In the realm of Facebook royalty, few stand above Brandon Stanton. The photographer, perhaps better known by the name of his wildly popular photo project “Humans of New York,” has been delivering portraits of urbanites nationwide to massive critical and social acclaim. Now, students throughout Ithaca will have the opportunity to catch Stanton in-person, with the Cornell University Program Board welcoming him as a speaker Sept. 11 in the university’s Bailey Hall.
Stanton, who first began the Humans of New York project in 2010, has since accrued a Facebook following of over 14 million fans through his brief, yet often intimate photo-portraits. Michael Luzmore, Cornell junior and president of CUPB, said this mainstream success made Stanton an accessible and exciting choice as a speaker.
“We always look with our event to get a wide range of Cornell’s campus, so our goal is to not just appeal to one subgroup of Ithaca or Cornell, but to really, with each of our shows, hit a different group of people and have a diverse series of programming,” Luzmore said. “We thought, with Brandon, we really could get someone who was very mainstream and a lot of people recognized and would be very excited about.”
The board’s intuition seems spot–on. Tickets for the event — where Stanton will speak on his project’s rise to fame — are sold out, and with over 3,240 confirmed attendees on the event’s Facebook page, Luzmore said the student response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“We knew it would be popular among students, but I think it really exceeded our expectations. We’re nearly at the point, at least just looking at the Facebook event, we could fill the venue,” he said. “People are very excited, and I’m excited to see how the show’s going to go this Friday.”