There’s been a lot press a lately about Brandon Stanton, founder of the Humans of New York photojournalism project.
If you’ve been following the HONY story as religiously as I have, you’ll know that last week Brandon released a book of his 400 best portraits since beginning the project in 2010.
I love HONY for a myriad of reasons. I love how he captures beauty in all its diverse forms amidst the chaos and congestion of the city. I love how his subjects are so unbelievably raw and wise. I love how he connects me to a place where I once lived.
And finally I love Brandon’s chutzpah, not least because he approaches random strangers all the time, but because he took a chance on his passion. Before millions of people started following his blog, Brandon was a bond trader in Chicago. Then he quit his job, picked up, and moved to NYC with a camera in hand to try and make it.
People thought he was crazy.
This is a common fear that we hear from you, our Idealist community. Brandon’s story is a great example of preserving, despite the people around you thinking you’re cuckoo.
Here’s a snippet from Huffington Post on how HONY came to be:
My initial plan was to take 10,000 street portraits to plot on an interactive map, creating a photographic census of the city.
But I was completely broke. My friends and family thought I was crazy. I’d only had six months of photography experience, yet I was moving across the country to be a photographer. Despite the absurdity of the decision, I felt confident. I knew that my photography skills left a lot to be desired. But I also knew that I had the best idea of my life, and that everything else could be figured out as I went along.
I made that move about 2.5 years ago. There were a lot of lonely times. That first year was tough. I knew nobody in New York. I never knew where rent was coming from. All I did was take photographs. I never took a day off. I worked every single holiday. I took thousands of portraits before anyone paid attention. But even though I didn’t have much to show for it, I knew that I was getting better, and I knew the photographs were special.
Have you ever taken a chance on a seemingly crazy idea, only to have it be more successful than you ever could’ve imagined?