Humans of New York – downtown edition

Humans of New York - downtown

Last year I stumbled upon my own version of Humans of New York. Totally by accident. Let me take you Downtown Manhattan and show you some of my favorite street portraits.

Humans of New York

Humans of New York is an ambitious project that photographer Brandon Stanton started in the summer of 2010. He decided to single-handedly start creating a photographic census of New York City. Armed with a camera, he began crisscrossing the city, covering thousands of miles on foot, all in an attempt to capture New Yorkers and their stories. His initial goal was to photograph 10.000 New Yorkers on the street, but it has flourished into a highly popular blog with 20 million online fans,  two published books and a wide spread movement that continues to capture  people and their stories as Humans of Iraq, Ukraine, Vietnam and 10 other countries. 

Happy side-effect

Even though I was a fan of Humans of New York from the beginning, I didn’t set out to copy or be inspired by Humans of New York. Looking back, my own Humans of New York project was a happy side-effect from my training at the New York Film Academy, where I was studying photography. By the final assignment, I had built a large catalogue of photographs. Too many to show in a single blog. Too many to share in just one story. But taking a step back and looking at the material again, it hit me: I accidentally made my own version of Humans in New York.

Social circles

For instance, one of my assignments was to capture social circles. By the way we dress, act or behave; we form multiple social circles. Like the tourists visiting the Wall Street bull and posing with it’s nuts, street vendors waiting for their next costumer, grown men wearing their hats backwards or New York’s finest observing the city streets. And without realising it, I criss-crossed the city. Just like Brandon Stanton, covering many miles on foot photographing Humans of New York.


Besides the 20 million followers on social media (although I like to aim high ;-)) , there is one other difference between Brandon Stanton and me. I never interviewed any of the people I photographed. I wouldn’t mind doing that, but my pictures are not just up-close-and-personal portraits. They tell a story by themselves. Plus, I like to imagine their backstories myself. Like the woman smoking on the front steps of her Village Brownstone, the sweeping smile of a man posing on the Brooklyn Bridge, the Asian women marching down the Avenue or the man lining up his perfect shot of the New York skyline, captured through a peephole. Stay tuned for more Humans of New York – Top Floor Pic edition.

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