In ‘Humans of New York – The Series,’ photographer Brandon Stanton begins with time.
New York fidgets in the background as a worn black man sits on a bright red chair lamenting the futility of trying to get some of life back and, for the first time since the photographic sensation launched his award winning photo blog, we see his subjects come to life.
We watch them mumble and move, spouting the incredible and accidental wisdom that has brightened our days and highlighted our humanity since 2010.
The docuseries, put plainly, is incredible.
Adding movie to the movement alongside cinematographer Michael Crommett, Stanton presents the culmination of 1200 interviews filmed over four years.
“Early on I realized that video would add a deeper layer to Humans of New York,” says Stanton in an introductory post on Facebook.
“At the heart of all these posts are the conversations themselves. I’m often deeply moved by the people I meet. Or they make me laugh. Or they make me think. And I always do my best to recreate the experience through photos and words. But I always knew that video would provide the closest thing to ‘actually being there.’”
Available exclusively on Facebook’s new Watch tab, the series expands on what the blog does best: let’s random New Yorkers speak for themselves.
With the best of the interviews sorted into themes of time, star, home, relationships, purpose, mission, parenting and help, the weekly series is currently on episode 9 of 12 of the first season.
A return to Stanton’s roots after exploring the photographic concept in Iran, Iraq, India, Sudan, Nepal, Mexico, Ukraine, Jordan, Israel, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and Uganda, the docuseries is as emotive as ever.
New York sparkles. Its diverse inhabitants cure and cut to the core and all the while Crommett, the cinematographer, urges us to watch the light and the seasons change while a yellow cab is reflected in a puddle.
Presenting a series of short, sharp candid vignettes offering insight into everything from black fatherhood in the context of daughters, the ageing artist, homelessness, PTSD, joy, pain, divorce, ambition, the freedom of a hijab and everything in between, ‘Humans of New York – The Series’ is a soothing slice of life.
Described as a collection of “intimate and surprising conversations with strangers on the streets of New York City,” the series is particularly striking when it foregrounds the marginalised.
The disabled father and sketch artist whose seven-year-old went missing without a trace. Two young hijab-wearing Muslim women giggling over their summer bucket list which includes dying their hair funky colours. A homeless man who expounds on the particular pain of being adrift at Christmas and an old Holocaust survivor who laments how easily the world forgets the aged.
We’ve read their stories, caught a glimpse of their lives, joys, neuroses and fears and we’ve seen their words transcribed in the photo blog.
These are their voices.
Brandon Stanton’s moving, meandering humans of New York.