Humans of New York Now a Number One NY Times Bestseller

“This is like one thousand pages!”

“Hey there. I’m Brandon. I get really passionate about things.”

So begins the online biography of Brandon Stanton, visionary, photographer, and now New York Times #1 bestselling author behind Humans of New York.

HONY, as it’s affectionately known, is part blog (or Tumblr, if you’re picky like that), part living art installation, part community movement, and now a book. Out for just one week, Humans of New York (, $17.64), hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list overall, where it is now at #2, and remains at #1 for Hardcover Nonfiction.

Stanton started the Humans of New York project in 2010 out of a desire to construct what he calls a “photographic census” of the city:

“I thought it would be really cool to create an exhaustive catalogue of the city’s inhabitants, so I set out to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers and plot their photos on a map. I worked for several months with this goal in mind.”

Three years of walking up to people on the streets of the city, asking if he can publicly share their image and a quote, have helped Brandon build a HONY community that is literally millions of humans strong, depicting “New York City, one story at a time.”

He has 1.6 million Facebook fans, and an active community of commenters on that platform, many of whom share their own stories with each other, and visit the site every day to check in with the latest HONY subject.

“I’m in marketing.”

This week was also a busy one on the HONY site and in the Facebook community, where a collective $77,000 has been raised so far to help a New Yorker named Duane and his family adopt a second child from Ethiopia. A read through the HONY comments — unusually supportive and community-oriented for a Facebook page or a blog — makes this unsurprising, really. People seem to come to and and stay on HONY for the stories, for a sense of identification with the people in the pictures, and for the snippets of their lives they choose to share with Brandon for posting.

I discovered Humans of New York on Facebook, where a friend had liked or shared one of the stories, and I quickly became addicted to this daily dose of inspiration, education, a lot of humor, and always a relatable story. It’s one of my daily online destinations, which is rare these days. I spend a lot of time on the internet for work and for play, and as the years go by, it takes a lot more to capture my interest, and even more to keep it. Brandon does this because his work is all of the things I love in one — it’s a collection of tiny stories with a big impact, the pictures are great in the way that those taken by photographers who know how to connect with people always are, and it reflects life in one of my favorite places on the planet. It’s simple, accessible, poignant, and clearly a labor of love that has caught fire. It’s the best, in my opinion, of what the Internet can create and sustain, and I’m happy that so many people agree.

Brandon says he’s protective of his subjects, and he wants to maintain the site’s supportive tone as much as possible as it grows. What I love most about his approach is his willingness to experiment, to start something and to nurture it without a rigid plan, so I’ll end with some great advice from him. I think it’s worth considering for anyone who would like to create a project that can make a difference, no matter where you live:

“It went from photography to pictures of people; from pictures of people to portraits of people; from portraits of people to captions with the photograph. It went from captions to stories to where it is, fully formed, today — which is these very deep interactions with strangers on the streets.

Now, if I had waited until I had that idea to move here and just start, Humans of New York wouldn’t exist. It all emerged from a love of photography and a focus on the work, not a focus on this fully formed idea.

So my advice would be, don’t wait for perfect. Don’t wait for something to be fully formed in your head to start on it. Just start, and then work it out as you go.”


Image credit: Facebook

  • Humans of New York 1 of 15
  • HONY Helps Bring Richard Home 2 of 15

    When Brandon met Duane, a cameraman, while filming a news piece on HONY, Duane shared that he and his wife were waiting on adopting a second child from Ethiopia due to lack of funds for the process. Brandon threw the need out to the HONY community, who responded with thousands of dollars in Indiegogo donations — more than $77,000 as of this writing.  Duane's wife was understandably thrilled: 

    "When I called to tell her what was happening, I was met with silence. We've been together long enough that I knew to just let her cry." -Duane

    Image credit: Facebook

  • HONY Halloween 3 of 15

    Brandon's images reflect the daily lives of New Yorkers, and the city. This includes holidays like Halloween. (And some Dogs of New York from time to time, as well.) 


    "Yoda has detected a disturbance in The Force."

