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102 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Restoring faith in Humanity, one photo at a time
Brandon's work is something really special. I've only been following his blog for a handful of months, and his photos and stories are incredible on their own, but that's not even the most surprisingly special part about this project. Read the comments on his Facebook and blog, the positive to negative ratio is unlike anything I've ever witnessed on the Internet, a place I...
Published 10 months ago by Cionie

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484 of 536 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Expected more anecdotes
I hate to break the 5-star roll, but the honest truth is that the blog is better. I was super excited to have a curated set of Brandon's absolute best photos and quotes, but most do not carry anecdotes and just say "Seen in _____". As a native New Yorker, I would also add that several neighborhoods were labeled incorrectly: a hot dog shop in Gowanus was wrongly labeled as...
Published 10 months ago by Aline


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484 of 536 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Expected more anecdotes, October 16, 2013
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This review is from: Humans of New York (Hardcover)
I hate to break the 5-star roll, but the honest truth is that the blog is better. I was super excited to have a curated set of Brandon's absolute best photos and quotes, but most do not carry anecdotes and just say "Seen in _____". As a native New Yorker, I would also add that several neighborhoods were labeled incorrectly: a hot dog shop in Gowanus was wrongly labeled as Red Hook; a corner in Gramercy was labeled "Lower Midtown" (a term Brandon invented himself-- it is used neither on maps nor in conversation).

Furthermore, there are too many similar photos; there is a limit to how many times I can be captivated by women with half-shaved heads. He's also added a lot of low-quality photos that don't tell a story and are trying too hard to be aesthetic: a plain woman in a red coat against a red and white background for instance. These seem like earlier amateur works. They would be interesting to see on the blog as evidence of how the project has matured, but in a book where each page is precious real estate, these photos lack depth and feel like filler.

In the blog, oftentimes the quotes speak louder than the photos, and that is why I follow HONY. So I can meet the people of my city through his interviews. The quotes allow us to go beyond the surface. They humanize the people photographed and tell a story. But like I said, most of the photos in the book do not have accompanying quotes. I find myself impressed by a much, much larger percentage of photos on the blog than in this book. But I commend Brandon for making his book dream come true. I think the next edition will be better. Stick to the format of the blog! Photos and anecdotes and no filler!
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102 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Restoring faith in Humanity, one photo at a time, October 15, 2013
This review is from: Humans of New York (Hardcover)
Brandon's work is something really special. I've only been following his blog for a handful of months, and his photos and stories are incredible on their own, but that's not even the most surprisingly special part about this project. Read the comments on his Facebook and blog, the positive to negative ratio is unlike anything I've ever witnessed on the Internet, a place I thought only ever brought out the negative and judgmental side of people. People relate to these individuals in ways that each one of us, on our own, might never have imagined. This book, to me, represents more than just a fabulous addition to the "art world", it represents a movement of humanity and all of the positive qualities it possesses.
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123 of 149 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of of a disappointment., October 24, 2013
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This review is from: Humans of New York (Hardcover)
I'll begin by saying that I quite enjoy the blog itself; it is an idea that which on paper sounds merely okay but in actuality turned out to be a very refreshing and uplifting testament to the stories of humanity. It is a documentation of usual New York residents and their unusual pieces of personality and personal history. Brandon Stanton is competent as a photographer, but his technical skill isn't particularly noteworthy, he merely documents what he sees. It is his 15-second interviews that really rise above and breathe life into his several years of accumulated work. It is absolutely in these mini-interviews that accompanied every photo that his strength lies, and it really does make the HONY project exceptional. All this to say that I was excited about the publication, but when it arrived I felt almost cheated. The book itself is smaller in size than I expected for a photo-book (I believe about 8-9 inches) and for the most part, the interviews and quotes from the subjects have been replaced by short little quips by the author (some of which were clever than others) or simply a notation of where the photo was taken. Gone was the inspiration, gone was the warmth and absolute humanness of each photo, and what you are left with is simply a photo-book whose photos are often nothing to write home about. I still love the blog, and I've flipped through the entire book, but it probably won't be one that I will open again and again.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book of Photography, October 15, 2013
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This review is from: Humans of New York (Hardcover)
"Humans of New York" without question, captured the spirit soul and heart of New York City.

Brandon Stanton is a wonderful source to humanity and I'm so very proud to have it on my coffee table.
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47 of 61 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three and 1/2 stars., October 31, 2013
This review is from: Humans of New York (Hardcover)
While I also find the blog better in its joyful spontaneity and lack of editing, this still is a treasure of a book which anyone would enjoy regardless of where they live.

