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Brain behind 'Humans of New York' captures students' hearts at Rutgers

Having snapped nearly 5,000 pictures and composed three books, Humans of New York's Brandon Stanton paid a visit to Rutgers on Nov. 2 to share his story on humanity, travel and success.

Stanton visited Rutgers during an event hosted by the Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA) and the Department of Leadership and Experiential Learning, where a large number of attendees packed the two shows held at Trayes Hall in the Douglass Student Center, according to The Daily Targum.

With a Facebook following of more than 16 million, Humans of New York originated as exclusively photography. As the project evolved, Stanton began incorporating interviews and quotes.

Today, he takes a 45-minute interview and condenses the story into a few paragraphs, Stanton said.

Every story is unique, obtained by Stanton approaching strangers daily.

“You start talking with people and take an interest in their story that not many people have taken before,” Stanton said. “Sometimes I’m the only real conversation these people have had in a week or two.”

Success in failure is important, he said. He failed many times before achieving his present success.

Humans of New York has an extremely humanizing effect that allows people from the West to identify with those from other regions of the world, Stanton said.

“A lot of the time our society tells us how different we are from each other, but sometimes when we flip through (Stanton’s) stories we can resonate with what we see. The stories might be a reflection of our own stories,” said Keywuan Caulk, assistant director of the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities.

Stanton recently traveled to other countries in order to expand his stories and to expose people from the West to cultures from other parts of the world that are often underrepresented, focusing greatly on the refugee crisis, he said.

“It became clear to me that after a certain point, I learned the magic and power of (the Humans of New York project) wasn’t New York City, but the interaction with the stranger,” he said.

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