A Pakistani man reached out to photographer Brandon Stanton to thank him for showing a different side of his country.
Humans of New York, the inspirational photoblog by Brandon Stanton, just keeps getting bigger and more inspirational. It's a feel-good behemoth that can't be stopped, and shouldn't.
If you've never heard of it, here's the deal: Stanton takes candid photos of ordinary people on the streets of New York City and interviews them about their lives. He posts the photos along with an interesting quote of theirs on HONY's wildly popular Facebook page, where it's seen by more than 14 million followers. Stanton's posts are sometimes sad and sometimes sweet, but always insightful, and many of them have gone massively viral. One, from a gay kid concerned for his future, even attracted a comment from Hillary Clinton herself. That's how you know it's popular.
Recently, Stanton has brought the HONY brand international, traveling across the world to document people from other countries. As it turns out, interesting people don't just live in New York City! He's just wrapping up a trip to Pakistan, where he got some great pictures. One Pakistani fan named Hasan Saeed was so delighted by Stanton's visit, he posted his own thank-you message on the HONY Facebook page. And even though it's not a photo, it's gone viral too.
You may probably not know me and there is a high probability that we will never meet in person.. You were supposed to come to Pakistan last year, but it didn't work out and you made it this year. When I heard the news that you were coming this year, some serious fan boying took place, philosophical lines were practised, but sadly you had already left before you announced that you were coming to Pakistan. In hindsight, it's better that we didn't meet as the only words out of my mouth would have been " Me HONY fan, big fan", followed by incoherent fan-boying and promptly fainting.
I just wanted to thank you for coming to my country and breaking the negative image we have abroad, one picture at a time. Thank you for holding a mirror to this society to help us realize the privileged life we lead. Thank you for showing the hardships the people of this country face. Thank you for showing that the basic necessities of life, that we take for granted are luxuries for others. Thank you for approaching drug addicts, asking about their life story. We shun them but you, who doesn't even speak the same language approached them and talked to them. You have single handedly furthered the eradication of bonded labor in this country than anyone else in years. In the words of the world's greatest detective, “A hero can be anyone, even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy’s shoulders to let him know the world hadn’t ended.”. In this case, you are the hero who is changing the world one picture at a time.
An HONY fan.
Saeed's message is resonating with a lot of people, not least of all because of the sweet Batman quote at the end. That's why it's attracted so much attention — it currently has more than 8,000 likes. He makes an excellent point: sometimes, dispelling negative myths about an entire culture is as easy as taking a picture of someone and asking a couple questions. Pakistan, for example, is an enormous and populous country, with diverse citizens and lifestyles. Stanton's trip there probably did a lot of good in proving that to HONY's international audience.
This whole story just has me feeling good, and also craving Pakistani food. If just one person tries that stuff because they read this, I'll count that as a win.