Motivational Quotes from Brandon Stanton

I think everyone feels alone in their sadness, and there’s a certain value to hearing other people’s sad stories.

Brandon Stanton

The most pivotal moments in people’s lives revolve around emotions. Emotions make stories powerful.

Brandon Stanton

I always say that my favorite people to interview are the people who are at the beginning and the ends of their lives because they have two alternate perspectives of the world, and neither of them are less profound.

Brandon Stanton

Interviewing someone is a very proactive process and requires taking a lot of agency into your own hands to get past people’s general normal self-preservation mode.

Brandon Stanton

I’ve always felt like an artistic person. I can’t draw or paint or sculpt. I never really had technical skills, but I’ve always felt like I appreciate really beautiful things, and part of taking a good photograph is being able to recognize beauty.

Brandon Stanton

Social media is a superimposing place where people are usually bragging.

Brandon Stanton

My two biggest lessons learned as a trader are take risks and get comfortable with taking losses and setbacks to help move you forward.

Brandon Stanton

When you are interviewing refugees, each person you talk to has a different story that could come from a horror movie. So many people talk about seeing their families get murdered before their eyes. Then I go to Central Park, and people are talking about their third divorce and paying tuition.

Brandon Stanton

In July of 2010, I lost my finance job in Chicago. Instead of updating my resume and looking for a similar job, I decided to forget about money and have a go at something I truly enjoyed. I’d purchased a semi-professional camera earlier that year and spent my free time taking photos in downtown Chicago.

Brandon Stanton

A lot of the children I photograph are extremely colorfully dressed in some way. But I also find a lot of kids with outsized personalities or who happen to be doing something charming.

Brandon Stanton

Humans of New York’ did not result from a flash on inspiration. It grew from five years of experimenting, tinkering, and messing up.

Brandon Stanton

Each time I arrived in a new city, I’d get lost in the streets and photograph everything that looked interesting, taking nearly a thousand photographs every day. After each day of shooting, I’d select 30 or 40 of my favorite photographs and post them on Facebook. I named the albums after my first impression of each city.

Brandon Stanton

I am interviewing people with a spirit of genuine interest and compassion, and therefore, the general tone of the site is one of genuine interest and compassion. The moment that culture changes, ‘Humans of New York’ is no longer viable.

Brandon Stanton

Wherever I go, I just try to show normal life. If the work helps to dispel stereotypes, it’s because I seek not to portray the extremities of a place, but the vast majority of people who are quite normal and are having normal life experiences.

Brandon Stanton

I never know what kind of people I’ll meet just by stopping to take a photo.

Brandon Stanton

It’s such a different spectrum of tragedies when you talk to people in developing countries.

Brandon Stanton

I don’t want to interview people for the purpose of developing a world view and pushing that on people.

Brandon Stanton

I am a huge fan of biographies. What I’m always looking for is a story. I want a story I have never heard from anyone else.

Brandon Stanton

You know you are an artist if you appreciate beauty.

Brandon Stanton

If I had sat around and waited until I had an idea to be a successful photographer, I would still be in finance.

Brandon Stanton

I struck upon this kind of crazy idea that I was going to go to New York and stop 10,000 people on the streets and take their portrait and create kind of a photographic census of the city.

Brandon Stanton

It’s the rejection that is hard. It’s not the interviewing that’s hard. It’s not the photography that’s hard. It’s, you know, approaching people all day long and having a good portion of those people reject you and some of them be rude.

Brandon Stanton

The interviews have gotten much longer with ‘Humans of New York.’ When I was first starting, I was just photographing people. And then I went to just kind of including a quote or two. Now when I’m approaching somebody on the street, I’m spending about 30 to 45 minutes with them often.

Brandon Stanton

I think that even though some of the things on ‘Humans of New York’ are kind of very personal and very revealing, I think the discomfort with sharing that tends to be overwritten by the appreciation of being able to distill the experience of your life into a story and share it with other people.

Brandon Stanton

At some point during my travels, I had a slight change of focus which would end up defining the rest of my career. I began taking pictures of people. In addition to all the buildings, street signs and fire hydrants, I started photographing some of the interesting humans that passed by me on the street.

Brandon Stanton

Without social media, I’d probably just be a quirky, amateur photographer with a hard drive full of photos. I’d be cold calling respected publications, begging for a feature.

