Humans by Brandon Stanton

Humans by Brandon Stanton is a coffee table-style book worth the time it takes to examine its large, full color photos featuring people of all kinds. I read this book a while back but it has stuck with me so much I felt it worth sharing. The author approached people while traveling all over the world and asked them to share something about themselves. Anything.

It amazes me how freely the people profiled opened up to the author, revealing their joys, heartbreaks, hopes, and vulnerabilities. One person shared how the abuse perpetrated by their father throughout a lifetime led to a chain of events that resulted in homelessness and amputation. Another shared his hopes for his tween son and the self-doubt that keeps him awake at night wondering if he is doing right by him as a father. One woman shared how her faith brought her a level of joy and success that she never anticipated.  One exquisitely dressed person happily shared their love for people-watching in the park and how accepting others just the way they are has brought peace. Some lamented about smoking too much, eating too much, worrying too much, loving too much.

I found it beautiful, both visually and emotionally. It served as a reminder that we all have doubts, insecurities, worries and troubles but that we also can share and celebrate one another’s joys and triumphs. Plus, in this time when many of us are not socializing much due to Covid-19, reading this book was a unique way to experience some form of human intimacy and expand my capacity for empathy. The takeaway for me was that humans seek connection in inventive and fascinating ways- sometimes painful, sometimes delightful, but always beautiful.



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