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on October 16, 2013
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 include 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 or his editor invented-- it is used neither on maps nor colloquially).

Furthermore, there are too many similar photos; there is a limit to how many times I can be captivated by women with half-shaven heads. He's also included 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 stories humanize the subjects; they allow us to go beyond the surface of skin and cloth. But as I said, most of the photos in the book do not have those accompanying quotes. I find myself moved 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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on October 15, 2013
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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on October 24, 2013
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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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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on October 31, 2013
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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on October 16, 2013
I pre-ordered this book months ago and was so excited when it arrived today. I started paging through it and was captivated, as I always am by the photos and stories that Brandon captures.

I laughed, I cried, and I almost forgot to pick my kids up from the bus stop. Totally worth it.
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on October 15, 2013
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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on October 16, 2013
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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on November 19, 2013
If you enjoy HONY, you will enjoy this book. The same wit and beautiful photographs that are on the website are in the book. However, I bought the Kindle version to read on my Fire. The book is not formatted well for this device. If you are really interested in seeing the pictures and reading the captions, buy the book. You cannot "zoom" in on the Fire. I suppose I could have looked at it on my computer and the screen would have been larger but I didn't. I wish I had purchased the hard copy.
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on January 7, 2014
I was hoping that the pictures would have the stories that accompany them on the website. I purchased this book for my mother to share with her something I enjoy, and without the quotes and stories, it really loses something.
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