Humanity: One Man’s Perspective


In the summer of 2010, Brandon Stanton, a self-taught photographer, moved to New York and started a simple project that has become a colossal hit on facebook catching the attention of nearly 1 million Facebook, Twitter,  and Tumblr users. What started as a goal of taking pictures of 10,000 people on the streets of New York, the Humans of New York is now a titanic project that highlights the spark inside of the people who would normally be passed by without a second thought.


Everyday, Stanton took and posted pictures on his blog During the first year of the project, there wasn’t much interest. Stanton then had the idea of adding captions to each photograph. The captions give a sense of familiarity to the moments of the lives of the people in the pictures.


“Taken together,” Stanton said in the ‘about’ section of his personal website, “these portraits and captions became the subject of a vibrant blog, which over the past two years has gained a large daily following.”


One of the largest reasons Stanton’s work appeals to so many people is because his photographs are comprised of such a diverse group of individuals. He speaks to anyone from children to elders, which allows many people to connect with the subjects in the photographs.

One photograph that appears on Stanton’s facebook page of young Alitza Collazo, sitting on a curb outside a bar, earned over 30,000 likes on facebook because it reminds people of the incredible and heartbreaking events unfolding at every moment.


When she was asked by Stanton what saddest moment of her life was, Alitza responded, “Right now. The person I love wants to take a break. He’s still inside.”


These words gave people a chance to view a slice of Collazo’s life and a glimpse of the diversity and empathy of humanity.


Stanton has made over 4,000 photos since he started his project each with roughly as many likes as the picture of Alitza.

What Stanton does is use his photographs to show the world that every person is important. Every person has a life that defines them and makes them who they are. Someone might find  passersby insignificant, but that passerby could be a parent, a child, a lover, or a friend. Everyone means something and has a story that’s worth being told. Stanton takes his photographs and displays the characteristics of humanity, which wouldn’t normally be noticed, in a way that elicits compassion and a sense of unity amongst strangers.