Brandon Stanton

Whenever you get a large body of work like ‘Humans of New York,’ a natural pathway becomes to put it between two covers. I wanted this to be a very nice keepsake. A lot of work went into it, and a lot of fans are attached to it.

Brandon Stanton

I’m a believer in the ordinary person, that the ordinary person is just as important and has an equally unique perspective on the world as someone who is famous or perhaps more privileged.

Brandon Stanton

When I meet somebody in the street who knows about ‘Humans of New York,’ a lot of times they might have a scripted answer, and that scripted answer is the first thing to come out of their mouth.

Brandon Stanton

My interviews are very pointed. I’m an active participant; I will kindly interrupt people. But I’ve learned there is nothing people won’t tell you if you ask in a compassionate and legitimately interested way.

Brandon Stanton

The only things I make money on are speeches and books.

Brandon Stanton

‘Humans of New York’ wasn’t the result of a fully finished idea that I thought of and then executed; it was an evolution. There were hundreds of tiny evolutions that came from me loving photography.

Brandon Stanton

I don’t like to interview people in front of their friends; they clam up.

Brandon Stanton

Somebody’s willingness to let me photograph them, and willingness 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, which hopefully is very genuine, very interested energy. It’s just two people having a conversation in the street. I think that’s where genuine content comes from.

Brandon Stanton

I was making projections about ‘Humans of New York,’ back when I had zero followers, that made all my friends and family roll their eyes. I’d throw out these huge numbers: ‘One day, a million people are gonna be looking at this. Trust me.’ And even those wild, wild numbers I was throwing out have just been smashed. So, it’s a good feeling.

Brandon Stanton

Humans of New York’ is basically somebody walking up to absolute strangers on the street every day and, within minutes, talking with them about very personal things. Some things they haven’t even told their best friends or family members.

Brandon Stanton

It’s a very immersive and intense form of travel to walk around with an interpreter and stop random people on the street and ask them about their lives.

Brandon Stanton

I don’t think there’s any better education than learning the intimate details of the lives of people who you most admire.

Brandon Stanton

As an artist in the 21st century, my two goals are to make the best work that I can, improve as much as I can, and to distribute that work as far as I can.

Brandon Stanton

It seems that everywhere I go, people want the same things – security, education, family. It’s just that so many people have no avenues through which to obtain these things.

Brandon Stanton

Of all the places I’ve been, India is the one that’s on the top of my list to return to.

Brandon Stanton

I never buy plane tickets out of a country until I’m in the country, so I get on the ground, figure out what I need, where I’m going, how much time I need, and schedule as I go along.

Brandon Stanton

Everybody asks, ‘What does ‘Humans of New York’ mean?’ and I always say that I try to avoid putting any kind of message in the work even if it is a positive or optimistic message. The moment you do that, you’re looking for certain people and words that fit into the world view you are trying to show, and it becomes preachy.

Brandon Stanton

I know I have a caption that I’m going to use when somebody tells me something I’ve never heard before. It’s very rarely a thought, a philosophy, when somebody says, ‘Oh, I don’t like cheese’ or ‘Oh, I think the government should be overthrown,’ because so many people share these thoughts. But what people don’t share is stories.

Brandon Stanton

Being a doctor, lawyer in war-torn countries isn’t easy when the infrastructure isn’t there. The money, the food and education is not always accessible to achieve those dreams.

Brandon Stanton

I’ve taken pictures in at least 14 countries, and nowhere have people told me ‘no’ more than New York City.

Brandon Stanton

I think it’s important to try to get on a kid’s level when taking their photo.

Brandon Stanton

New York has the biggest, most eclectic collection of people in the world.

Brandon Stanton

I didn’t actually begin photographing, or even visit New York, for the first time until I was 26.

Brandon Stanton

The media chooses to portray the most extreme and violent aspects of a place. I do the opposite and portray the normality.

Brandon Stanton

Fortunately, I’ve done so many interviews that I’ve become very good at detecting when someone is giving a less-than-candid reply.

Brandon Stanton

I’ve done commercial work for Amtrak. However, that was branded as Stanton. I stipulated at the very beginning that it was not going to involve ‘Humans of New York,’ that I wasn’t going to promote it on ‘Humans of New York.’ So nobody who follows me really even knows that I did it.

Brandon Stanton