Humans of New York: Stories
By Brandon Stanton
St. Martin's Press, 2015. 432 pgs. Nonfiction
Several years ago Brandon Stanton began a project to photograph 10,000 people in New York City and post them to a blog called Humans of New York. He would sometimes include a quote from the person. As the project progressed he realized it was the stories of these people that really resonated with his audience, and so he began to go more in-depth with the people he photographed, interviewing them sometimes for hours. His readership has increased to over 12 million followers today. His earlier book - Humans of New York - reflected his early blog, which is why he was eager to publish again, this time emphasizing the direction the project has taken: telling people's stories.
Devoted followers of Humans of New York will recognize many photos from Stanton's feed in this book. But he has also set aside many new, unseen photos and stories just for this book. I am a huge fan of Staton's blog, and was very eager to get a copy of this book. I wasn't disappointed. The stories are sometimes haunting - staying with me for hours after putting the book down. They are also sometimes humorous and inspiring. Stanton seems to have a gift for finding something in everyone's story that people can relate to or at least recognize emotionally, and he often brings attention to serious issues that people can struggle with.
Recently, Staton's blog has taken a decidedly humanitarian turn, as he highlighted a troubled school in Brownsville, NY, then traveled to Europe to document the plight of Syrian refugees. Most recently, he interviewed several families who fled from Syria and are now applying for citizenship within the US, bringing attention to both their struggle in leaving their native homeland, as well as the stigmas and bigotry they currently face and struggle to overcome. If you are interested in this book, I highly recommend looking at Stanton's blog to get an idea of his work and the kinds of stories he tells.