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LECTURE | "Humans of New York" creator


Brandon Stanton has the kind of deft talent that not only tells him who's carrying a heavy tale or a buoyant truth, but also enables him to pull them out of his chosen subjects. After being fired from his job as a bond trader in Chicago, Stanton moved to New York City with an idea to create a photographic census of the city. Since 2010, he has been photographing people in New York City on the streets, in train stations, in airports, and in parks, for his photo blog, Humans of New York.

Accompanying some of the images is a quote or short story — Stanton's subjects share personal anecdotes of surmounting great hardship, of great love and great confusion and great regret. Other pictures are captioned with a single, simple line that crackles with complexity. One recent image featuring two beautiful young men, leaning together on a cold sidewalk, was paired with the single line: "We're gay refugees from Iran," and received 180,000 likes within the first day that it was posted.

In a sense, Stanton's stories-from-strangers collection is a curation of New York's struggles and triumphs. Humans of New York has earned international popularity with its bits of philosophy and human-creature commonality.

Stanton will visit Rochester this week for a speaking engagement held on Thursday, February 27, at 7 p.m. (doors at 6:30 p.m.), at the University of Rochester's Strong Auditorium (River Campus). Tickets are $5 for undergraduates, $10 for UR community, and $15 for the general public, and can be purchased at the Wilson Commons or through For more information, visit