Like any artist, Steven Hirsch, 63, doesn't want preconceived notions to be formed about his subject before his audience sees the product. Attending the 2012 International UFO Conference, Wired reports Hirsch set out to photograph and record the stories of those who claim to have had experiences with extraterrestrials.
Here's a bit of background from Wired on Hirch's alien encounter project:
"I don't want my audience to have any preconceptions about these people before they see my images and read their words," says Hirsch of his Little Sticky Legs project. "My interviews barely break the surface of what is going on in their lives ... or in their minds."
Hirsch, who has freelanced for the New York Post for 18 years, makes a habit of shooting fringe members of society and gleaning their thoughts. Past subjects have included those leaving the Manhattan Criminal Court Building and Crustypunks in the parks of NYC.
For his profile photos and interviews, the fast-talking New Yorker actually shuts up and listens.
"I'm not an analyst, my questions are not intended to find answers but to allow people to tell us their stories. Courthouse Confessions, Crustypunks and Little Sticky Legs are all about storytelling. Their stories, not mine," says Hirsch. "We've become desensitized to the TV sound bite. With these projects we can stare at the picture. Stare into their eyes. Feel their angst. It's a very simple approach. There's no distractions."
Wired reports the New York photographer years ago had photographed a UFO convention while on assignment and the experience "was mind-boggling and stuck with me for decades." Following up on this feeling, he attended this year's conference in Arizona for his own project.
In addition to taking down their stories and photographing their haunted faces, Hirsch adds another element to his project by including some drawings by some of the subjects, showing their perception of the aliens.
Here are some of the intriguing stories, in each subject's own words, taken by Hirsch (excerpts via Wired):
"I've met Salamander beings and I've met various different types of Greys. I've also met the Blue Arcturians which are incredible. They all have their own personalities and their own purposes. I've met Andromedans, the Assyrian Warriors of Light. I've met the Sirius Nephrons. I've also met the Cat People that are from Sirius. I've actually seen people that can shape shift from human looking to Reptilians. [...] Part of my mission is to help people get to the ships that need to be on the ships. […] Many of the Starseeds that are here on Earth on special missions are taken to the ships where they are then informed of the changes in the strategies. I've never yet ever met a being that was malevolent. I've always meet the benevolent ones. I'd never experienced unconditional love til I've met them face to face and had conscious contact with them."
"They said they had been coming to me ever since I was a child and they were not doing anything against my will and I used to be one of them and I had agreed to be this bridge between the pleiades. They had been teaching me things that I was supposed to bring through and teach to others here on Earth and I hadn't been doing a very good job of it. So they were giving me a review of what they'd taught me. They were telling me things about cleaning up the environment, being nicer to each other and having more brotherly love. And also the big thing that was important to them was getting rid of nuclear power plants. They said it was contaminating the earth. And it also had the potential for harming them too."
"It was an auditorium and with stadium seating. There was a podium down at the bottom and he led me to a seat. All around me were some humans here and there but there was a lot of all different types of alien beings. Next thing I'm leaving, bringing me down the aisle again. I'm telling them, 'I want to stay, I don't want to go.' I start crying. I say, 'I like it here, I belong.' And they said, 'No it's not your time. You have to help save this planet Earth.' That's all I remember."
"I did not know what had happened all I knew is something had happened. And about a month later out of nowhere I experienced what I later called a data dump or a download of information into my mind which I also couldn't explain. I believe I have implants. Up my nose. Because I've had nose bleeds since a particular date in time. Every time I get one of those I feel as if I've been upgraded. And I become a little more clairvoyant and aware of whats going on around me."
"November 5, 1975, me and six other men were leaving work in a remote forest and we encountered an unidentified flying object and I was taken aboard. My co-workers were accused of murdering me and making up a story to cover up for why I was missing. The state police gave them a lie detector test, but even though they passed ever since then it's been one sort of attempt to explain it away anyway they could. If you're going to pass judgement on it, get the facts first. When I regained consciousness on board, I encountered some definitely non-human entities and also some beings that resembled humans to a high degree. It was a very traumatic experience."
Read Wired's full story here. Check out all of Hirsch's Little Sticky Legs project here.
[H/T Daily Mail]
This story has been updated.