I don't even know what to say... Which, if you heard my radio interviews on WIBX and WUTQ this morning you'll understand is quite rare ;)
What has happened in the last 48 hours is nothing short of unbelievable. Never in a million years could I have imagined my little day trip would touch so many good people. I am truly humbled by what I've seen and what I've heard. Honestly it's been one of the most incredible couple days of my life. You gave me a gift... The gift of knowing that I, in a small way, may have helped a community of people realize how strong you are, how much you have, and how welcoming your spirit is.
I feel like I should formally introduce myself to you. My name is Arian David Horbovetz, and I'm a wedding and portrait photographer from Rochester NY. I'm actually not really a blogger! My turn ons include photography, baseball, urban planning, mass transit, and people. If there is something I love more than photography it's getting to know amazing people... Like you.
My idea to visit Utica grew from my desire to step outside of the "photos for money" realm for a bit and express myself through my art. It's something every photog should do occasionally. I do it several times a year, and then blog or post about my experience so my social media followers can see that I am trying to stay fresh and hone my craft.
To be honest, I never really expected Utica to even pick up this story... It was more directed at people here in Rochester that already follow me on social media. The result completely shocked me. Utica and Central New York picked this up, started sharing it and it spread like wildfire.
Let's start with the numbers. This blog post just topped 25,000 views by nearly 20,000 people. The most views I ever received on my blog in a day before Wednesday was 54. Late Wednesday afternoon you shattered that mark... 62 views... In 10 seconds.
I have received hundreds of tweets and Facebook posts of heartfelt thanks. I have received 49 emails and several phone calls... One call from a wonderful ex-Utican now living in Florida! Twenty one people told me they were brought to tears. Before today I had never been on the radio... This morning I did two wonderful interviews with WIBX and WUTQ. I did a Utica Observer Dispatch interview on my lunch break. I was asked to give input into Utica's rebranding campaign. Finally I attended a Young Professionals event in Rochester tonight where a young woman I had never met called me over and said "I know you, you're the photographer! I'm from Utica!"
I'm truly humbled that my pictures and words touched so many people. The truth is, you did the same and more for me. I think I kind of identify with Utica a bit. I grew up poor with an amazing single mother (see Margaret Dilmore in Victor NY on FB and give her some love!). We didn't have much but we worked hard and made the best of what we did have. At the end of the day, I was raised to love and appreciate the good people around me and the simple things in life.
Through struggle and difficult times, we made it. I have a good life now, but I never forget my roots. I believe in who I can be because I always remember who I was.
So thank you Utica... Thank you for two days of kindness of love. You've shared your passion for your home with me, and to know you now is to better understand myself.
Where do we go from here? I will leave that up to you. I'm yours Utica, I'm a fan and I think I always will be. Tell me what you need and I promise I will do what I can! :). That's what friends do right?
I will be back in Utica soon, maybe even this weekend. I have some big plans, so stay tuned to my Facebook and Twitter pages! Be well, take care, and know that your words brought a smile to my face that will never fade. Goodnight.