Book Review: Humans

Title: Humans
Author: Brandon Stanton
Genre: Photography, Cultural

What It’s About: 400+ pictures and stories of people from across the globe–strangers united by one photographer who visited them, interviewed them, and photographed them. They are stories of hope, joy, sadness, loss and many more. The strangers talk about something that is important to them on that day, something that is deep and meaningful to them.

My Verdict: I got this book as a gift from my significant other–it was just a random “I’m buying it for you because your eyes lit up and you really wanted it from the Amazon Four Star store in NYC” gift, after I told him that I wanted the first two books in this series. I actually wasn’t supposed to find out about it until we got home, but I actually saw him buy it.

There’s not much to be said about the book–or rather, there’s too much to be said about the book and what stories it covers. That’s because every story in that book is so unique, so to go give a plot summary really means me talking about every story in the book, which is why I suggest you just read it if you can.

As a professional photographer myself, this book calls to me. I’ve stumbled on Brandon Stanton’s Humans of NY project years ago, but I didn’t pay it much attention at the time because I was in college, yet today, it is one of the instagram pages that I enjoy checking. Since the early days of the project, which by the way I’m a little envious and completely in AWE of, it has come such a long way, becoming a project that connects peoples of different cultures and identities in a unique way. I love the stories on there–the simplicity of the pictures is so refreshing and the captions are eyeopening. There are some captions in there that are so simple that they provide comedic relief–for example, the last page in this book, has a photo of a man with a goat, in which the caption states:

What’s your goat’s name?”
“Goat”

(HUMANS, by BRANDON STANTON, MACMILLAN, 2020, p. 437. )

Other times it’s a picture of a hand, or an object, and the stories range from being afraid to be in love, to being abused. All in all, these stories hit home, there’s always something for someone to connect with in many of these pages.

If you are the type of person who is interested in seeing how other people live, understanding other cultures, gaining empathy for others, then this book is for you. I highly recommend it.

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