A special kind of people watching.

There is something so fascinating about people watching. Sitting back in your own world, watching people go by in their own, and thinking what makes them tick or what makes them who they are. I like to look at the different people, the “normal” people, the “strange” people, those “weirdly dressed”. I like people who are interesting.

There’s a fantastic photography project online called Humans of New York, started by photographer, Brandon Stanton, who posts portraits of some of the more interesting characters he has come across in NYC.

The thing is, it’s more than just a picture. He talks to these people, and posts a snippet of what they had to say, or what they were doing. The posts are always endearing and show insight into the lives of these different people. A couple of days ago he announced he wanted to raise funds through HONY for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. His goal was $100 000, which he reached in a matter of hours, and in 3 days he’s reached $165 000.

Have a look at some of these, including the captions.

https://i0.wp.com/25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mdgfwtapQN1qggwnvo1_1280.jpg

Celebrating the big “One Week” anniversary

https://i0.wp.com/25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mcoe3epVHH1qggwnvo1_1280.jpg

My first hurricane

https://i2.wp.com/24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mcbjs5cVil1qggwnvo1_1280.jpg

After they finished kissing, she took off her blue cape, and laid it over a woman sleeping on a nearby bench. It was such an unbelievably poetic moment, I actually chased them down to fact-check my own eyes.

“Excuse me. Was that your blue blanket?”
“Yes.”
“And you just gave it to her?”
“….Yes, why?”
“Oh nothing.”

https://i0.wp.com/25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mcf5ztd31X1qggwnvo1_1280.jpg

“Where are you hiking to?”

“The liquor store!”

These are just some of very, very many incredible portraits. If you don’t yet follow Humans of New York on facebook, well, you really should!

Now, because I am a big fan of HONY, I was rather excited to see a local taking on a similar project with Humans of Durban. While having a look into the lives of New Yorkers, are “foreign” and “exotic” as they are, there is something so much more heartwarming and inducing a feeling of family and community than Humans of Durban. I literally discovered the page and the blog about an hour ago, so I haven’t even had the chance to look trough all the photos, but what I have seen so far has already impressed me. These pictures are taken off the Humans of Durban facebook page, and I take no credit for them.

“The woman who raised me is not my mother. I only found my mother last year – but I love her. She’s the only one I knew.”

“These tears are for my dad. He died when I was 10.”


“What’s the biggest problem facing the LGBT community in Durban right now?”

“It’s actually the community itself. It’s so segregated, it’s like high school all over again.”

“Only if I can take your photo?”


“We play soccer for a team, Amandla abadala (The Power of the Old People). Our team is going to Swaziland next month to compete”.

I am so impressed with Micaela who started this project. If I perhaps were a better photographer, or got out a bit more, maybe it’s something I’d be tempted to start in Cape Town. Either way, it’s a fantastic local project that I know will give me as many smiles as Humans of New York! Makes me pretty proud to be a South African.

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