“Humans of Jewell” is in no way affiliated with “Humans of New York,” and all copyrighted material is respected.
Brandon Stanton’s love of photography has created one of the Internet’s most popular blogs. Humans of New York (HONY) began as a project to create a comprehensive view of the lives of New York City’s inhabitants. Five years after its creation, the photoblog has over 6,000 photos with accompanying stories.
With camera in hand, Stanton will walk the streets of NYC until he finds someone, or a group of people, who will contribute to the HONY collective. His method for choosing whom to ask on the crowded streets is mostly about whether or not an individual is in a position to have a conversation and if he would have the ability to take an insightful picture. In an interview with the online magazine Mashable, Stanton explained his process.
“Now that the blog has become so focused on storytelling, a lot of it is just the accessibility of the person, my ability to sit and talk with them,” Stanton said.
Initially, many of the people he asked did not want to talk with him. After almost five years, Stanton said that now only about one in three people declines to be photographed and interviewed for his blog.
HONY initially had the goal of creating portraits of 10,000 New Yorkers. The project eventually evolved into a series of portraits of people he met and the stories they told him. Most of these conversation snippets are extremely personal. One of the most frequent questions asked about Stanton’s approach to this project concerns how he is able to collect such poignant moments in a person’s life.
“You can sense when somebody wants something. It’s all about the energy exchange; it’s not about the words,” Stanton said.
HONY has over 15 million followers on Facebook, almost 350,000 followers on Twitter and a prevalent community on Tumblr. HONY’s influence can be seen in the many similar blogs that were inspired by Stanton’s project, some of which include “Souls of Society,” “Humans of Amsterdam” and “Goats of Bangladesh.” Both Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama have been known to comment on posts. Its ever-increasing popularity has allowed HONY to expand its story collection to individuals around the globe. Stanton recently traveled abroad to Iran and Pakistan to document more stories.
HONY has inspired us at William Jewell College’s Hilltop Monitor to begin publishing an original Jewell version of these famous stories, beginning with this issue.
From Easton Koch, sophomore: “Last year, I had a ‘Creativity and Innovation’ class with a teacher named Landon Young. And just through connections, I was able to meet my favorite men’s wear designer, Matt Baldwin. He’s from Kansas City. I’m wearing a pair of his jeans right now. He’s my favorite designer. Everything about him is exactly what I want to be doing. I got to have a one-on-one time with him. I showed him a lot of my sketches, my website and some of the stuff I want to be working on. At the time, I didn’t even know how to make clothes or anything. Through his help and a lot of other stuff, I have a lot of things lined up for the future.”
“I call it ‘Tailored Street-wear.’ It’s high end, high fashion, high quality fabrics. It’s for men right now. I’m just using my name, I don’t have a brand label right now. I make men’s jeans and I’m working on a leather jacket right now. I finished a denim jacket a few days ago. I make shirts and tank tops. Mainly outerwear and denim are my favorites. I do it out of my dorm room. I’m supposed to getting my own setup shortly.”