Friday, September 12, 2014

Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton

I did not plan this. Bonnie brought home Eye to Eye: Photographs by Vivian Maier (see previous review) just about the time I brought home Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton. I did not see a connection at first. They were just two books on a bookshelf. Then the obvious struck me: they are both books of street photography!

The photographers and their books have some obvious differences, of course. Maier was born in New York and moved to Chicago where she took black-and-white photographs in the 1950s to 1970s. Stanton was born in Chicago and moved to New York where he took color photographs starting in 2010. Maier was secretive, never showing her work. Stanton posts his on his Humans of New York website and his Facebook page. They would be like night and day, except for their ability to get expressive photographs of people.

Readers find more stories in Stanton's Humans of New York. He seems to have talked with many of his subjects and add quotes on or to the side of the photographs. Because the images are colorful and often humorous or beautiful, readers may be more inclined to want to visit 21st century New York than time travel to mid-20th century Chicago. I enjoyed recognizing Central Park, Times Square, the Met, and other New York locations in some photos. The majority, however, are in the neighborhoods of the city.

The HONY website was unavailable a few days ago but is now back featuring Stanton's photos of the Ukraine and India and other countries on his World Tour. I hope another book results. I like that many of the best photos from his archives have been collected in the Humans of New York book. I hope it lasts in libraries for a long time.

Stanton, Brandon. Humans of New York. St. Martins Press, 2013. ISBN 9781250038821.

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