Skip to Main Content

Humans of New York- How a Photographer Set Out to Capture a City

Posted by Brian Berg Google+


One of our favorite resources for a deeper look into the lives of New Yorkers has become the popular photo blog, Humans of New York (HONY).  If you’ve never heard of the HONY craze, you may be one of a handful, as it has become a worldwide phenomenon with followers spread across the globe.  With over 7 million likes on Facebook, the photo blog has taken the world by storm. 


Started in 2010 by New York Photographer Brandon Stanton, HONY began as a project by the artist to create a collection of 10,000 photos of New Yorkers in their daily lives and to plot the photos on an interactive map.  But as Stanton states on his website “I worked for several months with this goal in mind, but somewhere along the way, HONY began to take on a much different character.”


Along with the photos, Stanton began to compile quotes and stories of the subject’s life.  The result has become a beautiful portrait of the inhabitants in one of the most populated and diverse cities in the world.  New York has long been known as a cultural melting pot, manifesting itself in scores of communities representing virtually every nation on earth, each preserving its identity.  Little Italy and Chinatown date back to the mid-19th cent.  African Americans from the South began to migrate to Harlem after 1910, and in the 1940s large numbers of Puerto Ricans and other Hispanic-Americans began to settle in what is now known as Spanish Harlem.  Since the 1980s New York City has undergone substantial population growth, primarily due to new immigration from Latin America (especially the Dominican Republic), Asia, Jamaica, Haiti, the Soviet Union and Russia, and Africa.  Each of these unique cultures is thoroughly represented through the HONY project.


In addition to the photo blog/website, Facebook & Twitter pages, HONY has created a book of New Yorkers photos and stories that quickly reached the best sellers list.  The subjects of HONY daily photos range from sad stories that show the struggle of daily life in poverty to stories and photos that instantly bring a smile to the readers face such as a recent photo that showed  3 young girls in Harlem dressed in matching outfits and smiles that could light up all 5 boroughs.   


Join the craze and check out Humans of New York on Facebook at