Straight to the point, in this era of a storming rage in social media, Humans of New York have upped their recognition to millions of people all across the world! The creator of this rampage is a photographer blogger based in America, Brandon Stanton. He lives in midtown but is from Georgia. Stanton came to New York after losing his job in the Chicago stock market. He gave himself a year to chase his artistic fetish for photography just for his love of it. HONY being his brainchild has narrated millions of personal tales and emotional journeys of the people of New York.
With more than 16.7 million likes on his Facebook page, not only has he become an acclaimed blogger but also, has recently launched his new book called Humans of New York: Stories. The previous book Humans of New York remained in the bestseller list for a good 45 weeks! With a remarkable gift of making global politics personal, he showcases people on his Facebook page and the world responds! As humans, we are intrigued by stories. And Stanton is simply immaculate as a storyteller!
“I’m glad I had a daughter. Ever since my grandmother died, I’ve needed the female energy in my life. It’s good energy. I mean, when things go wrong, another man can tell you that everything is going to be OK. But not like a woman can.”
So, what is so special about Humans of New York? Well! It is heart-warmingly compelling! Stanton thinks that there is a sort of paradox of one seeing a picture of somebody on the blog that one does not know and that one has never met before and represents a total stranger, but then at the same time, hearing a story or a quote from them that is very intimate and very revealing and is indicative of something that they might only tell their best friend or someone very close to them, stand out as both vulnerable and powerful! It goes out straight to people as a message, or sometimes a memory. Stanton captures these intimacies of life. Upfront. On faces, through smiles. More than just a storyteller, he is a patient listener!
“When I was in second grade, our school got attacked by a bomb. It was a barrel full of explosions. We were just opening our books to start the class, and it’s hard to describe the sound, but it was like a building coming apart.” “I ran to the other class to find my brother, and he was crying because of the sound. Our bus left, so we didn’t know what to do. But my brother is so smart. He ran to the market and called our grandma.”
Stanton has not only been biased towards New York. To him, the art of storytelling is his passion. He visited Hungary, Greece, Croatia and Austria, where he focused on Syrian refugees. He also went to Iran and Pakistan. “When you are interviewing refugees, each person you talk to has a different story that could come from a horror movie. So many people talk about seeing their families get murdered before their eyes. Then I go to Central Park and people are talking about their third divorce and paying tuition”, he says. Needless to say, he differentiates but never discriminates! While in Syria, he had approached a 10-year-old girl, asking to speak to her mother to get permission to take her photograph. The girl started shaking in terror simply because he asked where her mother was. She calmed down when a translator explained what he wanted. They have since become friends, texting with emojis because Stanton does not speak Arabic and she doesn’t speak English. Stanton is not just a mere journalist. He builds relationships!
I told him: “I love the detail in your hands and the detail in your face. How can we feature both?” Then he did this.
“I don’t want to interview people for the purpose of developing a world view and pushing that on people,” he says. Rather he intends to create a common ground of interaction for a stranger, to the entire world! With the beauty and honesty in them, who knows how many lives are affected due to these inspirational stories? Over five years, Stanton interviewed more than 10,000 people in New York. He is conveying a story of a person who he met on the streets. The purest reflection, being the scrutiny on the person and not the persona!