Humans Of New York
Having lived in a fairly large city, I know how easy it can be to not pay attention to individuals around you. There are so many people out there and we get caught up in the minutiae of our own lives and don’t look around very often to see that every person out there is just like us, with their own stories to tell, their own struggles and joys. In 2010, Brandon Stanton decided to take a small fraction of this world’s population; specifically, 10,000 inhabitants of New York City; and document them individually. Plotting their photos on a map and collecting quotes and short stories, his original idea was to “create an exhaustive catalogue of the city’s inhabitants.” This project has evolved into something bigger than he could have possibly dreamed. With hundreds of thousands of followers on his blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, Humans of New York has given us a chance to not only look into the lives of strangers, but also to reach out and give something back.
Yesterday, Brandon posted a photo of Rumi and his mother. Rumi is an 8 year old boy who loves horses. He was sitting on the sidewalk selling “cowboy supplies” trying to raise money to fulfill his dream of one day owning a horse. At the end of the day, he had only raised one dollar, but he was determined to keep going. HONY (Brandon) thought of a plan – to send Rumi (along with his parents) on a Wild West Adventure to a ranch ion Colorado. He put it up on Indiegogo and the $7000 needed for the trip was raised within 15 minutes. Today, the total is over $30,000. The extra money raised will be donated to Equestria, a New York-based organization that is dedicated to providing riding lessons to children with disabilities.
There is power in photography, not just for Rumi, but for each of us. Each individual who has their photo taken by Brandon, for that moment, they are seen, they feel important, they feel like they matter. For all of us who look at these photographs, we are reminded that the world does not revolve around us, but we are all a part of a community. All of this happened because a guy with a camera decided to go out on the street and take photographs of strangers.