Humans of New York is a facebook site started as a photography project by Brandon in 2010, shortly after being fired from his finance job. Brandon started HONY to create a catalogue of New York City’s inhabitants, setting out to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers and plot their photos on a map. Somewhere along the way, he began to interview his subjects in addition to photographing them, and alongside their portraits, would include quotes and short stories from their lives.
The facebook site now has over 11 million followers, and has recently turned a corner from an art site to creating social impact in a major way, with the photo and story of a boy named Vidal, from the HONY facebook page:
“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.”
Vidal’s simple comment sent photographer Brandon to Mott Hall Bridges Academy to meet Ms. Lopez. Which then led to learning more about the school, and what they needed from Ms. Lopez and her team. Which led to an indiegogo campaign to send the 6th grade class to visit Harvard. Which led to thousands of people in the comments sections of these posts and follow up posts offering to help not only the kids in this school, but the kids in neighboring schools and kids in schools around the world.
And the story isn’t done yet. Brandon keeps taking photos of kids, teachers, administrators – hearing their stories, giving them names and voices and a platform for positive change. And people all over the world are responding with strength and encouragement and resources and networking. See a video here.
One photographer is changing the world. One face, one story at a time.