Humans of New York

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Humans of New York
Web address
Slogan New York City, one story at a time.
Commercial? No
Type of site photoblog
Users 7.5 million (FB, as of July 8th 2014)
Owner Brandon Stanton
Launched November 2010

Humans of New York (acronym HONY) is a photoblog and bestselling book featuring street portraits and interviews collected in New York City. Started in November 2010 by photographer Brandon Stanton, over 6,000 portraits have been gathered thus far.[1] Stanton, who grew up outside of Atlanta and attended the University of Georgia, came to New York after a three-year stint as a bond trader in Chicago.Having started his career as a bond trader in the year 2008, Brandon Stanton decided to pursue his passion of photography professionally after he lost his job in 2010. He started to take candid portraits on streets which became a hit on his Facebook page. Brandon is most known for his photo blog Humans of New York (HONY), started in 2010..[2] Humans of New York has developed a large following through social media, and has over 7.5 million followers on Facebook as of the 8th of July, 2014.[3] During a speech at New York's 2013 Social Media Week, Tumblr founder David Karp described Humans of New York as his favorite blog on Tumblr.[4] At the 2013 Webby Awards, Humans of New York won the Webby for "Best Use of Photography" and the People's Voice Award for "Best Cultural Blog."[5] In December 2013, Stanton was named one of Time Magazine's 30 Under 30 People Changing The World.[6]


Brandon Stanton, a 29-year old self-taught photographer, started Humans of New York in November 2010.[1][7] Initially, he planned to gather 10,000 portraits of New Yorkers and plot them on a map of the city. The project soon evolved, however, when Stanton started having conversations with his subjects and including small quotes and stories alongside his photographs.[8] With this new format, the blog began to grow rapidly. In a matter of months, HONY became so popular that when Stanton accidentally updated his Facebook status by tapping his phone's Q key, his post garnered 73 likes within a minute.[9] As of June 2014, Humans of New York has over six million likes on its Facebook page.[10]

DKNY Dispute, 2012[edit]

In late 2012, fashion label DKNY approached Stanton with an offer to buy 300 HONY photos for use in window displays "around the world."[11][12][13] Stanton turned them down, but in February 2013, a fan noticed HONY's photos in a DKNY store in Bangkok, Thailand.[11][13] After learning of the infringement, Stanton publicly asked DKNY to donate $100,000 in his name to the Bedford-Stuyvesant chapter of the YMCA.[11][14] The donation request was shared over 40,000 times on Facebook, and after heavy pressure on social media sites, DKNY issued a public apology and agreed to donate $25,000.[11][14] Stanton started an Indiegogo campaign to raise the remaining $75,000, and succeeded in raising an additional $103,000.[13]


In December 2012, Stanton spent two weeks collecting street portraits in Iran. Following the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, Stanton spent the week collecting street portraits in Boston. During the 2014 SxSW conference, he spent a week in Austin, Texas, where the conference is held, to gather portraits of Texans.

Humans of New York book[edit]

On October 15, 2013, the Humans of New York book, which is based on the eponymous photography blog was released. Published by St. Martin's Press, the book had already sold 30,000 copies as preorders.[15] In an interview to CNN he also talked his next release, a children's book called Little Humans, which is due for release next year.[8] Ahead of the release he was also interviewed by with Bill Weir, for ABC News's Nightline news story titled, "'Humans of New York': Photog Gone Viral"; this incidentally was also Weir's last story for the program.[16][17]

An ambition driven by passion, with a vision to create a photographic census of one of the biggest and most renowned cities of the world, New York, Brandon Stanton set out on the streets,clicked portraits of thousands of inhabitants of New York in his camera and covered thousands of miles on foot, capturing people, emotions and moments.

The book reached number 1 position on The New York Times Non-Fiction Best Sellers of 2013 on the week of November 3, 2013.[18][19]


Brandon has created a new different outlook on his popular book and blog. “Humans of New York” has become more than just a photo census of people in New York City but a global act of kindness and charity efforts. Megan reports that Brandon photographed a six year old named Rumi and his mother one morning in Washington Square Park in early August. Rumi had been selling cowboy supplies and after a whole afternoon he sold one thing that earned him $1. Stanton then came up with the idea to send him on a Wild West Adventure. So he set up an Indiegogo campaign and titled it "Let's Send Rumi on a Wild West Adventure!” He then donated $300 to the fundraiser and set the goal at $7,000. Stanton posted the fundraiser on Facebook and within 15 minutes the goal was met. His original post on Facebook had received over 45,000 likes and 6,000 shares.[20] Indiegogo points out that the trip would send Rumi and his parents on an all expenses paid for trip to Drowsy Water Ranch in Colorado which is about 90 miles outside of Denver. The fundraiser raised $32,167 in donations. $20,000 that was left over after paying for Rumi's trip was donated to the New York Therapeutic Riding Center, an organization that helps provide horse rides to children with disabilities; also an organization that is very important to Rumi and his family.

