In 2010, an ambitious young man squeezed everything he owned into 2 suitcases and moved to New York with a camera and a dream.
New York is a people watcher’s dream. The city is busting at the seams with people from every culture; it’s a canvas smeared with every color imaginable. The fashion, the language, and energy- are electrifying. Everyone seems to be in a rush to get somewhere.
Mesmerized by the New York inhabitants, an immense wealth of interesting photographic subjects, Brandon Stanton decided that he would take 10,000 photos of 10,000 of different New Yorkers.
Stanton was a mere amateur at photography. People laughed and asked him what on earth he was doing. But for 6 months he kept his head up. Every day he walked the streets, snapped photos, and published them online. And nothing happened. There was no response from the public; No-one had interest in his photos.
Frustrated but driven, Stanton persisted. One day he decided to publish his photos to Facebook along with quotes or stories attached to his photographic subjects. He created a page and titled it Humans of New York.
Doubtless, you’ve heard some of these stories. Soon after the page was created, Stanton had 1 or 2 new followers every day. People weren’t excited about pictures. Anyone can take pictures. But pictures paired with real stories are almost irresistible. He began conducting short interviews with the people he photographed and their stories and their photo compose Humans of New York. Soon, Stanton had a massive following.
Today, Humans of New York has over 17 million followers on Facebook alone. Humans of New York started with a goal to catalogue the inhabitants of New York, and is now adored by people all over the world.
Brandon Stanton, I think, is the proverbial entrepreneur. He’s someone who didn’t give up. He pivoted his idea and didn’t allow the apathetic spirit of those around him to blind him from seeing, capturing, and celebrating peoples’ stories. Today, he continues doing what he loves most – sharing the stories of New Yorkers along with incredible photos.