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Friday, 30 October 2015

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Good for him! The popularity of this project mystifies me but I congratulate him on his success.

Stanton a humanitarian as well as a photographer. Through his storytelling, he has, for example, raised more than a million dollars to support a small middle school in an under-served area in Brooklyn.

Recently he's extended his reach beyond our borders. You might be interesting in visiting his blog and it's archives (http://www.humansofnewyork.com/archive) and in both viewing and reading posts like these:

http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/126945021306/my-sisters-kidneys-were-failing-we-tried-to

http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/127011880676/yesterday-40000-people-donated-over-1000000-in

http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/109412141556/i-have-something-to-admit-to-all-of-you-before

http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/130275162236/a-friend-called-me-at-work-and-told-me-that-a

Just more proof that New Yorkers rule the world. If the project were "Humans of Minneapolis," it would soon be in the remainders bin. This is not meant as a comment on the quality of the work, but rather on the overwhelming presence of New York City in the publishing and entertainment industries. Personally, I am finding it a bit tiresome, if not oppressive, to see NYC as the location of so many films, TV shows and books.

OTOH, if Stanton's book knocks Bill O'Reilly and Ben Carson out of the top two spots on the bestseller list, I guess that's a good thing.

Part of the genius of HONY is the stories -- the quotes from the subject. They range from funny to deeply moving, but always add something. This makes it very much the opposite of anonymous street photography. Each portrait genuinely feels to be about the person, not capturing the moment -- and more, not person-as-archetype, but actually that individual.

I'm certainly not at all opposed to the capture-the-moment ideal of street, but I think this distinction is one of the things which sets HONY apart (and, if popularity is a reasonable judge, above).

Studs could paint a fairly in depth picture of people's lives and travails in his writing- he made us feel. Brandon gives us feel good snapshots all around. Even when his stories involve loss or hardship, they never go deep enough to seriously affect us. So we feel as if we somehow "connected" with those "less fortunate," even though we learn and experience nothing of consequence, making every vignette seem a feel good experience- there's little mystery to his popularity.

Much as I love Humans of New York project, I much more adore Curtis' poignant portraits of Native Americans.

I have just received my new, (15 year old), shrink wrapped copy of "Crosstown" by Helen Levitt, and my copy of the Harry Gruyaert book (both ordered via your links btw) on the same day. Both books are wonderful, and will afford many hours of perusal for a very long time to come.

Now "The Family of Man" and one or two others, are on the Christmas wish list that I have given to my wife!

Thanks for your recommendations. They are always spot on. Please keep it up!

It's the combo of the stories and the pictures. Photos by themselves wouldn't have done it, no matter how many words a picture is worth.

I also meant to state that Studs helped us to understand how and why people arrived where they were in their lives. Of course, it's easier for a skillful writer to do just that, and I'm not saying Mr. Stanton is not sincere in his intent. I just hope he continues to create until his work reaches a revelatory significance that equals its current adulation.

With a nod to your next post, work like Brandon's is what made me realize that I wasn't cut out to be a photojournalist. Talking to people, pulling out their story - which is such a big part of a good photojournalist - is emotionally draining, and I just wasn't great at that.
I love his work, it's a great example of how to use your voice to amplify the voice of others.

I was really excited about getting this book after reading your post, but back it goes.

The idea that Mr. Stanton's photographs can be compared to those of Curtis or Atget is lost on me, and to suggest that his 'stories' might carry the same weight and depth of Studs Terkel makes me kind of chuckle. Division Street it ain't.

That being said, I'm still happy to know that a well meaning photographer is getting some traction.

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