The Hardest Part of Making Humans of New York, According to Its Creator

It’s surprisingly relatable.

On the most recent episode of The Thrive Global Podcast with iHeartRadio, Brandon Stanton, creator of the viral photo-blog Humans of New York, told Thrive Global CEO and founder Arianna Huffington that the hardest part of his work is facing rejection.

Stanton takes portraits of people on the streets of New York and asks them questions about their lives. The result is beautiful photos with heartfelt, deeply personal captions that are relatable yet intimate. But the process behind that finished product, the one we “like” along with HONY’s 18 million other Facebook fans, isn’t as easy as it seems.

“It’s not the people who say yes that make it difficult,” Stanton told Huffington about photographing and interviewing people. Nor is it taking great photos or asking the right questions. There are “thousands and thousands of people who have told me no or rejected me, and then a lot of interviews that didn’t quite work out.”

Stanton said that a huge part of his work is talking to people who “don’t wanna talk to you,” and that people often ignore him. “When people do agree to get into a conversation, a lot of people don’t open up, which is completely their right, but makes it very hard to make a compelling narrative,” he told Huffington. “So there is a lot of work and a lot of rejection behind these seemingly effortless moments.”

What we see as “seemingly effortless moments,” actually include a whole lot of rejection, “thousands of miles walked, thousands of people approached,” Stanton said.

To hear the full conversation, click here.

You can also listen to the Thrive Global Podcast internationally for free on iTunes and Stitcher.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


The Creator of Humans of New York on Why We’re Captivated By His Stories

by Shelby Lorman

How the Creator of Humans of New York Avoids Burnout

by Shelby Lorman
Work Smarter//

Humans of New York Creator on Why Success Isn’t Linear

by Shelby Lorman

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.