Reviews for Humans

by Brandon Stanton

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

The creator of the hit internet series Humans of New York takes it global, chasing down a panoply of interesting stories. In 1955, Edward Steichen staged a show called “The Family of Man,” a gathering of photographs that emphasized the commonality of humankind. Stanton’s project seemingly has much the same ambition. “You’ve created this magic little corner of the Web where people feel safe sharing their stories—without being ridiculed, or bullied, or judged,” he writes. “These stories are only honestly shared because they have a long history of being warmly received.” The ask is the hard part: approaching a total stranger and asking him or her to tell their stories. And what stories they are. A young Frenchwoman, tearful, recounts being able to see things from the spirit world that no one else can see. “And it’s been a very lonely existence since then,” she says. A sensible teenager in St. Petersburg, Russia, relates that her friends are trying to be grown-up, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, whereas she wants to remain a child close to her parents: “I’d like these times to last as long as possible.” A few stories are obnoxious, as with a Dutch incel who has converted himself into a pickup artist and outright cad: “Of course it’s manipulation, but why should I care? I’ve been manipulated so many times in my life.” A great many stories, some going for several pages but most taking up just a paragraph or two, are regretful, speaking to dashed dreams and roads not taken. A surprising number recount mental illness, depression, and addiction; “I’d give anything to have a tribe,” says a beleaguered mother in Barcelona. Some are hopeful, though, such as that of an Iranian woman: “I’ve fallen in love with literature. I try to read for one or two hours every day. I only have one life to live. But in books I can live one thousand lives.” A lovely, sometimes challenging testament to the universality of human nature. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Stanton (Humans of New York, 2013) has taken his legendary storytelling and photography global. From the importance of showering every day to the challenges of first grade, Stanton captures slices of life across the globe in Humans, which he calls the “collected conversations of a single photographer—who traveled to as many places as he could, and met as many people as he could.” Those places were 40 countries including Spain, New Zealand, Japan, Argentina, and many more, capturing the stories of hundreds of people. Readers will be drawn into the rich photographs (full-color in the finished version) and the souls of the storytellers, even as most narratives are familiar life experiences, like memories of beach days with grandparents, being accepted into school, the birth of a child, or the joy of a new job. Sometimes photos omit faces, only showing a glimpse of a hand resting on a knee, obscuring the faces of those who struggle. Humans of all ages will enjoy leafing through this book and relating to global experiences that unite us.[HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Millions follow Stanton, and the empathy and love his work engenders will be a balm to many more.]


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

The creator of the hit internet series Humans of New York takes it global, chasing down a panoply of interesting stories.In 1955, Edward Steichen staged a show called The Family of Man, a gathering of photographs that emphasized the commonality of humankind. Stantons project seemingly has much the same ambition. Youve created this magic little corner of the Web where people feel safe sharing their storieswithout being ridiculed, or bullied, or judged, he writes. These stories are only honestly shared because they have a long history of being warmly received. The ask is the hard part: approaching a total stranger and asking him or her to tell their stories. And what stories they are. A young Frenchwoman, tearful, recounts being able to see things from the spirit world that no one else can see. And its been a very lonely existence since then, she says. A sensible teenager in St. Petersburg, Russia, relates that her friends are trying to be grown-up, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, whereas she wants to remain a child close to her parents: Id like these times to last as long as possible. A few stories are obnoxious, as with a Dutch incel who has converted himself into a pickup artist and outright cad: Of course its manipulation, but why should I care? Ive been manipulated so many times in my life. A great many stories, some going for several pages but most taking up just a paragraph or two, are regretful, speaking to dashed dreams and roads not taken. A surprising number recount mental illness, depression, and addiction; Id give anything to have a tribe, says a beleaguered mother in Barcelona. Some are hopeful, though, such as that of an Iranian woman: Ive fallen in love with literature. I try to read for one or two hours every day. I only have one life to live. But in books I can live one thousand lives.A lovely, sometimes challenging testament to the universality of human nature. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Stanton (Humans of New York) composes a beautiful love letter to humanity in this moving compilation of his work. Hundreds of portraits from around the world are accompanied by poignant quotes from each subject in his signature style, and interspersed with the photos are fascinating details about Stanton’s process, like his standard first interview question: “What’s your greatest struggle right now?” The subjects’ responses span topics including death, raising kids, and addiction, imbuing the candid images with lifetimes worth of meaning and memory. One subject playing piano on a street in Montreal says, “You could make a horror movie about my life,” then recounts years of familial abuse and shocking violence. Children offer a lighter reprieve, with a tie-wearing kid in New York who says the hardest part of first grade is “eleven plus eleven.” First-world problems, like a man in a Tokyo intersection who needs more YouTube followers, contrast with recollections of the Rwandan genocide from a woman in Butare, Rwanda. Stanton’s skill at putting people at ease comes through in the spontaneity of the images, as well as in the stories they share with him. It’s an outstanding survey, and each new image reveals something unique about the human condition. (Oct.)Correction: An earlier version of this review incorrectly noted the images in the book are black and white.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Famed for his No. 1 New York Times best-selling Humans of New York and Humans of New York: Stories, Stanton goes global with a full-color photo essay presenting original images and stories from people in 40 countries. One way to connect even if we are socially distanced. With a million-copy first printing.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Stanton (Humans of New York, 2013) has taken his legendary storytelling and photography global. From the importance of showering every day to the challenges of first grade, Stanton captures slices of life across the globe in Humans, which he calls the “collected conversations of a single photographer—who traveled to as many places as he could, and met as many people as he could.” Those places were 40 countries including Spain, New Zealand, Japan, Argentina, and many more, capturing the stories of hundreds of people. Readers will be drawn into the rich photographs (full-color in the finished version) and the souls of the storytellers, even as most narratives are familiar life experiences, like memories of beach days with grandparents, being accepted into school, the birth of a child, or the joy of a new job. Sometimes photos omit faces, only showing a glimpse of a hand resting on a knee, obscuring the faces of those who struggle. Humans of all ages will enjoy leafing through this book and relating to global experiences that unite us.[HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Millions follow Stanton, and the empathy and love his work engenders will be a balm to many more.]

Back