Photo via HONY

The place-based storytelling site mounts a campaign to help victims of Hurricane Sandy.

STARTED IN 2012 by photographer Brandon Stanton, Humans of New York now has over 435,000 fans on Facebook and nearly 10,000 followers on Twitter. Stanton takes sweet photos and has a knack for including snippets of conversation with just the right telling details, but the success of his project is also a result of a very basic human impulse: We like to watch.

We also like to find ways to connect, and this might be what’s making Stanton’s latest effort, a relief fundraiser for those affected by Hurricane Sandy, so successful.

Humans of New York — HONY, to its fans — began as “a photographic census of New York.” The original idea was to make an “an exhaustive catalogue of the city’s inhabitants,” so Stanton decided to try and photograph 10,000 New Yorkers and plot their photos on a map. When he started posting quotes and short stories taken from his subjects, his audience grew — and fast.

While Stanton’s portraits attempt to capture the stories that collectively make up New York street life, Hurricane Sandy created a new narrative for the city. The resulting HONY photographs portrayed another dimension of NYC — these were images from the city in crisis.

On November 11, Stanton updated the HONY Facebook page to announce a fundraiser for those affected by Hurricane Sandy:

For the next ten days, I’m going to be dedicating HONY to raising money for Hurricane Sandy. We’re going to try to do this in a HONY-like way. The blog’s content will be dedicated to telling the stories of people affected by the storm. Sandy left behind a lot of sad stories, but also some happy ones. We’re going to try to tell them all.

He met his goal of $100,000 in 19 hours. With 3 days to go, over $200,000 has been raised, and the HONY Facebook page continues to swell with words of encouragement and support — amounting to a very different kind of census of New York.

You can kick in via Indiegogo.

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