Humans of New York: Connecting community through photographs

Full Frame

A popular photography blog, Humans of New York, has created a global community of strangers by connecting them through storytelling.  

Brandon Stanton, a self-taught photographer who took up photography as an escape from his stressful day job, has set out to humanize New York City, and the people who walk its streets every day, one human – and one story – at a time.

Full Frame Essay: Humans of New York – A Global Community Connecting Through Photographs

Full Frame Essay: Humans of New York – A Global Community Connecting Through Photographs

A popular photography blog, Humans of New York, has created a global community of strangers by connecting them through storytelling. Brandon Stanton, a self-taught photographer who took up photography as an escape from his stressful day job, has set out to humanize New York City, and the people who walk its streets every day, one human – and one story – at a time.

Stanton has taken more than 6,000 street portraits of strangers he has encountered on the streets of New York City since 2010. The portraits are documented on the blog along with brief captions that provide candid – and often shocking and awe-inspiring – glimpses into the subject’s life.

“The story outweighs the photograph,” Stanton said. “I don’t even call it a photography blog anymore; I call it a storytelling blog with images and words.”

The Humans of New York (HONY) blog has become a social media phenomenon with millions of followers from around the world. The HONY Facebook page has nearly 6 million followers and it has been ranked it as one of the most influential blogs on Tumblr. The first-ever HONY book, a compilation of memorable photographs and stories from the blog, became a New York Times Bestseller less than a week after its release last fall. All of this made possible by Stanton’s uncanny ability to make deep connections with the people he photographs by asking strangers just a few simple questions about their lives.

“People can detect genuineness and they can detect artifice,” Stanton said. “By just being as natural and human as possible, you can really connect with people. Gradually, I’ve learned how to tell the deepest possible stories from these very short interactions that I have on the street.”

Stanton’s photos are being imitated all over the world (Humans of IndiaHumans of TehranHumans of Bronx Science and Humans of LaGuardia), and Stanton has received a great deal of media attention for the popularity of HONY – including being cited by Time Magazine as one of the “30 People Under 30 Changing the World” in 2013. But he told Full Frame that his main priority is to get out on the streets of New York City every day and make the very human connections that allow him to capture moments in time that often teach us more about ourselves than the people in his photographs.

Humans of New York Facebook: Humans of New York
Humans of New York Twitter: @OfficialHONY