The storytelling photographer

Brandon Stanton has a very unique talent. For his blog Humans of New York  he is setting out into the streets of New York every single day, armed with only his camera, asking people to let him take their portraits.
Doing so he somehow brings those people to share highly sensitive and very personal stories with him. The result is a moving and sometimes shocking collection of personal fate, day-to-day life stories, dreams, hopes and experiences.

It all started rather coincidentally. He lost his trading job in Chicago and spontaneously decided to take his camera and travel the East Coast of the United States.
Arriving in New York City, he was immediately hooked by the immense variety of people, so he started to take portraits of those strangers and put them online.
But it all started to really take off, once he began to combine his portraits with short biographical facts and stories about his subjects. Today Brandon’s pictures reach millions of people, all over the world.

During fall 2015, he decided to leave New York City for a bit, he wanted to document and share the stories of refugees who were making their way across Europe.
Brandon’s stories and pictures of refugees make you realize the full extent of the Syrian war and all its destruction.



© Brandon Stanton

“I didn’t really mind my parents getting divorced. I wasn’t mad at my father or anything. I was just like: ‘Dude, I get it. Relationships end. Just leave.’ My mom actually sent me to therapy because she thought I was handling it too well. “




© Brandon Stanton

“I’ve been so lucky to have two wonderful men in my life. My first husband died when I was 55. For six months, I did nothing but work, come home, feed the cats, and go to sleep. It got to the point where I realized that I was either going to rejoin the living, or I was going to crawl in a hole and die. I mentioned to a friend that I was about ready to ‘get out there’ again, and she told me about a friend named Ted that she wanted me to meet. He was also a widower. I never thought I’d fall in love again. Certainly not that quickly. But Ted and I got along so well that two months later we were engaged. Ted has never felt threatened by my love for my first husband. On the ten-year anniversary of his death, Ted helped me organize a memorial. And that meant so much to me. But he doesn’t come to Mets’ games with me. He’s a Yankees fan.”




© Brandon Stanton

“It’s hard to talk to girls. I try not to look at them as girls, and just look at them as people, but it’s hard. Because they look like girls.”




© Brandon Stanton

“What do you feel most guilty about?” – “My mom doesn’t know that I’m married to a man”.




© Brandon Stanton

“I’m homosexual and I’m afraid about what my future will be and that people won’t like me.”




© Brandon Stanton

“The army searched our house six times. The first two times they knocked on the door. The next four times they kicked in the door in the middle of the night. They hit my wife. They shocked me with an electric baton. And my children had to witness all of this. The psychology of my children changed before my eyes. I stopped getting hugs and kisses. They used to watch cartoons and play normal games. Now they only played games related to war. They’d chase each other around the house, shouting: ‘I’m going to kill you!’ I tried buying them an educational kit with cardboard squares and triangles and circles. When I left the room, they broke the shapes and turned them into guns.” (Hegyeshalom, Hungary)




© Brandon Stanton

“A friend called me at work and told me that a sniper had shot my youngest brother. I rushed to the clinic and he was lying there with a bandage on his head. I unwrapped the bandage to help treat the wound with alcohol, and small pieces of brain were stuck to it. The doctor told me: ‘Unless you get him to Damascus, he will die.’ I panicked. The road to Damascus went straight through Raqqa and was very dangerous. It took ten hours, because we could only take back roads and we had to drive very far out of the way. My brother was in the back seat, and after a very short time he started to vomit bile. Water was pouring from his eyes. I didn’t know what to do. I was so scared. I thought for sure he was dying. But somehow I got him to the hospital. He’s paralyzed now and his speech is slow. His memory is OK. He can remember old things. He needs an operation in his eye. We used to do everything together, and now he can’t do anything. He can only move his hand. I’m trying to get him to Germany because I hear that maybe the doctors there can help him.”

(Lesvos, Greece)

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