The man behind Humans of New York is in South Africa and he is taking the time to share our stories with the world!
Brandon Stanton started Humans of New York (HONY) as a photography project in 2010. The initial goal was to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers on the street, and create an exhaustive catalogue of the city’s inhabitants.”
“Somewhere along the way, I began to interview my subjects in addition to photographing them. And alongside their portraits, I’d include quotes and short stories from their lives.”
Taken together, these portraits and captions became the subject of a vibrant blog. HONY now has over twenty million followers on social media, and provides a worldwide audience with daily glimpses into the lives of strangers on the streets of New York City.
Over the past five years, it has also expanded to feature stories from over twenty different countries. The work is also featured in two bestselling books: Humans of New York and Humans of New York: Stories.
In recent years, Stanton has also travelled to various countries to feature “human” stories from around the world and in October 2018, photographs and narratives from South Africa appeared on his page which has over 18 million followers!
“My younger sister passed away last year from an unexpected stroke. So I’m raising both my daughter and my niece. In our culture, it’s an automatic. It just kicks in. She belongs to me now. I’m a single mother so it’s not easy. There are definitely months when I add up income and expenses and the numbers don’t work. And both of them are thirteen so their moods are all over the place. Today is like this, and tomorrow is like that. But God has given us favor as well. We can afford to share an ice cream. We have shelter. We have food. And after four months of no work, I just found a new management position. So we’ve come a long way. My niece is beginning to heal. Her grades are improving at school. She still speaks of her mother in the present tense, but there’s no more crying at night. And I’ve grown a lot as well. Because more than I want to acknowledge –the struggle has given me meaning. This is my purpose. I have a little family. And we share what little we have.”
“I’m trying to give Mom a chance to do other things. She wants to wash her hair and cook dinner, but the baby started crying. So I brought him outside to see if it would help. We’ve gone about thirty minutes without screaming. We’re from Mozambique. I originally came here to find work as a ceiling installer, but I brought my wife along when we found out she was pregnant. The healthcare is much better in this country. It’s too early for them to go back home because the child was born premature, but I’ll feel safer when they’re gone. It’s too dangerous for them here. South Africa is a good place to work, but they don’t like us being here so much. The abuse mainly comes from other black people. They call us names. They tell us to go home. They attack us because they think we’re stealing their jobs. But I’m just doing what I know. They don’t understand what it’s like in my country. You can’t survive with kids. I’m just making the only choice I have.”
“I have nothing to complain about. I’m originally from Sudan. I love it there. So many happy memories. I got so much love from my family because I was the youngest. Since then I’ve lived in five different countries and I’ve enjoyed every single one. I don’t have a partner, but I have plenty of great friends. I don’t have children, but I’m a lovely uncle. I don’t take any medicine. I sleep well. I can walk around. I don’t know what to say. Every time I think about it, I conclude that I’m happy. I wake up smiling. I lived in Germany for several years. And they have these cameras along the highway that photograph you when you’re speeding. I’ve got a huge collection of photos because I love to speed. It’s always just me alone in my car. And I’m smiling in every one of them.”