    Image credit: Facebook

  • HONY is a New York Times #1 Bestseller 4 of 15

    Brandon wrote on Facebook:

    If any of you drove by the Brooklyn Navy Yards at 6 PM last night, you may have seen a grown man sobbing in an empty parking lot. It completely blindsided me. I'd been watching O'Reilly's numbers the last couple weeks, and they were so incredibly high that I'd written this off as a possibility. It was a miracle, really. Thanks to every single one of you. We made this happen by the skin of our teeth, and every. single. book. counted. I'm deliriously happy to present, The #1 New York Times Bestselling — Humans of New York

    Image credit: Facebook

  • HONY â�� Today in Microfashion 5 of 15

    HONY's regular "Today in Microfashion" feature highlights the fashion choices of some of New York's smallest citizens. 

    Image credit: Facebook

  • HONY creator Brandon Stanton 6 of 15

    Sometimes the photographer becomes the story, especially when he has created something that goes far beyond the posting of simple images. 

    This video from Mashable — "This is the Human Behind Humans of New York" — tells more about Brandon and how and why he does his work. 

    Image credit: YouTube

  • HONY â�� Fun with Photoshop 7 of 15

    This gentleman told Brandon that he could use his image any way he wanted. Brandon opened it up to the HONY community

    Free signed book and a repost to the person who photoshops this man into the most awesome situation. Scenes can be magical, historical, and/or jurassic. Post your entries into the comment section. Entries cannot be offensive, insulting, OR pornographic. Bonus points for hilarity.

    I'm fond of the Doctor Who entry, but there are several great ones.
    Image credit: Facebook

  • Behind Humans of New York 8 of 15

    Brandon Stanton has dabbled in video on the site as well. Check out Humans of New York: Behind the Portraits on his YouTube channel. 


    Image credit: YouTube

  • HONY’s Fans 9 of 15

    HONY's devotees are enthusiastic, and fast. This image, posted on Facebook an hour before this writing, already has more than 13,000 likes and 627 shares. Here's the caption, this time about a tattoo: 

    "It's Chopin."
    "Why Chopin?"
    "My whole arm is covered with things that remind me of Poland."

  • More HONY Halloween awesome 10 of 15

    Brandon has no problem attracting dogs or babies, that's for sure. 


    "Robin smells a crime." 


    Image credit: Facebook

  • HONY Everywhere 11 of 15

    This image from a woman deployed to Afghanistan shows HONY's reach, far from the streets of New York. 

    Brandon, I have been in the army now for just over five years and I am currently on my second deployment to Afghanistan. My copy of HONY finally made it to my tiny base in the mountains of Afghanistan. I don't think anyone has ever been this happy while stationed over here. Your pictures are always the highlight of my day. Sending you my thanks and love from across the world. Ashli Bonner

    Image credit: Facebook

  • HONY on Relationships 12 of 15

    Some of the sweetest, saddest, funniest, and/or most touching stories on HONY are about relationships, in the quotes and in the pictures. 


    "He proposed to me in a cemetery."
    "Well, it sounds bad when you say it that way. It was a scenic cemetery. More of a lookout point, really. And there were all these neat headstones. It was her idea to go there, anyway."

    Image credit: Facebook

  • HONY on Parenting 13 of 15
    HONY on parenting

    Some of my favorite HONY posts are of moms and dads with their children. 


    "What's the hardest part about being a Dad?"
    "Probably just realizing that my time with him is going to run out."— with George Del Barrio.

    Image credit: Facebook

  • HONY — The Book 14 of 15
    HONY the book

    Stanton calls it "a celebration of individuality and a tribute to the spirit of New York City," making it a hardcover form of what he brings to my Facebook and Tumblr walls every day. The 75 stories he included had never been seen online before. 

    Image credit: Facebook

  • HONY and Storytelling 15 of 15
    HONY and story

    Brandon calls HONY a storytelling project, and that's the kind of perspective I find there every day. 


    "In 1969, my parents were sent to the countryside as part of the Cultural Revolution. Ask anyone from China, they will know what I'm talking about. I was only eight years old, and I lived alone in my house for three years. There was one other girl with me. She was eleven, and her parents had also been sent away. Nothing really seems like a struggle compared to that. I worked three jobs when I first moved here, while going to school. But even then it seemed like the hard days were behind me."

    Image credit: Facebook

Article Posted 3 years Ago

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