However, what I find unforgivable is that the text is set in ALL CAPS -- ALL OF IT. Blocks of type set in all caps are difficult to read, cause eye strain, and the use of which is considered shouting. So, instead of cozying up with this delightful book, I find I can take only a few minutes of being "shouted at" before I have to put it down. Obviously design over function won out. If other books are to follow, I encourage the editors to take this into consideration. I mean really, it's basic Layout 101.
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31 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I really don't have time to talk. These shadows are shifting every minute.", October 15, 2013
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So this title is the caption of a photo of a lovely woman sketching in the park. Being self conscious on occasion, as one is, I had sort of planned my review as I was reading this book. I would choose my favorite two or three and do a vignette. Now this is impossible, because when I leaf through the pages, I find ten more favorites. And retrieving the very best one snarls me in twenty more.

This photographer set out to define the city in pictures of its occupants in all their diversity and through the changing urban landscape of New York City. He has succeeded. I think he has. It has changed that last bit of my perception of a cruel soulless city into a montage of people.

When I was a child I had a book of pictures, not published for children, but portraying a family as it understood itself, and I looked it over often. Not since then have I been moved by photography to that degree. The neat thing Isis that it is on my phone and my kindle. I can thumb one over during the day when I forget to see people and not crowds or annoyances.
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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If it weren't for HONY on Facebook, this would have never happened., October 16, 2013
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This review is from: Humans of New York (Hardcover)
I never buy books that I see people advertise on Facebook. But for the past year, I've felt like Brandon is just a friend of mine, posting his photos with little captions. Then I watched him grow more confident and gain a bigger following. And then, when he said he'd made a book - it was as if one of my best friends was telling me to buy it. I had 100% confidence in him and I was not disappointed.

On top of the direct quotes from his subjects, Brandon adds his own commentary in this book (unlike his blog, which he likes to keep out of). It's delightful. In a few words on every page, his sense of humor shines through.

This book is the perfect size - not too big, not too small. It has a great cover and the photos inside will make you laugh, smile, cry, and all of the above at the same time. The perfect example of the human experience.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!!, October 15, 2013
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I love how Stanton is able to capture each person's essence while still creating a beautifully photograph. The stories are funny and heartfelt but honest. I want to see more of his work for sure
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27 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE it, October 15, 2013
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caa11105 (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Humans of New York (Hardcover)
But, then, I didn't expect that I would have any other reaction. I ordered four, as a matter of fact. One for a friend who is planning to move here, one for my 14-year old goddaughter in Germany, one for my dad, who is sad I like it here (with the comment ... and this is why I like living here) and one for myself. I actually think I will order another for the reception area of the company I work at. So overdue, this look at NY that embraces all its humans in all their individuality. And it's a truly aesthetically beautiful book, too!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Numinous New Yorkers Shine Through Stanton's Lazy Lens, January 7, 2014
This review is from: Humans of New York (Hardcover)
I hesitate to rain on the parade of laurels being heaped upon this book. I enjoyed looking at these photos. It was inspiring and warming to see the vivacity and diversity of New York's humans.

But I have several serious reservations.

Firstly, Stanton is not a great photographer. He admits as much in the introduction. He takes GOOD to AVERAGE photgraphs of very interesting people and scenes. So as I made my way through the book, I felt sort of cheated. I kept waiting for a "whoa" inspiration and instead felt lots of "hmmms."

Second, I admit that the commentaries and interviews might be better on Stanton's blog; but I'm judging this book on its own, and the captions included here run from just plain informational ("seen in Central Park East,") to INCREDIBLY vapid, telly, and sentimental.

Lastly, because Stanton is NOT a great photographer, he tends to hunt for subjects who make up for in noise what he lacks in compositional skill. Rather than say, Edward Hopper-esque photographs of people in thoughtful or mysterious moments, Stanton relies on mohawks, transexuality, and piercings to distract us from his unimaginitive compositional skills. I have absolutely NOTHING against any of those subjects, people, or lifestyle choices--the problem is that Stanton would have us believe these people inhabit these pages because he's seeking a TRUE photographic "census" of the humans of New York City. I'm cynical about that. As I said, Stanton is not interested in SHOWING us something interesting ABOUT these people through his medium; so I come away from these pictures, ESPECIALLY the ones of people living alternative lifestyles, feeling voyeuristic. There is a grand total of ONE photograph of men in suits near Wall Street. This is an "comprehensive" view of the humans of New York? At times, it's as though we're looking through the photo album of a child who toured New York with his parents for the first time and said "Look!!! A Hasidic Jew! Look two gay men!!! I heard about those!" In each case, Stanton is objectifying the very subjects he's aiming to celebrate.

So why the three stars? New York is New York and even Stanton's lazy lens can't subdue the beauty of her inhabitants in all their colors and glory.
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Humans of New York
Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton (Hardcover - October 15, 2013)
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