Published On: Tue, Aug 18th, 2015

‘Humans of New York’ goes to Pakistan


With a fan following of over 14 million on social media, Brandon Stanton needs no introduction. An American photographer and blogger, Stanton’s portraits of New York’s inhabitants are popular all around the world. According to his Facebook page Humans of New York, he tries to provide ‘daily glimpses into the lives of strangers on the streets of New York City’ through his photographs.

It is not only his photographs that are captivating, but also the short stories he tells about his subjects. A little girl who wants to be a fairy when she grows up, a woman fighting depression, and a janitor who takes pride in his work feature among the 50,000 -plus stories he has captured.

Every year, Stanton travels out of New York to photograph people in another setting. Previous excursions have seen him travelling to the Middle East and India. He is currently in Pakistan posting stories from overseas.

Here’s a look at Pakistan though Stanton’s camera.

“I wanted to be a singer. I loved music. I practiced all the time and worked on writing songs for myself. I loved sad songs especially. But the community put so much pressure on my mother. My father passed away when I was twelve. And everyone kept telling my mother that a girl could not be something like a singer without her father’s permission. My father wouldn’t have minded. He was always so supportive of me. But my mom was so worried about what people would think. She begged me to stop. She grew so nervous that I finally told her, ‘It’s OK, Mom. I’ll stop.’ Now I just listen to music. It’s too sad for me to sing anymore.”
(Hunza Valley, Pakistan)

What’s your goat’s name?”
(Hunza Valley, Pakistan)

“He’s a very respectful husband. He’s different from a lot of the men in this region. He never stops me from voicing my opinions. And if he ever notices me walking down the road, there’s always hot tea and apricot cake waiting when I arrive. (Passu, Pakistan)

“Shortly after we were married, I got tuberculosis and rashes broke out all over my body. They smelled so bad that I had to be cleaned three times a day. She always made me fresh food and made sure I had clean clothes every time I bathed. One morning, during this time, she asked me: ‘Would you do the same if I got sick?’ I promised her: ‘I’ll do even more.’…” 
(Karachi, Pakistan)

“I belong to a very conservative family, so I’ve been dealing with a lot of permission issues. There are a lot of boundaries on me. Most of the women in my family are housewives, and my father would prefer me to become a housewife as well. But I’ve been working so hard in school. I’m studying all the freaking time. These exams are so tough. I don’t want all this hard work to be wasted. I want to be a businesswoman. My mother is a housewife. She needs to ask my father for everything. When he’s not around, she tells me: ‘Do exactly what you want to do.’”
(Karachi, Pakistan)

“It seems that violence is the only lens through which ordinary people in Pakistan are viewed in the media. Even if it’s a story about a Pakistani rock band, it will be set in the context of a violent society. There’s nothing false about the perspective. Pakistan has a problem with violence…”
(Karachi, Pakistan)

“I left an abusive relationship and I have nowhere to go. I have Hepatitis C, so no one is willing to take me in. I don’t know how long I will live. I tried to give her up for adoption so that she’d have a good home. The wife of a minister told me about a place where I could drop her off. But when I got there, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.” (1/2) (Lahore, Pakistan)

“I’ve been complaining about a good friend to my colleagues recently, and I need to stop. This is someone who’s been like a brother to me. When my pockets were empty, he stepped in to help me out. Recently he’s done some small things that bother me. And I’ve somehow allowed those small things to blind me from all the big things that he’s done in the past.”
(Karachi, Pakistan)

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