If You Liked Humans of New York

Someone was clever and cheeky at Strand Books in New York City. I saw this sign yesterday tucked inside Antoine D’Agata’s book Antibodies.


If you’re not familiar with Antoine D’Agata’s photographs, have a look. His work is a nice antidote to the clean-cut banality of “Humans of New York”. And it would be a lovely surprise for someone genuinely interested in HONY to open up this book of harsh, intimate and graphic images. I hope that it does shock some folks browsing the photo book section at Strand.

We’ve been trying to write something about “Humans of New York” and our aversion to the work on dvafoto for months, but this photo will suffice for now.

But as a teaser, start with this brilliant critique on Warscapes of Brandon Stanton’s project. And for some discussion of the discomfort some of us in the photo community have for the work see this article in the New York Times from last summer.

Scott and I keep coming back to this phrase, from the NYT article: “Mr. Stanton professes to be apolitical. “I purposely and pointedly try to avoid infusing any meaning in the work,” he said.” This is a huge problem for this project, and we’ll discuss it later.

“Antibodies” looks like a terrific book, by the way, and I’ll grab a copy for myself soon.

2 Responses to “If You Liked Humans of New York”

  1. Sarah Jacobs

    That quote from the New York Times article has always rubbed me the wrong way as well. If you’re not trying to infuse any meaning into your work, then as a viewer I’m simply not interested in you or your images at all.

    • M. Scott Brauer

      Definitely agree with you on that, Sarah. Really strange to hear that, but not surprising. Things with widespread appeal (aphorisms, generic paintings, religion, horoscopes, etc.) seem to have that appeal because they can be interpreted in so many different ways. You can take any HONY post and apply it to your life and worldview as you see fit.

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