There’s something fascinating about the everyday strangers we pass by in the street. Whether it be someone you sit by in class or a stranger in line at the Nebraska Union Starbucks, watching and learning about ordinary lives is something many humans naturally enjoy.
Since 2010, Brandon Stanton has been capturing the fascinating lives of pedestrians through his famous blog “Humans of New York.” What started out as a passion project to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers on the street has evolved into a career of storytelling. In addition to photographing his subjects, Stanton interviews them for quotes he includes in his blog.
On Feb. 26, Stanton will be sharing his storytelling abilities with students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln during “Brandon Stanton — Humans of New York: the Power of Authentic Storytelling.” This free University Program Council event will begin at 7:30 p.m. via Zoom. The link to join is available on the event page.
Since the project’s inception, Stanton has expanded his mission to include not just New Yorkers, but humans from around the globe. He’s gathered stories from places like Iran, Jordan, Uganda, Kenya and many more.
These collections of photographs and short stories are displayed on Stanton’s blog, social media pages, multiple books and a Facebook web series. In 2013, Stanton was named one of Time Magazine’s “30 Under 30 World Changers” for his storytelling blog.
Stanton’s blog is full of emotional, tear-jerking stories from strangers. His most recent post includes a quote from a woman who used her appearance in the blog to thank her father for being a consistent, loving single dad to her and her brother. She reflected on her childhood and how the three of them shared one bedroom growing up; despite him not being the biological father to her brother, she shared how they were always equally as loved.
Stanton’s projects provide readers with a sense of deep connection to those they may never meet — like the woman in his last post — and an opportunity to hear the stories of people from all over the world. According to UPC Nebraska’s primary programmer, Jess Conrad, this element of human connection was what inspired the idea for this event.
“Obviously we’re still in the middle of a pandemic,” Conrad said. “I think we had a really great opportunity here to bring someone who values the power of human connection, to speak on it in a time where students may feel like they’re a little bit lonely.”
During the event, Stanton will give a presentation about the story behind his renowned blog as well as the power of authentic storytelling and human connection. After his presentation, a Q&A session will follow.
Conrad believes this event will offer students the opportunity to learn from someone who fully understands the power of human connection in a time when we need it most.
“This is a great time to open our horizons and learn from someone who has valued and highlighted the power of connection and storytelling,” Conrad said. “It’s just a great opportunity to hear from him personally, listen to his story and to see his motivations behind why he did what he did.”