Humans of New York: Brandon Stanton


The phrase “Humans of New York” has a particular ring to it that many people seem to know. What is Humans of New York, though? Brandon Stanton, the man who created the blog Humans of New York, didn’t really know what it was going to be until it unfolded to what it is today.

Brandon started the whole idea with one photograph he took on a subway of two mothers – strangers to each other – and their sons. The whole idea behind the photograph was that Brandon overcame a fear of his by taking this intimate photograph of these people he didn’t even know. This one image became an idea that spiraled into Brandon’s passion for portrait photography of strangers. In the beginning, the only thing Brandon wanted to do was photograph random people he’d come across on the streets of New York and let the images tell the stories. As he continued to take photos, he came across one particular woman that didn’t necessarily have the best portrait he had taken and thought about deleting it. However, he realized that what this woman did have was a story.


By sharing his first image captioned with a short quote from this woman, he came across a bigger idea that touched many more people than he thought. He began doing portraits similar to the one of that woman and captioned the images with a personal testament from that person. Brandon recognized that what his audience was interested in was getting to know strangers on a personal level. It gives a feeling of connectedness among the population of people who don’t even know each other.

The biggest takeaway from listening to Brandon Stanton speak about the startup of this revolutionary blog Humans of New York was the overarching theme of dedication and hard-work. Not a day goes by that Brandon does not work all day long with 110% effort. Some may call his dedication slightly obsessive, some may see it as a passion. He followed his dream, gave it his best shot, and had quite a bit of sweat and tears along the way. Without this burning passion, Brandon could not be where he is today.


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