Every so often I’ll make a personal call and connect with someone I see on TV or the web, someone who I think is a really interesting person and I’d like to get to know a little more. First time I did this was with my friend Casey Neistat, a filmmaker I became familiar with after watching his HBO show “The Neistat Brothers“. I really took a liking to his personality and storytelling. We’ve since become friends, worked together, and I’ve become even more acquainted with his youngest brother, Dean, who is an actor, stuntman, and photographer himself.
What I found interesting about Casey was the fact that he had a fresh way of telling stories about his life while incorporating all sorts of social media into what he does. In addition to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, he’s recently begun using the medium Snapchat to tell quick and dirty stories through his iPhone. Through his new Snapchat YouTube page I noticed he was friends with Jerome Jarre, another fella who I’ve been following through another app, Vine, where users post 6-second looping videos. So I asked Casey to introduce us.
Jerome is super popular on Vine with about 7 million followers and over 560 million loops of his Vine videos…that’s over a HALF BILLION plays… His short videos are simply hilarious and often over-the-top. With a thick French accent he takes to Union Square, a park near his apartment, to surprise unsuspecting tourists, locals, and nappers with jokes, songs, and utter randomness. As I scrolled through his profile page I found he’s even gotten the likes of Robert DeNiro, Pharell Williams, and Ansel Elgort to be in his Vines. He’s become so popular that he covered the Oscars red carpet for the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
We met at Jerome’s apartment before taking a walk through the city. We started in Union Square where I took a few portraits before he started getting mobbed by random fans, 99% teenage girls, asking to take photos with him, hugging him, and generally in awe of his presence. I asked him how it feels to have this sort of recognition and he admitted that it feels good. He explained that his followers feel close to him because they watch him wherever they are; school, work, before going to bed at night…
We eventually made our way down to Washington Square Park near one of my first NYC apartments to take a few more portraits. While we were there we met an artist who Jerome took interest in, made a connection, and perhaps they’ll work together someday in the future. That’s what’s great about living in NYC…you never know what sort of connection you’ll make or where it will lead.
It’s amazing to me that forms of communication like this exist. At the ripe age of 24, he’s carved out a career spreading joy and creating content in his unique way. The future is bright for Jerome…and I hope to document where life takes him in the future.