NEW YORK — Brandon Stanton rounds the corner, spots a tiny blur of pink, and runs over to ask if he can take a picture. He crouches in a busy Manhattan bike lane to get the shot: a beautiful little girl with pink leg braces, a walker and a big smile, her dad posed behind her.
Stanton posts the picture on his website, HumansofNewYork.com — known to fans as HONY — with a mere two sentences from the father: “We go to four appointments every week, but I don’t mind. She’s my blood.” No names or other details.
Within an hour, the image has 22,000 likes. Comments like this pour in: “HONY. Restoring my faith in humanity, one photostory at a time.”
Stanton’s magical blend of portraits and poignant, pithy storytelling has earned HONY more than 2 million followers online. Now he’s putting his work in a book, “Humans of New York,” out Oct. 15 from St. Martin’s Press.
Not bad for a guy who once flunked out of college, was fired from his first job as a bond trader and didn’t own a regular camera until 2010.
Stanton, 29, who’s from Marietta, Ga., and lives in Brooklyn, shoots every day, taking 5,000 street portraits over the past three years. As he strolls around, Canon in hand, wearing a backward baseball cap and New Balance sneakers, he’s stopped every few minutes by fans, many of them teenagers. “Thanks for inspiring me,” Sebastian Sayegh, 19, told him.
Part of his genius is offering short, provocative captions that allow readers to imagine the rest of the story.
Tender stories are featured, too, often emerging from the questions Stanton has designed to quickly “uncover the most meaningful events in a person’s life.” His recurring “What was your saddest moment?” query elicits a lot of “the day my mother died” quotes.