“What’s your favorite thing about your mother?”
“She loves life more than anyone I’ve ever known. I hope she doesn’t mind me telling you this, but recently she’s had some health problems. And her health got so bad at one point, she called me and said: ‘I was starting to wonder if there was any reason to go on. But then I had the most delicious pear!”
“You can’t wait for the perfect idea to follow your dreams”
Creator and photographer behind Humans of New York
What is Humans Of New York?
Launched in November 2010, HONY is a remarkable photoblog and bestselling book featuring street portraits and interviews collected in New York City. Achieving incredible popularity, reaching over 12 million followers on Facebook and gathering over 6000 portraits of New Yorkers, HONY captures every shade of human nature through honest visuals and snappy words.
Whether tales of poverty, love, suffering or humour, the thousands of comments under each photo reflect the powerful effect HONY has had on the world, with the public’s words revealing a rather more charitable, loving and inspiring human spirit than the media may have us believe.
A Boy With A Big Dream…
HONY was created by Brandon Stanton, a self-professed ‘bad photographer’ who left the finance industry to pursue his dreams, risking the wrath of his parents to try to forge a career which would afford him ‘time rather than money’. He has, in fact, achieved both in tremendous fashion.
What Of The High Points?
In the process, Stanton has interviewed Barack Obama on how he deals with adversity and garnered a Harvard Fund for disadvantaged NYC children which allows them to expand their idea of their own potential by visiting Harvard. The fund currently stands at over $1.5 million, with donations from the public stemming solely from the powerful picture below.
“Who’s influenced you the most in your life?” “My principal, Ms. Lopez.” “How has she influenced you?” “When we get in trouble, she doesn’t suspend us. She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us. And she tells us that each time somebody fails out of school, a new jail cell gets built. And one time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter.’
Stanton’s Speech To Harvard
Stanton’s speech about his incredible journey is only 20 minutes long, the rest of the time being comprised of questions from the audience. If you don’t have time to listen to the whole speech and would like inspiration about why you should follow your dreams and design a life which fits your ideals, some of the high points can be found around minute 12 here.
Some Of The Best HONY Snaps…
To see some of my favourite HONY snaps, scroll down. They are, quite simply, amazing.
“On January 19th, I met a young man on the street named Vidal, and I asked him to tell me about the person who had influenced him the most in his life. He told me about his principal, Ms. Lopez, and he explained how she had taught him that he mattered. Over the next two weeks, I learned the story of Ms. Lopez and her school, Mott Hall Bridges Academy. By hearing the stories of MHBA students and educators, my eyes were opened to the unique challenges facing a school in an under-served community. Ms. Lopez taught me that before a student is ready for academic training, they must be made to understand that they deserve success. And that can be the hardest battle in education. Ms. Lopez always said that there was no place her students did not belong. Recently we received an invitation that proved just that’
“What’s your greatest struggle right now?’
“Right after I lost vision in my eye, I was so bad at walking that I ran into a girl eating ice cream, and knocked her cone out of her hand. She screamed: ‘Are you blind!?!?’ I turned to her and said: ‘I am blind actually, I’m so sorry, I’ll buy you a new cone.’ And she said: ‘Oh my God! I’m so sorry! Don’t worry! It’s no problem at all! I’ll buy another one.’ So we walked into the ice cream store together, and the clerk said: ‘I heard the whole thing. Ice cream is free.’
“I’m glad I had a daughter. Ever since my grandmother died, I’ve needed the female energy in my life. It’s good energy. I mean, when things go wrong, another man can tell you that everything is going to be OK. But not like a woman can.’
“When I told my mom that I was going to rehab, she was about to catch a flight to her 40th High School Reunion. I told her: ‘I guess you won’t be bragging about me to your friends.’ She said: ‘Actually, I’ve never been prouder of you.’