The Humans of New York photo project has begun a worldwide tour in association with the UN, using its compelling storytelling to highlight the Millenium Development Goals.
The project was set up on a blog by photographer Brandon Stanton in 2010 to map the vast, varying life stories of New Yorkers through photos and quotes has been a global hit, with over 8 million followers on Facebook. Its simple storytelling method gives a beautiful snapshot of life in the city with happy, sad and inspiring tales. In 2013, a Humans of New York book was published and became an instant bestseller.
The tour is sponsored by the UN Secretary General’s Millennium Development Goals Advocacy Group and will take Brandon to ten different countries, meeting the people there and learning about their lives.
He wrote on the blog that "since there are only ten countries on the itinerary, it would be rather foolish to claim that these portraits and stories somehow represent ‘the world,’ or humanity as a whole. The point of the trip is not to 'say' anything about the world. But rather to visit some faraway places, and listen to as many people as possible."
The blog's stories are some of the most compelling and beautiful on the internet, and the readers have created a community with their kind responses.
One recent story, about a girl who lost her parents at a young age, and told the blog "I’m always fearful because I don’t have a safety net. I’ve moved 80 times in my life. I don’t have any savings. I don’t have any room to make a mistake", prompted comments including "You're part of the Humans of New York family now."
This girl who lost her family was told she was "part of the Humans of New York family now"
What the participants tell the blog can range from the simple - one woman celebrated her young daughter running a race at school, another tells the story of how a couple met "we were both looking at the same statue" - to the profound, with a man telling how the history of slavery has affected black Americans to this day, a woman missing her children who had been taken away from her, or a girl who is completing an internship to keep her parents happy but dreams of starring in Bollywood films.
The comments on Facebook range from "this made me stop feeling sorry for myself" to "HONY is pretty much the only place on the Internet where reading the comments section doesn't make you want to do a face-palm for the human race", reminding us that the human race are capable of achieving happiness through caring about those around them.
Scroll down to see some more inspiring and heartwarming stories from the blog:
Words: Victoria Gray, Images: Humans of New York