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
Owner Brandon Stanton
Launched September 4, 2010; 5 years ago (2010-09-04)
Alexa rank
Decrease 67,153
Current status Online

Humans of New York (HONY) is a blog and bestselling book featuring street portraits and interviews collected on the streets of New York City. Started in November 2010 by photographer Brandon Stanton, Humans of New York has developed a large following through social media. The blog has over 16 million followers on Facebook[1] and around 4.7 million followers on Instagram as of January 2016.[2] As of February 1, 2015, the Humans of New York book had spent 29 weeks on the New York Times Bestsellers list.[3] Inspired by Humans of New York, hundreds of ‘Humans of’ blogs have developed around the world.[4]

Stanton has collected portraits in nearly twenty different countries, including Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan.[5] In January 2015, he interviewed U.S. President Barack Obama in the Oval Office.[6] In August 2015, Stanton took his photo blog to Pakistan and Iran to capture the stories of the people living there.[7] Stanton once again took to the photo blog abroad, in September 2015, travelling to Europe to cover and share the stories of refugees fleeing war in parts of the Middle East.[8] The travels to Europe covering the refugee crisis was in partnership with the United Nations UNHCR[8] in efforts to get his viewers and the world to engage in an emotional experience, hoping these stories would resonate with them more than reading statistics.


Brandon Stanton started his blog in November 2010.[9][10] 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.[11] 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.[12] As of March 2016, Humans of New York has more than seventeen million likes on its Facebook page.[13] He also has over three hundred thousand followers on Twitter.[citation needed]


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.

On August 7, 2014, Stanton began a 50-day "World Tour" in partnership with the United Nations collecting portraits and stories in twelve countries: Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Ukraine, India, Nepal, Vietnam, and Mexico.[14]

In August 2015, Stanton traveled to Pakistan for the photo blog.[15][16]

Stanton concluded his series on Pakistan by bringing attention to Syeda Ghulam Fatima's efforts to help Pakistanis who work for one of the approximately 20,000 brickworks. These brickworkers, who originally enter into contract to work for a short period of time in a brick kiln, eventually end up owing a lot of debt that they cannot repay, effectively making them bonded laborers.[17]

In September 2015, Stanton embarked on a two-week journey to Europe, in association with the UNHCR, to cover the stories of migrants and refugees entering Europe for asylum from their homelands, most of which are war zones.[8] This resulted in much support, donations, and awareness.[18] Stanton has stated that he had to use a new type of interviewing style for these subjects, because he did not think it pertinent to ask about their past or future.[19]


Humans of New York[edit]

On October 15, 2013, the Humans of New York book,[20] which is based on the eponymous photography blog, was released. Published by St. Martin's Press, the book sold 30,000 copies in preorders.[21] Ahead of the release, Stanton was interviewed by Bill Weir for an ABC News Nightline story titled "'Humans of New York': Photog Gone Viral".[22][23]

As of January 20, 2015, the book had been on The New York Times Best Seller list for 28 weeks; it reached the number 1 position on The New York Times Non-Fiction Best Sellers of 2013 on the week of November 3, 2013, and again on the week of December 21, 2014.[24][25]

Humans of New York: Stories book[edit]

On October 12, 2015, Stanton released his second Humans of New York book, focused more on the stories collected in his work. The book debuted at number one on The New York Times Book Review Best Sellers Nonfiction List dated November 1, 2015.[26]


“Humans of New York” has launched a number of highly successful charitable efforts. Following Hurricane Sandy, Stanton traveled to the hardest-hit neighborhoods in New York City to photograph the residents, volunteers, and first responders who had lived through the destruction. Stanton then partnered with Tumblr founder David Karp to launch an Indiegogo fundraiser for the victims of the storm. The original goal of the fundraiser was $100,000. The campaign raised $86,000 within the first 12 hours, and reached a total of $318,530 by the end of the campaign. All of the proceeds went to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, a family-run charity that played a major role in the Hurricane Sandy Relief efforts.[27]

In 2013, HONY launched another Indiegogo campaign entitled “Bring Richard Home” to help news cameraman Duane Watkins and his wife Kristen raise the funds to adopt an orphan from Ethiopia. The goal of $26,000 and was exceeded in 90 minutes. The campaign raised a total of $83,000, and the excess funds went to an educational fund for the adopted boy and his sister.[28]

In 2014, Stanton photographed a boy, Rumi, whose dream was to own his own horse. Stanton set up an Indiegogo campaign to send the boy and his family on a vacation to a ranch in Colorado. Stanton donated $300 to the fundraiser and set the goal at $7,000.[29] Within 15 minutes of posting the fundraiser on his Facebook page, the goal was met; the campaign eventually raised $32,167. After paying for Rumi and his family to go on the trip, Stanton donated the remaining $20,000 to the New York Therapeutic Riding Center, an organization that helps provide horse rides to children with disabilities.

Stanton, Mrs. Lopez, and Vidal visit the White House on February 5, 2015

In January 2015, Stanton photographed and interviewed Vidal, a 14-year-old boy from Brownsville, Brooklyn. Vidal said that his greatest influence was his principal at Mott Hall Bridges Academy, Mrs. Lopez. Stanton later met with Principal Nadia Lopez and her Director of Programs, Ms. Achu, and decided to set up an Indiegogo fundraiser that will provide each incoming 6th grade class at Mott Hall Bridges Academy a chance to visit Harvard University. Set up on January 22, 2015, the initiative's original goal was $100,000, enough for one trip for three different classes over three years; it was met 45 minutes after the fund's start. The fund was advertised on subsequent posts depicting the academy's staff and aspects of Vidal's personal life. Two further goals, one for summer programs, and another for a scholarship fund (named The Vidal Scholarship Fund), were made as a result of the significant attention and rapid pace of donations that the fund received. When the Indiegogo fundraiser ended on February 10, 2015, it had accumulated $1,419,509 in donations from 51,476 contributors. As a result of the campaign, Stanton, Mrs. Lopez, and Vidal were invited to visit the White House on February 5, 2015.[30][31]

Later in 2015, Stanton visited Pakistan and Iran for a traveling photography series during the month of August. He concluded the section on Pakistan by highlighting Syeda Ghulam Fatima, leader of the Bonded Labour Liberation Front. The organisation is based out of Lahore, Pakistan and works to free bonded laborers who, due to predatory loan practices, work at brick kilns with no compensation. In fewer than 12 hours, $1,000,000.00 was raised through an Indiegogo fundraiser by 40,000 donors. The campaign is currently still open and has raised over $2,340,000.00.


