More Than Just A Portrait, The "Humans Of New York" Project Tells A Story

Like many of us, Brandon Stanton enjoyed taking walks and making photography while out and about. What separates Brandon is his fearless attitude towards approaching the average person on the street and asking to take their portrait, and then finding out what their story is. He runs a blog called the "Humans of New York", and this video gives you an inside look as to his approach and rationale for turning out some amazing images and stories.

What really drives this project home is Brandon's approachable attitude with his subjects that ultimately gets him information on the person he is taking the picture of. Whether the person has an interesting hairstyle, unique jewelry, or maybe they have a dog that is exceptionally cute, Brandon takes the time to learn more about them. The story behind the portraits adds so much more to the images.

From Brandon's blog:
"My name is Brandon and I began Humans of New York in the summer of 2010. HONY resulted from an idea that I had to construct a photographic census of New York City. I thought it would be really cool to create an exhaustive catalogue of the city’s inhabitants, so I set out to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers and plot their photos on a map. I worked for several months with this goal in mind. But somewhere along the way, HONY began to take on a much different character. I started collecting quotes and short stories from the people I met, and began including these snippets alongside the photographs. Taken together, these portraits and captions became the subject of a vibrant blog, which over the past two years has gained hundreds of thousands of followers. With over 180,000 followers on Facebook and 80,000 followers on Tumblr, HONY now provides a worldwide audience with daily glimpses into the lives of strangers on the streets of New York City."

Mike Wilkinson's picture

Mike Wilkinson is an award-winning video director with his company Wilkinson Visual, currently based out of Lexington, Kentucky. Mike has been working in production for over 10 years as a shooter, editor, and producer. His passion lies in outdoor adventures, documentary filmmaking, photography, and locally-sourced food and beer.

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Pretty cool and good luck to him. You should check out the 100 Strangers group on Flickr, the premise of the group is for photographers to take 100 strangers photos, but not unaware candid pics, but engage the person find out something about them.

Some people are on their 300 or 400 stranger and people like me have just started (I have 4). The group definitely gets you out of your comfort zone which is the point, for someone who sometimes doesn't even like to talk to people I know this group is certainly challenging me.

So I can appreciate what Brandon is doing. 

There is an apprehension to approaching someone, but if they say yes it is exhilarating (I should give the wife a camera for this group, she'll talk to anyone!).

Flick 100 Strangers group:

Really enjoyed this.......this is one thing I have never had any hesitation in doing...asking people on the street if I can photograph them.....I know people have problems doing that but personally I've never understood why.
(I imagine I'd be more upset at a friend or acquaintance knocking me back for a photo than a complete stranger)

That is beautiful.

great work!