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Humans of New York 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, Brandon Stanton began photographing portraits of people in downtown Chicago, where he worked trading bonds on the Chicago Board of Trade. 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, 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 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. 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 and Gothamist. In the following weeks of March, Humans of New York was also featured on The Village Voice, The Huffington Post, New York Post as well as The Associated Press (shown below).
In May 2012, Humans of New York was featured on the Wall Street Journal. Three months later, New York Magazine partnered with Tumblr’s now defunct editorial team Storyboard 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 and My Modern Met. Beginning in February 2013, Stanton partnered with Vogue for an exclusive project during the New York Fashion Week as well as street punks 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. 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.
Hurricane Sandy Fundraiser
Following Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, Stanton began photographing people affected by the disaster (shown below) and on November 11th, the blog launched 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 crowfunding page, they raised $86,000 within 12 hours and a total of $318,530 in ten days.
On December 4th, 2012, Stanton announced that he was working on two Humans of New York books. The news was shared on publishing blog Galleycat two days later. The first book, also titled Humans of New York, is scheduled to be released on October 15th, 2013, featuring 400 full-color photographs, including 80 brand new shots. A children's book, Little Humans, is anticipated for Spring 2013.
On February 25th, 2013, Stanton posted a photo 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, where it gained more than 42,000 notes. The same day, the story was publicized on the Wall Street Journal, Gawker, Gothamist and the Huffington Post.
Later that day, DKNY responded via Facebook, 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 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.
"Let's Sends Kids to Harvard" Fundraiser
On January 20th, 2015, Stanton posted a portrait photograph of Vidal, a teenager from Brownsville, Brooklyn, along with his commentaries on the challenges of living and growing up in a neighborhood with some of the highest crime rates. In one particular photo, Vidal expressed gratitude for his school principal Nadia Lopez.
"When we get in trouble, she doesn't suspend us. She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us. And she tells us that each time somebody fails out of school, a new jail cell gets built. And one time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter," he said.
Upon being shared on Humans of New York’s Facebook page, Vidal’s photo and his quote immediately went viral and began to spread elsewhere online, with the original post garnering more than a million likes in just over a week. In the following week, Stanton visited Vidal’s school at Mott Hall Bridges Academy to speak with the principal Nadia Lopez and shared her portrait and her story in a follow-up post.
On January 22nd, Stanton submitted an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in an effort to raise $100,000 for the school, with the initial vision of funding a tour of the Harvard University for incoming sixth graders at the academy. Within the first week of its launch, Stanton’s fundraising campaign raised more than $1 million from 35,000 donors, exceeding its goal by 1,087% with another whole week remaining in the timeline.
Click through the image to visit the Indiegogo donation page.
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, which photoshops containers of hummus in New York photographs, providing humorous commentary from the point of view of the dip.
- Humans of Cairo
- Humans of Dublin
- Humans of the Fiji Islands
- Humans of George Mason University
- Humans of Hamilton
- Humans of Khartoum, Sudan
- Humans of Kingston, Ontario
- Humans of Lima
- Humans of London
- Humans of Lucknow
- Humans of Montreal
- Humans of New Delhi
- Humans of NYU
- Humans of Paris
- Humans of Reed College
- Humans of Rome
- Humans of Singapore
- Humans of Sydney
- Humans of Vienna
- Humans of Vilnius/Lithuania
 the Village Voice – 'Humans of New York' Photo Census Gives the Crowd a Face
 New York Magazine –
 Humans of New York – Here’s a rough mock-up of what the HONY book cover is going to look like.
 Wall Street Journal – Fashion Label Lifts Photos From ‘Humans of New York’
 Huffington Post – Humans Of New York Photos Accidentally Stolen By DKNY