In late 2012, fashion label DKNY approached Stanton with an offer to buy 300 HONY photos for use in window displays "around the world."[32][33] DKNY offered $15,000 for the photos. Stanton counterproposed, asking for more money, but DKNY declined.[32][33] In February 2013, a fan noticed HONY's photos in a DKNY store in Bangkok, despite the lack of consent from Stanton.[32][33] After learning of the infringement, Stanton publicly asked DKNY to donate $100,000 in his name to the Bedford-Stuyvesant chapter of the YMCA.[32][34] 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.[32][34] Stanton started an Indiegogo campaign to raise the remaining $75,000, and succeeded in raising an additional $103,000.[33]


  1. ^ "Humans of New York Facebook Page". Retrieved 24 November 2015. 
  2. ^ "Humans of New York Instagram Page". Retrieved 12 October 2015. 
  3. ^ "Best Sellers – The New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 October 2015. 
  4. ^ "THE MAN BEHIND HUMANS OF NEW YORK: BRANDON STANTON". Retrieved 12 October 2015. 
  5. ^ Kweifio-Okai, Carla. "Humans of New York blogger hits the road for world tour". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 October 2015. 
  6. ^ Grinberg, France, & Hetter, Emanuella, Lisa Respers, & Katia. "Obama meets boy who inspired $1 million fundraiser". CNN. Retrieved 12 October 2015. 
  7. ^ "Humans of New York". 
  8. ^ a b c "UNHCR – Refugees Daily". Retrieved 2015-11-12. 
  9. ^ Maloney, Jennifer. "In Focus: City's Humans". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 1, 2012. 
  10. ^ Stanton, Brandon (May 3, 2013). "Humans of New York: Behind the Lens". The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 15, 2013. 
  11. ^ "The photographer behind 'Humans of New York'". CNN. October 18, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  12. ^ "How Humans of New York Went Viral on Facebook". Inc. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  13. ^ Dumas, Daisy (15 March 2016). "Humans of New York creator Brandon Stanton pens open letter to Donald Trump". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 March 2016. 
  14. ^ Meghan Keneally (August 12, 2014). "Humans of New York Photographer Travels to Iraq With the UN". ABC News. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  15. ^ Corinne Abrams and Qasim Nauman, Humans of New York Helps Humans in Pakistan The Wall Street Journal Aug 24, 2015
  16. ^ Ramsha Jamal, Humans of New York blog offers a fresh perspective on Pakistan The Guardian 21 August 2015
  17. ^ "Millions donated to free Pakistan's bonded laborers – CNN". CNN. Retrieved 2015-11-12. 
  18. ^ "Why The Humans Of New York Refugee Coverage Is Such a Punch In The Gut". Yahoo!. Retrieved 2015-11-17. 
  19. ^ BBC News (October 20, 2014). "Humans of New York photographer Brandon Stanton goes global - BBC News". Retrieved August 26, 2016 – via YouTube. 
  20. ^ Stanton, Brandon (2013). Humans of New York. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-1-250-03882-1. 
  21. ^ David Shapiro Jr. (October 14, 2013). "Human by Human, a Following Grows". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  22. ^ "'Humans of New York': Photo Gone Viral". Video – ABC News. October 11, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  23. ^ "'Humans of New York' a Photographic Melting Pot of the City". ABC News. October 14, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  24. ^ Julie Bosman (November 6, 2013). "'Humans of New York', by Brandon Stanton". The New York Times. Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  25. ^ Cowles, Gregory (November 3, 2013). "Best Sellers – The New York Times : HARDCOVER NONFICTION (November 03, 2013)". The New York Times. Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  26. ^ New York Times Book Review Best Sellers Nonfiction List dated November 1, 2015
  27. ^ "HONY & Tumblr Hurricane Sandy Fundraiser". Indiegogo. Retrieved February 28, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Bringing Richard home, the story of a crowd-funded adoption". CNN. November 1, 2013. Retrieved January 31, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Let's Send Rumi on a Wild West Adventure!". Indiegogo. Retrieved October 29, 2013. 
  30. ^ Grinberg, Emmanuella; France, Lisa Respers; Hetter, Katia (February 6, 2015). "Obama meets boy who inspired $1 million fundraiser". CNN. Retrieved February 8, 2015. 
  31. ^ Schulman, Kori (February 5, 2015). "From the Streets of Brownsville, Brooklyn to the Oval Office". White House. Retrieved February 8, 2015. 
  32. ^ a b c d e Adams, Rebecca (February 25, 2013). "Humans Of New York Photos Accidentally Stolen By DKNY". The Huffington Post. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  33. ^ a b c d Humans of New York (November 10, 2012). "Let's Send Kids To YMCA Summer Camp". Indiegogo. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  34. ^ a b Jalabi, Raya (February 25, 2013). "DKNY to pay $25,000 after using photographs without permission |". The Guardian. London. Retrieved February 26, 2013. 

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