Blogger capturing human face of Wollongong

Photoblogger Paul Pennell snaps Andrew Gee. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Photoblogger Paul Pennell snaps Andrew Gee. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

A picture of Paul, part of Paul Pennell's online depiction of the people who give Wollongong its heart and warmth.

A picture of Paul, part of Paul Pennell's online depiction of the people who give Wollongong its heart and warmth.

A picture of Jesmond, part of Paul Pennell's online depiction of the people who give Wollongong its heart and warmth.

A picture of Jesmond, part of Paul Pennell's online depiction of the people who give Wollongong its heart and warmth.

A picture of Graham, part of Paul Pennell's online depiction of the people who give Wollongong its heart and warmth.

A picture of Graham, part of Paul Pennell's online depiction of the people who give Wollongong its heart and warmth.

Paul Pennell is a man with a camera setting out to capture Wollongong's heart and soul, one human at a time.

He takes to the city's streets to snap the Wollongong everyman and everywoman, posting the pictures on his Humans of Wollongong photoblog.

"I approach people that I think have something to say, or have a bit of character about them, or intrigue me," said Mr Pennell, of Woonona, a professional wedding and portrait photographer.

"I like to hear people's stories

"Anybody can take a photograph, but to actually capture something of the essence of that person, is another little trick"

His favourite subject so far has been furniture upholsterer Jesmond, who he discovered "mumbling to himself" on Wentworth Street at Port Kembla.

In the photo's caption, Jesmond laments how ubiquitous, cheap lounges have eroded demand for his upholstery skills.

"Although he had nothing, he offered me half his sandwiches and a cup of tea," Mr Pennell said. "He summed up Port Kembla as I know it. He was so gentle and human - he really struck a chord."

The Wollongong page is a spin-off of the Humans of New York photoblog, a global sensation which has spawned a New York Times best-selling book, and more than 6.7 million devotees.

With 3800 followers, Mr Pennell's page is a more modest affair, but he believes he has already reaped rewards - life lessons - by walking the streets with a camera, and questions, at the ready.

"I think we judge [people] too quickly," Mr Pennell said.

"We've all got a different story to tell."

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