A couple of months ago I discovered a page on Facebook called Humans of New York (also known as HONY). The page features multiple portraits of New Yorkers as seen through the keen eye of photographer Brandon Stanton. With over 300,000 followers, I was a little late to the party.
Brandon does what I like to do – he people watches. I tend to sit in public places and covertly try to capture someone in a sketch. He takes a much bolder approach by asking his subjects to quickly pose for a photo wherever he happens to see them. The result is a fascinating cross-section of humanity sharing the streets of the Big Apple.
One of Brandon’s shots a few weeks ago really snagged the attention of the character designer in me. He got this shot of an old weathered Greek man who, despite having been in this new country he now loves for fifty-two years, still looked as though he was from his homeland.
The whole Old Country immigrant in America thing really struck me when I saw the photo. Not only did this gentleman have a great look, but it triggered the personal remembrance that I am only a few generations away from immigrants in my own family. My great grandparents came here from Europe for a new life, and I have a relative that passed through Ellis Island. Like this gentleman, they held a soft spot for home, but were intensely proud to become Americans.
For that I am truly grateful.