Humans of New York (HONY) is an awe-inspiring project launched by a single, intuitive visionary armed with a camera. Brandon Stanton, the man behind said camera, has a blog, books, and an Instagram and Facebook page, the latter having nearly 12 million “likes.” HONY posts surprisingly intimate pictures of people on the streets of New York in everyday situations along with a short snippet of information that seems to lay the subject’s life and soul bare.
There is no short way to characterize the work done by HONY, other than calling it raw. Mr. Stanton’s photographically captures the very soul of his subjects, and has an uncanny ability to draw out the epitome of their essence, and document it in short, pithy, soul-piercing quotes.
Perhaps the most amazing aspect of the work done by HONY is its ability to unify the human race. In a world where a good majority of online interactions are perceived to be beleaguered by negativity, HONY’s stark portrayals draw mostly support. Regardless of whether the subjects are downtrodden or privileged, HONY has an innate and intuitive ability to showcase the relatable humanity of each and every subject captured on camera.
HONY’s Facebook posts garner mostly positive, affirmative, and often profound comments. Like the proverbial bartender, HONY gets right to the heart of the matter with his subjects, and was, therefore, the perfect person to travel the globe on a U.N. sponsored trip. HONY captured and captioned some of the most poignant and unifying portraits of people ever. HONY’s ability to cut to the quick is unparalleled. HONY is now using a chance encounter as a way to better the lives of children in one New York community.
HONY is in the process of raising money to send sixth grade students to Harvard. During a typical encounter on the streets of New York, Stanton quizzed and asked to photograph Vidale Chastanet, a student at Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brownsville. The scholar admitted during his brief interview that his principal was the most influential person in his life. The child’s portrayal of Mrs. Lopez’s amazing ability to reach inner city children seems to have inspired the enigma to seek her out. HONY’s interview with Nadia Lopez revealed that she believes that giving her students a taste of the big leagues will inspire them to make a place for themselves.
“I want them to have that experience, and the idea of them just planting their feet in the place that they need to go just gives them the hope and the aspirations that it can indeed happen.”
The college tours are costly. The expense is often insurmountable for the inner-city school. HONY found this to be an admirable ambition, sought to raise money to send these inner city children to the grounds of this Ivy League School, and give them grander aspirations. The trip costs around $33,000 per year. HONY’s hopes were to raise $100,000. Within 24 hours, over $350,000 had been collected. The money has come in from all over the world. This small little community, whose only previous “claim to fame” was as the murder capitol of New York City, has benefited from the amazing generosity of strangers relying upon and inspired by HONY’s ability to get right to the heart of our most basic human emotions.