According to the Daily Dot, following Hurricane Sandy, Brandon Stanton traveled to the hardest hit neighborhoods in New York City to take pictures of the victims, volunteers and first responders that refused to be kept down by the destruction. The Huffington Post adds that he then partnered with Tumblr, a blogging and social networking website, and it's creator David Karp, under the name of his blog, Humans of New York, and launched an Indiegogo fundraising initiative for the victims of the storm. The photos that Brandon took of the devastation were used to encourage people to donate to the cause. The original goal of the fundraiser was $100,000. The campaign raised $86,000 within the first 12 hours. Donors received Tumblr merchandise and/or Humans of New York Prints depending on how much money they donated.[21] Indiegogo recorded that the fundraiser raised $318,530 in proceeds by the end of the campaign. All of the proceeds were given to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, a family-run charity that played a major role in the Hurricane Sandy Relief efforts. Tunnel to Towers is also highly acknowledged by many New York City officials. The money was used to provide the necessary resources for those in need.The Daily Dot acknowledges Brandon's photographs of the New York citizens after the storm because they show a different side of victims that goes unnoticed to the public due to how they're portrayed by the media. Although the media shows the victim's heartache, shock and despair, Stanton's photos show ordinary people that won't allow a storm to deter their faith and personalities and they also evoke how powerful individuality and humanity is.

The Mashable confirms that on October 29, 2013, HONY launched another Indiegogo campaign entitled “Bring Richard Home” for Duane Watkins and his wife Kristen that wanted to adopt a son from Ethiopia. Stanton met Duane while he was being reported on his new popular blog turned bestselling book, Humans of New York. Duane had been a part of the camera crew that was recording the segment on Stanton.[21] Megan Griffo reports that Duane and Kristen had been unable to conceive for years and recently adopted their seven year old daughter, Chaltu, from Ethiopia. Stanton wanted their story to be posted on the blog, but before agreeing Duane asked him if he'd help him and his wife raise money to adopt their son Richard from Ethiopia. Stanton agreed instantly, created the Indiegogo page and posted it on his Facebook. CNN notes that the goal was set at $26,000 and had been exceeded in 90 minutes. Indiegogo says that "Bring Richard Home" was one of the fastest-funded campaigns in the website's history, having raised money from thousands of people from 41 countries and from others that decided to contribute even after the goal was met. By the end of the campaign $83,000 was the total contributions. Majority of the money raised was by increments of $10. Duane said, "That kindness is too small a word to describe what their family experienced the day they met Brandon Stanton."[22] According to the Indiegogo campaign site for "Bring Richard Home" all additional money received went to the educational fund for Chaltu and Richard.


Hundreds of blogs have been inspired by HONY, including Humans of Williams (College), [23] Humans of the Armed Forces,[24] Humans of Kolkata,[25] Portraits Montreal,[26]Humans of Peel, [27] Humans of San Diego,[28] Humans of Dundee,[29] Humans of Yangon,[30] Humans of State College,[31] Humans of Williamsport,[32] Humans of Biotechnology High School, Humans of Townsend Harris High School, Humans of Clark University,[33] Humans of Bronx Science,[34] Humans of Stuyvesant, Humans of Columbia Secondary, Humans of the Fiji Islands,[35] Humans of Vancouver, Humans of Francis Lewis High School, Humans of Brooklyn Tech, Humans of Oslo, Humans of Tel Aviv,[36] Humans of D.C., Humans of Appalachia,[37] Humans of Lebanon, Humans of Karachi, Humans of Beirut, Humans of AUB,[38] Humans of India, Humans of Philadelphia,[33] Humans of Sydney, Humans of Montana, Humans of Asia, Portraits of Boston, Humans of London, Humans of Munich,[39] Humans of Vienna, Humans of Melbourne, Humans of Singapore, Humans of Copenhagen, Humans of Rome, Humans of Dalton, Humans of LaGuardia, Humans of Buenos Aires, Humans of Paris, Humans of Mamaroneck, Humans of Syracuse, Humans of Dublin, Humans of Jerusalem, Humans of Safed, Humans of Kanaky, Humans of Tehran, Humans of UNIS, Humans of Isfahan, Humans of New Delhi,[40] Humans of Lucknow,[41] Faces of Andover,[42] Humans of Lawrenceville,[43] Humans of BBC and Humans of Goldstein, Humans of New Haven,[44] Lizard People of New York, [45] Humans of Belfast,[46] Humans of Seoul,[47] Humans of Jinju,[48] Humans of BTV, Humans of Switzerland[49] and two in Armenia (Humans of Yerevan,[50] and Humans of Armenia [51]). May 2014 saw the first notable blog dedicated to a fictional location, Humans of Westeros, a tribute to the setting of George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire.[52] A project called Humans of Planet Earth[53] (HOPE) aims to regroup 100 photographers from 100 locations, to capture 10000 portraits of people from around the globe. The collective already includes 89 photographers from over 60 locations.



