Humans

Brandon Stanton. St. Martin’s, $35 (448p) ISBN 978-1-25011-429-7
Stanton (Humans of New York) composes a beautiful love letter to humanity in this moving compilation of his work. Hundreds of portraits from around the world are accompanied by poignant quotes from each subject in his signature style, and interspersed with the photos are fascinating details about Stanton’s process, like his standard first interview question: “What’s your greatest struggle right now?” The subjects’ responses span topics including death, raising kids, and addiction, imbuing the candid images with lifetimes worth of meaning and memory. One subject playing piano on a street in Montreal says, “You could make a horror movie about my life,” then recounts years of familial abuse and shocking violence. Children offer a lighter reprieve, with a tie-wearing kid in New York who says the hardest part of first grade is “eleven plus eleven.” First-world problems, like a man in a Tokyo intersection who needs more YouTube followers, contrast with recollections of the Rwandan genocide from a woman in Butare, Rwanda. Stanton’s skill at putting people at ease comes through in the spontaneity of the images, as well as in the stories they share with him. It’s an outstanding survey, and each new image reveals something unique about the human condition. (Oct.)

Correction: An earlier version of this review incorrectly noted the images in the book are black and white.

Reviewed on : 09/23/2020
Release date: 10/06/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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