"She still gets giddy when she sees a firefly."
Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York (HONY) has made a name for himself photographing the wonderfully diverse people he meets on the streets of NYC. Each intimate photo is paired with a caption–usually a poignant or revealing quote from the subject–that provides viewers with a fleeting but deep connection to these strangers, affirming the belief that each person has a story to share. HONY’s snapshots of humanity have gained a huge following of over 5 million fans on Facebook alone, and the numbers continue to grow rapidly.
Although we’ve posted about HONY’s street portraits previously, this time Stanton had the opportunity to photograph the rich and the famous at the annual Met Gala, an annual fundraising gala for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. Invited to the event by Vogue, Stanton rubbed elbows with the likes of John Legend, Neil Patrick Harris, and Bryan Cranston, but he photographed them the same way he would any person on the street: intimately, honestly, with no mention of names or fame, but focusing simply on the individuals and their stories.
"I'm a believer in the ordinary person, that the ordinary person is just as important and has an equally unique perspective on the world as someone who is famous or perhaps more privileged," says Stanton. “My goal was to keep my interviews the same as they’d be on the street, even though everyone was carrying cocktails and wearing tuxedos,” he told Mashable. “[I] was just hoping to walk away with a few humanizing photos that didn’t come off as glorification of celebrity culture.”
"He broke up with me once. For a day."
"One time we were driving through Italy, and we were listening to a radio station that played nothing but melodramatic Italian love songs. So we started inventing translations. The stories we made up kept getting more and more ridiculous, until soon we were both in tears."
"What's your favorite thing about your wife?"
"When were you most impressed by her creativity?"
"When she made this dress."
"Two days after I learned about my father's cancer diagnosis, I moved across the country to be with him. One of the greatest gifts of my life was being able to spend those last sixteen months with him."
"What was the most powerful moment of those sixteen months?"
"Taking him to his last Super Bowl."
"Do you remember the most frightening moment of your life?"
"Walking up the stairs of the Met in this dress."
“What’s the most frightened you’ve ever been?”
"Right now. I’m in charge of making sure these statues don’t get damaged."
"What’s your favorite thing about your father?"
"His sense of humor."
"Can you tell me the time you most appreciated his sense of humor?"
"My cousin died a couple years ago, and it was very tough for the entire family. A bunch of cars were following us in the funeral procession, and my dad led everyone around a cul-de-sac three times."
"She's my Rock of Gibraltar."
"A few years ago, I'd probably feel pressured to be in there mingling. Now I just do what's comfortable."
"All that matters is love and friendship. Everything else is just a game."