Behind the Scenes with Brandon Stanton and His Humans of New York Project

When we first covered Brandon Stanton and his Humans of New York project almost a year and a half ago, he had accumulated about 3,000 portraits of people from around New York City. Now that number has grown to over 5,000, and the blog that started it all has birthed a book and the kind of viral fame the Internet it known for.

Fortunately, this isn’t the kind of viral fame that comes with posting a video of a cute cat doing a silly thing, Stanton’s project has inspired many thousands of people by shedding light on the sometimes extraordinary, sometimes touching and sometimes tragic stories of normal people.

In the video above, Mashable got a chance to follow Stanton around on the street as he interacts with the people whose photo he’s taking, while also interviewing him briefly to get his thoughts on the project and what it has evolved into.


If you’re a street photographer, or you would like to be one, this video is chock full of great advice and inspiration. The ease with which Stanton approaches and speaks to his subjects is awe-inspiring for those of us who harbor a crippling fear of awkward interactions.

There is nothing awkward about the way Stanton does what he does, and as he explains it, it’s all about the energy he’s putting off:

Somebody’s willingness to let me photograph them and to tell me a story has nothing to do with the words I say. It all has to do with the energy I’m giving off. I’m not trying to get this quote to pair with this photograph. It might start like that, but the moment I start talking to a person, that drops away, and it’s just two people having a conversation.

Be sure to watch the BTS video at the top to get your dose of inspiration for the day. And if you want to see some of the incredible photography that Stanton has accumulated thus far, check out the Humans of New York website and/or Facebook by following the corresponding link.