  1. ^ a b Maloney, Jennifer. "In Focus: City's Humans". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 5/1/12. 
  2. ^ Goodyear, Sarah. "A 'Photographic Census' Captures New York's Characters". The Atlantic Cities Blog. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  3. ^ "HONY Facebook Page". 
  4. ^ "Here's the Tumblr Founder's Favorite Tumblr". Inc Magazine. Retrieved 3/01/2013. 
  5. ^ "Best Use of Photography". The Webby Awards Gallery. Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  6. ^ "Time 30 Under 30". Time Magazine. Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  7. ^ Stanton, Brandon (05/03/2013). "Humans of New York: Behind the Lens". Huffington Post. Retrieved May 15, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "The photographer behind 'Humans of New York'". CNN. October 18, 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  9. ^ "How Humans of New York Went Viral on Facebook". Inc. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  10. ^ "HONY Facebook Page". Humans of New York. Retrieved April 20, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c d Adams, Rebecca (2013-02-25). "Humans Of New York Photos Accidentally Stolen By DKNY". Retrieved 2013-02-27. 
  12. ^ "Timeline Photos". Facebook. Retrieved 2013-02-27. 
  13. ^ a b c Humans of New York (2012-11-10). "Let's Send Kids To YMCA Summer Camp". Indiegogo. Retrieved 2013-02-27. 
  14. ^ a b Jalabi, Raya (2013-02-25). "DKNY to pay $25,000 after using photographs without permission | Art and design |". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  15. ^ David Shapiro Jr. (Oct 14, 2013). "Human by Human, a Following Grows". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  16. ^ "'Humans of New York': Photog Gone Viral". Video - ABC News. 10/11/2013. Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  17. ^ "'Humans of New York' a Photographic Melting Pot of the City". ABC News. 2013-10-14. Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  18. ^ Julie Bosman (November 6, 2013). "‘Humans of New York,’ by Brandon Stanton". New York Times. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  19. ^ Cowles, Gregory (November 3, 2013). "Best Sellers - The New York Times : HARDCOVER NONFICTION (November 03, 2013)". New York Times. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  20. ^ "Let's Send Rumi on a Wild West Adventure!". Indiegogo. Retrieved 2013-10-29. 
  21. ^ a b "HONY & Tumblr Hurricane Sandy Fundraiser". Indiegogo. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  22. ^ "Bringing Richard home, the story of a crowd-funded adoption". CNN. November 1, 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-31. 
  23. ^ Humans of Williams
  24. ^ Humans of the Armed Forces
  25. ^ Humans of Kolkata
  26. ^ Portraits of Montreal
  27. ^ Humans of Peel
  28. ^ Humans of San Diego
  29. ^ Humans of Dundee
  30. ^ The Humans of Yangon
  31. ^ Humans of State College
  32. ^ Humans of Williamsport
  33. ^ a b "Humans of Clark University". Retrieved 13 March 2014. 
  34. ^ Humans of Bronx Science
  35. ^ Humans of the Fiji Islands
  36. ^ Humans of Tel Aviv
  37. ^ Humans of Appalachia
  38. ^ Humans of AUB
  39. ^ "Humans of Munich". Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  40. ^ Humans of New Delhi
  41. ^ Humans of Lucknow
  42. ^ Faces of Andover, [ the HONY-inspired blog for the college-prep boarding school Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.
  43. ^ Humans of Lawrenceville
  44. ^ [1]
  45. ^ Humans of New Haven
  46. ^ Humans of Belfast
  47. ^ "Humans of Seoul". 
  48. ^ "Humans of Jinju". 
  49. ^ "Humans of Switzerland". 
  50. ^ Humans of Yerevan
  51. ^ Humans of Armenia
  52. ^ Humans of Westeros
  53. ^ HOPE

External links[edit]