fact that many of the "humans" featured are easily recognised is one of the major differences between a small population like the Sapphire Coast and a large city like New York.

“What I’ve noticed around here that’s really different to those bigger cities is that you’re not anonymous; people know you,” she said.

“I guess around here it’d be harder to hide if you revealed some deep, dark secret.

“I’ve put a few people up who are almost like local celebrities, and Betty is a classic example.

“She’s one of the cases I’ve had where they have never been on Facebook before, and they’re actually quite chuffed about it.

“I think it’s great that people can go on there and recognise people and say, ‘Hey, I know them’!”

Megan, who runs her own creative business, Zoe.O Design, says the page covers all towns from Bermagui to Eden, and aims to feature at least one "human" each day.

With such a large area to cover, she has enlisted the help of two other volunteers, who will soon pick up the camera in search of more stories.

“If I approach you, don’t be scared; you can always say ‘no’,” she said with a laugh.

“You are being put on the spot, but most people think it’s funny and say, ‘Yeah, I’ll be on there’.

“I don’t know what else I can do with it or where it will go; maybe it will culminate in an exhibition one day, but for now I just think it’s just a nice, fun thing to do.”

So what would Megan say to the world if she was on the other side of the camera?

“I haven’t thought about it, you’ve got me there!” she said.

“I guess I’d contemplate life and say that it gives you ups and downs, and you’ve just got to make of it what you will.”