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Brandon Stanton – Humans of New York

November 18, 2013

83. Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton (2013)

Length: 304 pages
Genre: Photography

Started/Finished: 16 October 2013

Where did it come from? Ordered new from Amazon.
Why do I have it? I’m a huge fan of his website.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 16 October 2013. (Yeah, so, 0 days. Didn’t want to wait!)

Each picture can tell
a more involved story than
a mere thousand words.

Summary: Brandon Stanton lost his job as a stock trader in Chicago in 2010, and began traveling the country, taking photos of the various places he went. When he got to New York City, the thing that most inspired him was the people, and he began taking portraits of people on the street. This book is a collection of 400 of these photographs, including many not previously posted on his blog.

Review: I don’t remember exactly where I first came across Humans of New York – people sharing the photos on Facebook, I’d guess. But after seeing a few of them, I decided to investigate, and since that point have been an avid follower of Stanton’s work. (You can check it out for yourself at the HONY Tumblr or Facebook page.) Although he’s not a professionally trained photographer, he gets some stunning shots (this one gets a full two-page spread in the book, and it is even more beautiful in print), and even the ones that may not be technically perfect are still lovely due the emotion, and the diversity, and the humanity that he manages to capture in each and every one of his subjects. The best part about this book is not even the photos, but the way that the photos capture New York City’s incredible diversity while still reminding us that each of Stanton’s subjects – and by extension, every person we might pass on the street in the course of a day – has their own story, their own struggles, their own joys and sorrows. The only reason that I’m docking this book half a star is because the captions of many of the photos are relatively short. Relatively recently, Stanton has begun captioning each of the photos on his website with a quote from the subject, the result of a conversation, and these quotes (and Stanton’s gift at connecting with strangers in such a way to elicit them) are what really sets the HONY project apart. But since many of the photos in this book are from earlier in the project, I missed the longer and more elaborate captions. But still: absolutely gorgeous book, and one that I am so pleased to own for myself. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Not all blogs make for good books, and not all coffee table books have something of substance to say along with all the pretty pictures, but in both cases, Humans of New York is the exception to the rule. Definitely recommended for photography buffs and New Yorkers, but also for, y’know, people.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Take Me Away Reading
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: I got my first camera in January 2010.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2013 10:18 am

    I love HONY and hope to be given this at Christmas!

    • November 29, 2013 10:20 am

      Gavin – I’m definitely giving at least one copy of this as a present this Christmas; possibly more! Hopefully Santa will bring you your very own copy. :)

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