The founder of the popular blog “Humans of New York,” Brandon Stanton, said on Monday that art loses its essence when driven primarily by profit motives.
Brandon Stanton made these comments against the backdrop of an ongoing controversy surrounding a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by “Humans of Bombay” against an Instagram account named “People of India.”
“For the last thirteen years I haven’t received a penny for a single story told on Humans of New York, despite many millions offered,” Brandon Stanton wrote on X. “All my income has come from books of my work, speeches I have given and Patreon.”
Stanton further said that he welcomes anyone using the “Humans of” format to express something something true and beautiful about their community. “I do not identify with anyone who is using it for the sake of creating a certain lifestyle for themselves,” he wrote.
In 2010, Stanton created the Humans of New York blog, embarking on a mission to create a “photographic census” of New York City. Over time, his captivating photographs and succinct narratives about his subjects gained widespread internet acclaim, amassing millions of social media followers and leading to several book deals. In contrast, Humans of Bombay was founded in 2014 by Karishma Mehta, who holds a degree in economics and business from a British university. This platform offers individuals the chance to be showcased in its posts in exchange for a fee.
In its lawsuit filed in the Delhi High Court, Humans of Bombay sought to restrain People of India from appropriating what they asserted to be their “distinctive storytelling format.” They alleged that People of India had replicated both the stories and the business model of Humans of Bombay in their entirety.
In an interesting turn of events, Brandon chided Humans of Bombay over the lawsuit, stating, “you can’t be suing people for what I’ve forgiven you for.”