Humans of New York
In the summer of 2010 a photographer by the name of Brandon Stanton set out to take pictures of 10,000 New Yorkers and plot them on a map. He wanted to create a visual catalog of the beauty and diversity of the city’s inhabitants. But after a couple of months something changed.
Stanton began to include quotes and short stories from those he photographed and created a blog. Over one million people began to follow his project on social media. Stanton then published a book based on his blog which became a #1 New York Times bestseller.
Why did Stanton’s work so powerfully capture people’s heart and imagination? I suspect it’s because he did more than show us the diversity of New Yorkers. He revealed our common humanity. In a world that is profoundly divided Stanton’s work helps us to see and feel our common heartbeat. I found his work both beautiful and hopeful.
Right now Stanton is expanding his work, taking a global tour with the United Nations. His pictures and stories from Iraq and Syria are putting a human face on conflicts that seem distant to many of us, relegated to television newscasts interspersed with commercials for luxuries that many of Stanton’s subjects cannot begin to imagine. But I’m hopeful that Stanton’s work will do more than help us to see things differently. I hope that his work will engender in us a deeper sense of compassion for our broken human family, a compassion that leads to action.