Brandon Stanton became famous a decade ago, after the success of his “Humans Of New York” project. He was the guy who approached strangers across the Big Apple, and took their photos. His subjects often revealing astonishingly personal details about themselves which he’d include in his posts on social media. The results were fascinating. A book followed. Brandon was named on Time mag’s “People under 30 Changing The World” list.
Now Brandon, 36, has put out a new book, Humans, based on the people he’s met in his world travels. He’s older, wiser, and learned to elicit even more from his subjects. They come from Uganda, Paris, Iran, in all, more than 40 countries. The stories are tragic, inspiring, uplifting.
Below are some excerpts from Humans (Murdoch Books). This book could be the Christmas gift you’re looking for.
“I always knew that the environment was in trouble because my dad got me a big book about tiger conservation. But I didn’t really become an environmentalist until I got to grade one. That’s when I thought of many interesting ways to help. Some things you can do are reduce waste, carpool more often, spread awareness, plant trees, not cut trees, cut carbon emissions, and reduce nuclear disposal. I’m too young to start nuclear disposal because it’s dangerous and I don’t have the proper gloves. But I do recycle and keep plants on my balcony.”
“I first started coming to the park when I was thirteen years old. I was the only girl in the beginning. It was intimidating. The guys would try to make me angry. They’d call me ‘dyke.’ They’d roll their skateboards in front of me when I was skating. So I started coming out here every day right after school, when the sun was high, and the place was empty. I got better than a lot of them. I started beating them in elimination games. So they respect me now. A lot of girls used to watch from the edges because they were too intimidated to participate. But now that I’m out here every day, some of them have the courage to try.”
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
“I was far too innocent. My whole life was my family. I was married when I was seventeen. I barely left the house because my husband brought me everything I needed. I had no idea about anything, but the world has a way of teaching you. Fifteen years ago my husband died and I had to take the lead of the family. He owned an upholstery shop. The workers tried to convince me to let them handle the business, but they were hiding the profits from me. I had to take over. There was no other choice. My kids were still in school and that money belonged to them. So I began going to the shop every day. At first the workers tried to box me out. They knew I didn’t understand the business so they wouldn’t explain anything. They hid the numbers from me. And when a client entered the store, they wouldn’t even introduce me as the owner. But I sat there and watched every move they made. I memorized everything. And after forty days, there were some new rules at the shop. The workers were not allowed to speak to the client directly.”