Gina Mei
August 10, 2015 7:12 am

Anyone with a smartphone knows at least one person who uses emojis more often than words. Even if you yourself don’t take advantage, the little cartoons are everywhere. It’s the dawn of a new era — and that era is ruled by smiley faces that come in five skin tones plus highlighter yellow.

But in case you aren’t convinced, Brad Warsh, an art director based in New York, has come up with a clever way to show just how commonplace emojis have become in our everyday lives. In his photo series “Emoji IRL,” Warsh combines photographs taken on his iPhone with strategically-placed emojis — proving just how perfectly they meld into the world off-screen.

“I was messing around with a photo sharing app about a year ago and realized that it allowed me to type over the images with oversized text and emojis,” Warsh tells HelloGiggles. “Jokingly, I put a sad face over my friends face and it kind of took off from there!”

The project has already gotten a ton of attention, and it’s easy to see why: “Emoji IRL” is straight-up delightful. The photos feel incredibly organic, as well, which only adds to the fun — but Warsh says the process behind creating them varies.

“Sometimes I pre-plan — I’ll have an idea in my head for an emoji, the type of place it could live, and I find something like what’s in my head,” he says. “Other times I come across a cool location and figure out which emoji could live the best.”

Of course, another major appeal to the project is how accessible it is: Anyone can do it, and Warsh is more than happy to share his “secrets.”

“I use an app called Slingshot to place the emoji, then I screengrab it and edit/crop using VSCOcam,” he says.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many is an emoji worth? How about an emoji overlapping a picture? We’ll let you decide for yourself. Check out a few of our favorites below; and for more of “Emoji IRL,” check out Warsh’s Instagram, website, and the hashtag #emoji_IRL.

(All images courtesy of Brad Warsh.)

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