On a recent visit to the United States, my son recommended I read a book which he thought I would like knowing my interests in people and in photography. I was so happy to read, “ Humans of New York” by Brandon Stanton a book which is so much different from most others. It is a large collection of photographs with incisive comments and captions which make for very interesting reading. All the photographs have one thing in common, they feature people in the City of New York, The Big Apple, so often called a melting pot of many cultures.
Stanton started his project in 2010 when he realized there was so much to gather by photographing people around him and later getting to know their stories. He began a blog called “Humans of New York” which became exceedingly popular. In 2013, the contents of the blog were published in book form. Much to his amazement, the book succeeded beyond his expectations. It became a Best Seller in the New York Times and remained there for as many as 45 weeks.
You will be astonished at the amount of detail Stanton packs in both in his photographs and the pithy text that accompanies them. At first, he recalls, people were hesitant to talk to him when they were being photographed. Later he found that they actually opened up and had no hesitation in telling their life stories or recounting incidents that have stayed in their minds. The result of Stanton’s efforts over the years is an amazing collection of pictures of people going about their day to day lives in the five boroughs of New York, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island. They range from people in the affluent and socially upscale East Side and Manhattan to those in the far more plebeian surroundings of some areas in Queens and The Bronx.
It is not surprising at all that Stanton’s work is followed by an estimated 20 million people from all over the world. Over 8 million followers lap up his work on his Instagram account! He has done path breaking work through this book. If you haven’t read it yet, grab it. It is really worth the read. You will enjoy his writing style too. He writes with wit and deep sensitivity about his subjects.
Brandon Stanton, thanks for an amazing book! You have lit a fire in every author, including me!! I wish I could some day write a book like “Humans of New York” crafted on the intersection of people and photography set in my country, India.