In what must be a great rarity, photographer Brandon Stanton's new book, Humans of New York: Stories (which could be titled "More Humans of New York"), will top the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list when the lists are officially published this week in the Sunday Book Review.
It's interesting to compare Stanton's ambition to, say, August Sander's, or Edward S. Curtis's. Here he is from an interview on NPR.org: "I was working in finance in Chicago, and I lost my job. I just kind of made the decision that I was going to spend the next period of my life thinking not about money, but about how I spent my time. I loved taking photographs at the time, and I struck upon this kind of crazy idea that I was going to go to New York and stop 10,000 people on the streets and take their portrait, and create kind of a photographic census of the city."
The rest, as they say, is history: both blog and book became phenomena.
The original book was a huge bestseller. Most photobooks have press runs between 1,000 and 5,000 copies and are doing well to reach the midpoint of that range in sales, but occasional bestsellers, some of them "evergreen," meaning they continually sell strongly (for example, The Family of Man, which is being reprinted in a deluxe 60th Anniversary Edition next month), have long been characteristic of the category.
Brandon will be appearing at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, on November 4th at 7:30 if you'd like to meet him. Expect a crowd!
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Featured Comments from:
Sven Erikson: "If you follow Brandon on Facebook, you may notice from the comments that it's the stories more than the photos that make his work so immensely popular. He has an amazing knack for getting people to open up to him and tell him interesting and emotional life events."
Mike replies: I once described him (thumbnail version) as "Studs Terkel illustrated."
(If you don't know the name, Studs was an author and broadcaster known for taking oral histories of common Americans in books and on the radio.)