When Brandon Stanton began his journey of gathering 10,000 portraits of New Yorkers and plotting them on a map of the city, little did he know what a life-changing experience it would be, not only for him, but also the entire world.
It all began when he moved to New York City after his previous job (tradings bonds) began to crumble. To initiate his career in photography, he started to create a simple photography blog, a “catalogue of New York City’s inhabitants” titled Humans of New York. It would simply be anonymous photos to post on an interactive map of the city. Yet, his approach towards the project began to change during the process. Stanton states, “In the first year, I was just taking pictures without captions. Then I started having interactions in streets, and they were evolving to the point where now I can’t call it a photography blog because the storytelling is so vital.” People who follow HONY can agree the people Stanton interacts with and the moments he captures are each unique and special in their own way. His “models” are the very definition of diversity.
Although his collection began with focusing on the lives of New Yorkers , his most recent and current project is traveling on the United Nations World Tour, visiting ten countries across the world in order to highlight the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, which range from issues such as “reducing child mortality to eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.”
Through this partnership, we are able to get a glance into other people’s lives across the world. While some follow HONY as a source of entertainment and giggles, Stanton is providing us an opportunity to open our eyes to the world, to step into another person’s shoes. He is defining globalization on another level. Through one head-shot or body-shot and a short caption, a connection is made from the viewer to the speaker. Through one picture, Stanton is integrating the world on a united point. He is bringing the world together, one picture at a time.
What once began as a simple project in 2010 has now bloomed into a worldwide story. These pictures turned his life around, from unemployed to working with United Nations to spread global awareness. They have turned our lives around also, giving us insight to others just like us, a sense of closeness with people so far away.
Photo Credits: All found on HONY website: http://www.humansofnewyork.com/