Brandon Stanton, Humans of New York, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 2013, challenges one of our cherished values of street photography. True street photos are spontaneous and not posed. I think this is valid in our current ethos of street photography. Spontaneity is interesting.
BUT along comes this book with posed photos including quotes from his subjects. The quotes do add an interesting dimension, like a “man on the street” interview. He tells his subjects he’s trying to get photos of “everyone in the neighborhood”, kind of a neighborhood photo album.
This book has made me rethink my anonymous “hit and run” method of street photography. I believe the reason for the book’s runaway success is Stanton’s strong connection with his subjects.