Why I Love Humans of New York
I’ve had this as a draft for the past three months because I could never figure out what I wanted to say. I hope this does it justice.
I can’t remember when I first came upon the HONY page, but it must have been at least a year and a half ago, since that’s when I started liking the photos according for Facebook. The idea is innovative and not so innovative. New York City has always been full of characters. But most of them don’t see themselves as characters. We are all unique, but most of us don’t realize how special we are until someone points it out to us. HONY does that. It hones in on what makes someone beautiful, funny, witty, etc. What makes them human, essentially. With one quote from the person, HONY gives us a glimpse into the life of someone we otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to.
Humans of New York is inspiring in and of itself. Capturing the essence of the human experience is a challenge that it constantly attempts to achieve. It celebrates being unique and different in a society that gets swept up in the idea of conformity. But what’s also inspiring is how it has become a community for others to celebrate those ideals as well. Sometimes, what makes the picture isn’t the picture itself, but the comments. Prayers of peace, satirical comments, questions about society, compliments on someone’s style. What started as a simple project about a guy taking photos of the people of New York, became a community rallying behind the beauty and uniqueness of what makes us human.
Branden Stanton is the creator of HONY. Just from his picture, you know he has a few stories to tell. And then I see he hailed from Georgia. And then I see he went to University of Georgia. And I instantly feel a connection solely based on a shared location. And then I see that even though he studied history, he didn’t pursue it and in fact, never did. From the stock market to photographer, he let his passion for adventure lead the way. He never let his fear of the unexpected keep him from chasing the spirit of adventure. It’s really inspiring.
Someone asked me once if I could have dinner with five people, living or dead, who would I choose? Honestly, I’m not sure, but I think Branden would be on that list. His work is nothing short of inspiring to me. HONY has made me open my eyes to the world around me. Whenever I see someone unusual looking, instead of turning a blind eye, I think about their story. Why they are the way they are and how they came to be that way.
So many people have influenced me in my life, the list is incredibly long. But HONY constantly reminds me that being unique is not something to be ashamed of, but something to celebrate. It really has changed my outlook on life. So thank you, Branden, and thank you, HONY.
Check out HONY here.