Halls of RM divulges glimpses of student life

Emily Zhao
The Halls of RM Instagram page has racked up 732 followers.

“What’s a time you felt most on cloud 9 or most at rock bottom?”

Halls of RM interviewer Sydney Weiss asks this question to complete strangers to prod at their most private or interesting moments in life. While this interaction seems as if it would require an uncanny amount of openness from the responder, more than 200 people have revealed their personal stories on their Instagram page.

With 734 followers and growing, Halls of RM (HORM) is up-and-coming club, led by junior Jasmine Pham, junior Emily Chen, and sophomore Weiss. The virally famous Facebook blog, Humans of New York, inspired the HORM founders to create a student led and curated version. HORM hopes to showcase the diversity of RM’s students on its Instagram page (@hallsofrm), Facebook account (@hallsofRM), and Twitter account (@thehallsofRM).

The photographers manage to capture perfect portraits while also nabbing deep, introspective stories and experiences from the subject. Yet their seemingly effortless photos take much dedication, patience, and perseverance to compose and edit. “Portraiture depends on communication, so when I’m shooting, I always keep in mind what I want and what the subject wants,” Pham explained. “So, through my decisions of how to technically  adjust the camera and the subject’s pose, we always create something beautiful.”

Each post includes a long quote from the subject and some introspective part of their life. For instance, their most recent posts showcased a student speaking about her family dynamics, a senior who fulfilled her dream to become the Black Maskers’ assistant director, and a basketball player who recovered from a severe injury. The posts rarely feature the students’ names to emulate the Humans of New York’s respectful preference for anonymity.

“We turn simple conversations into stories, and these stories keep our community connected.” Pham said, “Sometimes, it takes a long time to develop a meaningful conversation and not all students have the time to begin.” 

The whole aim means that interviewers need to interact with complete strangers with the possibility of being rejected. “It’s a great way to learn how to make small talk and boost confidence, “ Weiss said. She also admitted that at times, people can hesitant or unwilling to converse with a stranger for a long period.

HORM went through a rough patch last year when its content seemed to be released very infrequently, but this year’s officers are planning to bring it back to its former glory. “HORM’s goal this year is to be more consistent with posting and to encourage our members to get deep, meaningful stories,” Weiss said. They held a preliminary interest meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 24, and presented on how to become a good photographer or interviewer.

Junior and a follower of HORM Sareet Nayak said, “Some of the stories on the Instagram page are really interesting because the stories are never superficial and the portraits are always very good. They deserve more followers.” On their Instagram page, their earliest post dates back all the way to Nov. 10, 2014. Since then, HORM has maintained their high-quality pictures and in-depth interviews.