“Eight Million Stories”: Humans of New York Project

brandon

“There are eight million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them.” -  From The Naked City

In 2010, Brandon Stanton lost his job as a trader in Chicago.  Despite his mother’s objections, Stanton moved to New York City to pursue the latest thing with which he had become “borderline-obsessed“:  photography.

At first, Stanton was only snapping pictures of the city’s residents. His original goal was simply “to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers and plot their photos on a map.”  But after a few months, Stanton began adding captions and commentary to the photographs.   “Taken together,” the photographer explains,  “these portraits and captions became the subject of a vibrant blog, which over the past two years has gained a large daily following. With nearly one million collective followers on Facebook and Tumblr, HONY now provides a worldwide audience with glimpses into the lives of strangers in New York City.”

In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald called New York City the “wild promise of all the mystery and beauty in the world.”  Some eighty-eight years later, it still holds all that mystery and beauty, and through his lens and careful attention, Stanton helps develop those stories in colorful resolution.

The following are just a few of my favorite images and stories. Follow Humans of New York here.

 

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Sylvia Fitz in Time for Gatsby

Anyone who has ever marked up a page of The Great Gatsby, you’re in good company. Dangerous Minds this week posted a page from Sylvia Plath’s own copy, complete with annotations. But of course, as they’re Sylvia Plath’s, we inevitably find ourselves reading into them…

The excerpt comes from the first chapter of the novel. In it, Daisy tells Nick and company her reaction to the birth of her daughter. Here’s exactly what Plath found so interesting on the page:

She told me it was a girl, and so I turned my head away and wept. ‘All right,’ I said, ‘I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool – that’s the best thing a girl can be in the world, a beautiful little fool.’

“You see I think everything’s terrible anyhow,” she went on in a convinced way. “Everybody thinks so -nthe most advanced people. And I know. I’ve been everywhere and seen everything and done everything.” Her eyes flashed around her in a defiant way, rather like Tom’s, and she laughed with thrilling scorn. “Sophisticated – God, I’m sophisticated!”

In the margin beside the highlighted second paragraph, Plath wrote the comment “l’ennui.” So whereas Nick “felt the basic insincerity of what she had said,” Plath herself felt Daisy to be suffering from listlessness. Was she sympathetic to Daisy’s cynical views of the world?

Seemingly, the passage resonated enough with Plath for her to mark it up like that. But should we take meaning from it, or simply chalk it up to active reading?

Any thoughts eNoters?


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