Humans of New York

Humans of New York

Updated Jul 09, 2013 at 06:53PM EDT by amanda b..

Added Jul 09, 2013 at 02:28PM EDT by amanda b..

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Humans of New York[1] is a photography blog run by Brandon Stanton, a self-taught photographer who shares portraits of people he meets on the streets of New York City along with a snippet of the conversation he has with them.


After purchasing a semi-professional camera in 2010[2], Brandon Stanton began photographing portraits of people in downtown Chicago, where he worked trading bonds on the Chicago Board of Trade.[3] After losing his job that July, Stanton began touring the United States, taking photos in New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. He shot more than 1,000 photos per day and uploaded 30-40 of them to a personal Facebook photo album. He began to focus more on taking candid portraits by the time he had reached New York City in August 2010, which were collected in Facebook albums titled Humans of New York. After uploading three Facebook photo albums worth of portraits, Stanton decided to move to New York with the intent of photographing 10,000 people to create an interactive map as an unofficial census of the city. On December 4th, 2010, he began sharing his photo essays to the Tumblr blog named after his Facebook albums, Humans of New York[4], about various events he saw around New York, including a street fight (shown below) and a man talking to pigeons.

On January 13th, 2011, Stanton launched the Humans of New York Facebook fan page[5] and three days later, posted the first portrait to be paired with a piece of conversation that took place with the subject of the photograph.[6] By March 2nd, the blog had accrued more than 1,400 photos and saw its first press mentions in the local NYC blogs EV Grieve[7] and Gothamist.[8] In the following weeks of March, Humans of New York was also featured on The Village Voice[9], The Huffington Post,[10] New York Post[11] as well as The Associated Press (shown below).

In May 2012, Humans of New York was featured on the Wall Street Journal.[12] Three months later, New York Magazine[13] partnered with Tumblr’s now defunct editorial team Storyboard[13] for a video profile (shown below) on Stanton and his blog. Also in August 2012, images from Humans of New York were featured on Vogue[15] and My Modern Met.[16] Beginning in February 2013, Stanton partnered with Vogue for an exclusive project during the New York Fashion Week[17] as well as street punks[18] to coincide with that year’s punk-themed Met Gala. On May 20th, Stanton participated in an Ask Me Anything thread on Reddit, which gained 8,023 upvotes, 1,954 points overall and 1,249 comments prior to being archived. In May 2013, 21 photos from Humans of New York were featured on Twisted Sifter.[19] As of July 2012, Humans of New York has more than a million followers, accrued more than 905,000 Facebook fans and gained more than 27,000 followers on Twitter.[21]

Hurricane Sandy Fundraiser

Following Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, Stanton began photographing people affected by the disaster[26] (shown below) and on November 11th, the blog launched[27] a fundraising campaign cosponsored by Tumblr with 100% of the proceeds going to The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, a charity located in Staten Island. Using an Indiegogo[28] crowfunding page, they raised $86,000 within 12 hours[29] and a total of $318,530 in ten days.

Book Deal

On December 4th, 2012, Stanton announced[22] that he was working on two Humans of New York books. The news was shared on publishing blog Galleycat[23] two days later. The first book, also titled Humans of New York[24], is scheduled to be released on October 15th, 2013, featuring 400 full-color photographs, including 80 brand new shots.[25] A children’s book, Little Humans, is anticipated for Spring 2013.

DKNY Controversy

On February 25th, 2013, Stanton posted a photo[30] to the Humans of New York Facebook page of a DKNY window display in Bangkok, Thailand that had used his photographs without his knowledge. He noted that DKNY had previously contacted him, offering to purchase 300 of his photos for $15,000. After attempting to negotiate for more money, DKNY revoked their offer, but seemingly went on to use the images anyway. Stanton requested people share the photo, asking DKNY to donate $100,000 on his behalf to the YMCA in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. He reposted the plea to his Tumblr[31], where it gained more than 42,000 notes. The same day, the story was publicized on the Wall Street Journal[32], Gawker[33], Gothamist[34] and the Huffington Post.[35]

