17 August 2014

In the Spotlight | Humans of New York

Hello again everyone. So this week's post is a little different to my usual, but I just felt I needed to talk about it. The focus of this post is Brandon Stanton, creator of the blog Humans of New York. I don't know Brandon, nor am I in any way connected to him, but through his work, I feel more connected to people from all walks of life!

Through his blog, Brandon manages to capture the essence of people through a series of portraits. Each portrait is accompanied by a quote from the subject of the portrait. It is a simple concept, but the result is so powerful. Brandon's ability to engage with the people of New York alongside their unapologetic honesty, creates something so beautiful. He has the ability to connect his readers, at a very human level, with a complete stranger.

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He captures people during happy times, sad times, old people, young people, groups and individuals. He really brings it home that we're all in this together. We all have our ups and our downs, but we are not alone in our struggles, people everywhere are feeling something similar. While Brandon is from New York and his work is based in New York, the portraits and stories he captures could be applied to a lot of places. His pieces just stand to show the everyday nature of human life.

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It is clear just how easy it his to relate to his work, as he now boasts over 9 million followers on social media since beginning his blog back in 2010. On top of beautifully capturing portraits and sharing powerful stories, Brandon has helped create some real life changes for some of the people he has met through kick starters. Brandon set up an Indiegogo page for a man who was the cameraman for a short piece on Brandon's work. After getting chatting, he came to learn this man and his wife had adopted a child from Ethiopa and they were in the process of saving enough money to adopt another child. 

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Through the power of a picture and a story, Brandon helped this family raise in excess of $80,000 in 24 hours. It really shows the compassion and power of a community. What can be achieved when we all work together. The original campaign was for $26,000 with the caveat that any extra funding would go towards the children's education. Thanks to Brandon's work and the community he has created, Richard's life has been changed forever, along with his new family's. 

Brandon is currently embarking on a new campaign with the United Nations, it is a 50 day trip to 10 countries around the globe, to capture the portraits and stories of people from these places. While also raising awareness about the Millenium Development Goals. With 2015 fast approaching, there is still so much to do! 

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This new project Brandon is embarking on, is opening up his community to stories from people who often lead a very different life to his traditional readers. He is capturing the story of conflict and human endurance, but not with statistics and maps, but rather on an individual level. It allows his readers to connect with their struggle on a personal level, to truly show the impact of conflict on the individual.

I truly commend Brandon using his platform to help raise awareness and bring the world closer together. I think he is an inspirational human being. He does not go out into the world expecting anything from anyone, nor does he try to "fix" everyone. He is just using his platform to tell a story and connect humans to one another, and in my humble opinion he does it beautifully.

If you want to follow Brandon's work, you can follow his website, Facebook and Twitter pages. If you're not already doing so, I really recommend that you do!

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