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When Images Tell the Tale

In a new project in collaboration with the UN, Brandon Stanton, the photographer behind the hugely successful photography blog Humans of New York, is currently on a tour around the world, using his unique format and techniques to photograph local people and to record their stories. The Project is aptly named, Humans of New York – World Tour.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Stanton’s original and on-going Humans of New York (HONY) photography series; he began the project back in 2010, with the idea that it would be interesting to create an extensive visual catalogue of New York City’s citizens. Stanton then set out to photograph thousands of New Yorkers and aimed to eventually plot their photos on an interactive online map, identifying people living in the cities’ five boroughs. However, as he started collecting quotes and short stories from the people he photographed and placed them alongside the photographs, it was evident that this was a much more exciting pursuit than his previous idea. These photo portraits and tagged on captions was the beginning of a vibrant blog that fascinated the online community and attracted millions of followers on social media.

The UN made a wise decision to use Stanton for this unique photography project. He regularly shares his photograph portraits with the accompanying caption or quote to the HONY blog followers; a seemingly simple undertaking, however Stanton’s true skills lie in both his choice of who to photograph and, his ability to use an informal after-shot conversation to break down their social barriers to reveal intimate and captivating stories about their life. Then finally presenting them in a delicate and respectful manner.

This unique approach is the key to the ‘Humans of New York UN Tour’ project, with the tour visiting ten countries all located in areas of the world that are deemed to be in an element of crisis. The tour, starting in August, began in Iraq, then on to Jordan and is currently traveling through the African countries of Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo; with India and Vietnam next on the list. The purpose of the tour is to raise awareness of the UN’s Millennium Goals, a series of eight objectives including the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, the reduction of child mortality and the combating of HIV, Malaria and other diseases, which the UN member states aim to achieve by 2015.

The tour has produced some charming images with some moving quotes and captions. I can’t wait to see what Stanton and the UN shoot next.

Check out the regularly updated photo feed of the world tour on the Humans of New York Blog.

“I’m living a good life. I’m a business owner. A lot of hotels say, ‘Come shine shoes for us. We will pay you better.’ I tell them: ‘Why would I do that? I am free.’” (Shaqlawa, Iraq)

“I’m living a good life. I’m a business owner. A lot of hotels say, ‘Come shine shoes for us. We will pay you better.’ I tell them: ‘Why would I do that? I am free.’” (Shaqlawa, Iraq)

"If you speak gently, you’ll find good people wherever you go. If you find a bad person, just move on to the next person." (Petra, Jordan)

"If you speak gently, you’ll find good people wherever you go. If you find a bad person, just move on to the next person." (Petra, Jordan)

"I row 16 kilometers per day. A few weeks ago, I was in Germany for the Junior World Championships. My goal is to make the Olympics one day. But it can be tough to compete with the European countries. We don’t have the gym equipment that they have. And they practice with actual racing boats. We only get to use the racing boats during the race." (Kampala, Uganda)

"I row 16 kilometers per day. A few weeks ago, I was in Germany for the Junior World Championships. My goal is to make the Olympics one day. But it can be tough to compete with the European countries. We don’t have the gym equipment that they have. And they practice with actual racing boats. We only get to use the racing boats during the race." (Kampala, Uganda)

"I clean the streets. I used to work as a lifeguard at a fancy hotel on the Dead Sea, but I lost my job. I brought some of the mud from the beach to my cousin because it is good for your skin. My manager said: ‘Hey! We can sell that! You’re stealing!’" (Amman, Jordan)

"I clean the streets. I used to work as a lifeguard at a fancy hotel on the Dead Sea, but I lost my job. I brought some of the mud from the beach to my cousin because it is good for your skin. My manager said: ‘Hey! We can sell that! You’re stealing!’" (Amman, Jordan)

"I’ve sold fish in the market for the last thirty years, because I never had the chance to go to university. Recently my daughter graduated from Makerere, which is one of the best schools in the country. When I walked through the gates to attend her graduation, I felt so happy, because I never thought I’d see the inside of a university."(Kampala, Uganda)

"I’ve sold fish in the market for the last thirty years, because I never had the chance to go to university. Recently my daughter graduated from Makerere, which is one of the best schools in the country. When I walked through the gates to attend her graduation, I felt so happy, because I never thought I’d see the inside of a university."(Kampala, Uganda)

"I want to be an engineer.""What advice would you give other engineers?""If you build a house that collapses, you’re going to get arrested. So you need to keep using the pendulum to make sure that everything is straight. Also, your cement mix has to be strong. You also need to be careful with the builders that you hire, or they will steal the cement from you.”"What sort of building would you build?""A factory that makes new books, so that everyone can have new books for school. All of my books are old and have writing in them."(Entebbe, Uganda)

"I want to be an engineer.""What advice would you give other engineers?""If you build a house that collapses, you’re going to get arrested. So you need to keep using the pendulum to make sure that everything is straight. Also, your cement mix has to be strong. You also need to be careful with the builders that you hire, or they will steal the cement from you.”"What sort of building would you build?""A factory that makes new books, so that everyone can have new books for school. All of my books are old and have writing in them."(Entebbe, Uganda)

'What do you guys want to do when you grow up?' 'Doctor.' 'Doctor.' 'What's your greatest struggle right now?' 'Maths.' 'Maths.' (Erbil, Iraq)

'What do you guys want to do when you grow up?' 'Doctor.' 'Doctor.' 'What's your greatest struggle right now?' 'Maths.' 'Maths.' (Erbil, Iraq)