Humanizing the numbers


Humans of New York is a blog led by one photographer, Brandon Stanton, who features pictures he took of people along with a few interview questions. In recent years, his site has become increasingly popular, having 15.2 million Facebook likes and 3.8 million followers on his Instagram. His posts became so popular that he compiled his first book of photographs and profiles published in 2013.

He began taking photos of people in New York, where the website’s name comes from, and writing short profiles based on questions he would ask them in a question and answer type format, or a big quote.

Stanton’s first goal was to catalog New York City’s inhabitants. However, as he began asking them questions, a great amount of character and human strife was captured with each individual story. He then began posting his profiles on different social media and as more people saw, it began to humanize the busy world that we see rushing around us.

In December 2012, Stanton traveled to Tehran, Iran, to capture stories there. His posts give people a chance to see another person’s intimate life from across the world and gives perspective to those who have more peninsular minds. His posts often feature innate emotional pain but with good reason and usually a lesson. The majority of his posts feature positive or funny stories, highlighting how people make the best of their situation.

Stanton’s blog has become much more than simple photo posts. He captures humanity and bolsters it to all who can access social media. He shows his followers human life in its rawest form.

On Sept. 25, Stanton posted on his website that he is currently working to share refugee stories. While we hear of the numbers of refugees around the world, the total being 19.5 million, Stanton humanizes these numbers and brings more awareness through a real connection with his photographs. His work should be adapted by media companies in order to paint the picture of what is really happening; of the true suffering that is occurring rather than sticking to numbers, each political move, and the economic toll.

The human lives that are being affected triumph the numbers that are being drawn up. Creating a human connection brings knowledge and awareness of the pain of the refugees and can streamline a better force to help them.

The media are focusing too much on the big picture which does not accrue as much obligation to assistance as human connection. People need to connect with refugees in order to harbor a true sense of what is going on and hopefully pursue efforts of help them.