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For those who may not know, Humans Of New York, or HONY, as many call it, is a website dedicated to, as the name suggests, the people of New York City, where the photographer, Brandon, approaches strangers and asks them for a quick picture. Online, he combines the pictures with quotes from his conversations that day to produce a beautiful story that shapes up the untold story of New York City.
“My mom died when I was sixteen from cirrhosis of the liver. She had a really bad drinking problem, but I don’t blame her, because she had an addiction problem and was dealing with the pressure of being a single mother— my dad left the family when I was two. But my mom overcompensated for the guilt of drinking by spoiling me. And because she always gave me what I wanted, I’m finding it difficult to develop drive late in life.” ”Wow, you’re introspective.” ”Yeah, therapy is going well.”
This story reminds us of the ongoing issues that can be faced by the children of parents who struggle with addiction. They can affect people from a young age in ways that can damage their dreams.
“She always dreams about the bombs.” (Erbil, Iraq)
This one quote and picture reminds us of the nightmares faced in The Middle East where violence and war is rampant. This father’s quote tells us how war can affect children even in their sleep, which is supposed to be a person’s way to escape.
“I’m losing my eyesight. It’s a condition called retinitis pigmentosa. It starts with your peripheral vision and moves inward. It’s not too bad for me yet. Sometimes I don’t notice when somebody is trying to shake my hand. And sometimes it can be hard for me to keep track of what line I’m reading. But I got the disease from my father, and he went completely blind in his 40’s. So I try to spend as much time as possible looking at things like the colors of the leaves and cool cloud formations.”
This story reminds us of how important it is to stop and “smell the roses,” or in this case, take in everything that surrounds us; because we never know when it will be taken away.