Later that day, DKNY responded via Facebook[36], noting that the Bangkok store had wrongly used an internal mockup and would be donating $25,000 to the Brooklyn YMCA in Stanton’s name. To raise the rest of the money he asked for, Stanton launched an Indiegogo[37] to raise the rest of the $100,000 to send 300 kids to summer camp for free and within 72 hours, the campaign collected $103,000. In April 2013, Stanton was honored at City Hall for his actions.[38]

Notable Examples

Spin-Off Blogs

Since its inception, Humans of New York has inspired dozens of similar portrait blogs and Facebook groups from cities and towns across the globe, as well as college-specific blogs. Additionally, there are a handful of parody blogs including Hummus of New York[39], which photoshops containers of hummus in New York photographs, providing humorous commentary from the point of view of the dip.


As of July 2013, Humans of New York has an Alexa[40] US rank of 27,647 and global rank of 101,362. Much of their traffic comes from search results, Facebook, Imgur and Pinterest.

Search Interest

External References

[1]Humans of New York – Home

[2]Huffington Post – Humans of New York: Behind the Lens

[3]Humans of New York – Photographer

[4]Humans of New York – Streetfight in Chinatown

[5]Facebook – Humans of New York

[6]Humans of New York – Do you know who you are talking to?

[7]EV Grieve – Humans of New York

[8]Gothamist – Photographing Every Interesting New Yorker

[9]the Village Voice – ‘Humans of New York’ Photo Census Gives the Crowd a Face

[10]Huffington Post – Humans Of New York: Brandon Stanton’s Interpersonal City Catalogue (PHOTOS)

[11]New York Post – Brandon Stanton’s NYC streets photo project ‘Humans of New York’ creates a visual census

[12]Wall Street Journal – Humans of New York, a City of Faces

[13]New York Magazine –

[14]Tumblr Storyboard – Photographing the Humans of New York

[15]Vogue – Style and the City: Humans of New York Spotlights Creative Individuals

[16]My Modern Met – Wonderfully Diverse Humans of New York

[17]Vogue – Humans of New York Takes On NYFW

[18]Vogue – Street Art: Humans of New York Captures Punk’s Enduring Influence

[19]Twisted Sifter – 21 Moments with Humans of New York

[20]Publishers Weekly – BEA 2013: The Humans of BEA, a Photo-Essay

[21]Twitter – @humansofny

[22]Humans of New York – Been sitting on this news for awhile

[23]Galleycat – ‘Humans of New York’ Blogger Inks Two-Book Deal

[24]Amazon – Humans of New York

[25]Humans of New York – Here’s a rough mock-up of what the HONY book cover is going to look like.

[26]The Daily Dot – Humans of New York shines during Hurricane Sandy

[27]Humans of New York – Hey guys. For the next ten days, I’m going to be dedicating HONY to raising money for Hurricane Sandy.

[28]Indiegogo – HONY & Tumblr Hurricane Sandy Fundraiser

[29]The Huffington Post – Humans Of New York And Tumblr Sandy Fundraiser: Brandon Stanton’s Photos Inspire Viral Campaign (PHOTOS)

[30]Facebook – Humans of New York: I am a street photographer in New York City.

[31]Tumblr – Humans of New York: I am a street photographer in New York City.

[32]Wall Street Journal – Fashion Label Lifts Photos From ‘Humans of New York’

[33]Gawker – ‘Humans of New York’ Photographer: DKNY Stole My Photos After I Turned Them Down [UPDATE]

[34]Gothamist – DKNY Caught Using Photographer’s Images Without Permission Or Compensation

[35]Huffington Post – Humans Of New York Photos Accidentally Stolen By DKNY

[36]Facebook – DKNY: Since its founding in 1989, DKNY has been inspired by and incorporated authentic New York into its imagery.

[37]Indiegogo – Let’s Send Kids To Summer Camp:

[38]Huffington Post – Brandon Stanton, ‘Humans Of New York’ Photographer, Honored For Bed-Stuy YMCA Fundraising

[39]Tumblr – Hummus of New York

[40]Alexa – Humans of New York

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