Do you know who Brandon Stanton is? If you don’t, I think you should! He is the brains and the man behind the camera of the ever growing popular HONY (no, not HORNY for those of you that have your minds in the gutter). HONY stands for Humans of New York. What started off as a simplistic personal project, has now blown up and evolved into an international success.
The Coles notes version of what kickstarted this phenomenon was Brandon’s love and appreciation for photography. He had lost his 9-5 office job and decided afterwards to embark on a multi-city journey taking street style photos of people. He eventually landed in NYC and really found that city to be the most inspiring. Originally his photos were just uploaded to own personal Facebook account. After some encouragement from a friend, he created his own facebook page that now included quotes or stories of his subjects that he photographed. He received millions of “likes” and visits and then took his inspiration to a whole new level. He know has a published book, an Instagram account with over 800000 followers (I follow it!), a website (http://www.humansofnewyork.com/) and has been recognized by many big media outlets.
I first learned about it, well I am not actually sure. I think it was a combination of things; noticing other people following the Instagram account and then reading about it in the news. I was immediately drawn into the concept and wanting to learn about other people’s stories. I am also a big fan of Scott Schuman from The Sartorialist (http://www.thesartorialist.com/) who takes street style photos, but feel that it lacks the stories behind the individuals. The Sartorialist is more of a resource for fashion inspiration. Humans of New York is a resource for personal motivation.
I received the HONY book from a friend a couple of weeks ago. I read through it in one night. It was captivating and mesmerizing. I was brought to tears a few times, and also laughed out loud. My roommates must have thought I was crazy. I caught my roommate reading it herself the other day. There is no discrimination or biases in the book, rather just meeting and seeing people from all statuses, ages, ethnicities, and experiences getting a chance to share their stories. I can’t really pin point a favourite story that I read, but was always moved by people who had education and knowledge from another country, but found that when they ended up in the US, everything they had learned pretty much meant nothing. They had to persevere and work really hard to get back to a decent place. My heart goes out to them, and I wish and hope that they are able to see all of their hard work pay off for them again. I felt motivated from them and has given me more encouragement to continue pursuing what I want to pursue.
What are you waiting for? Grab a box of tissues, your favourite beverage (alcoholic or not) and start following, reading and exploring the Humans of New York.