Although he was no experienced photographer, Brandon Stanton has always enjoyed taking pictures. When he lost his finance job in 2010, he decided not to look for another one (👏). With no major ambition in mind, he thought he’d give photography a shot. “Maybe I will sell a few prints for a living”, he told himself.
Armed with his camera, he toured the streets of Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York. He took pictures of buildings and street signs. The pictures weren’t exceptional, but they showed promise, so he kept posting them on Facebook for friends and family. Whenever he photographed people, though, he noticed a higher engagement. So, he decided to move to New York and specialize in portraits.
For a year, Stanton took photos every day, with not a single day off. He was lonely and was feeling the weight of rent every month. Thousands of pictures later, nothing crazy was happening on Facebook. His photos, however, were getting better by the day. In fact, they were slowly becoming stories, as he began chatting with people he photographed. One day, Stanton decided to move them to an official Facebook page. He called it Humans of New York (HONY). This time, something crazy actually happened. His stories went viral as they attracted tons of new fans every day!
HONY is now world-famous and inspires over 18 million people. Stanton is now a two-time best-selling author. But Stanton remembers how it all started: “I took thousands of portraits before anyone paid attention.”
Brandon Stanton doing what he does best.
AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH
From finance to photography. From strict planning to intelligent improvising. From stability to the unknown… it really is a chain of courageous, counter-intuitive decisions that led Brandon Stanton to a massive success. Stanton did everything we’re told not to do. Along the way, he kept going while coping with what was coming at him. Don’t expect magic to happen while doing what everyone else is doing.
- Facts as told by Brandon Stanton.
- Picture by Brandon Stanton.
© Story by Tarek Issa.