'Humans of New York' Photographer: DKNY Stole My Photos After I Turned Them Down [UPDATE]
Brandon Stanton is a street photographer who has made a name for himself snapping shots of New York City's inhabitants for a "photographic census" he calls "Humans of New York."
His project has attracted the attention of thousands, and its renown rivals that of Scott Schuman's The Sartorialist in certain circles.
In fact, Humans of New York, or HONY to its myriad fans, was apparently deemed iconic enough to attract the attention of the DKNY fashion label, which sought to purchase some 300 of Stanton's photos "to hang in their store windows 'around the world.'"
On his Facebook page, Stanton says he was offered $15,000 in exchange for his work — an offer he turned down.
"A friend in the industry told me that $50 per photo was not nearly enough to receive from a company with hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue," he writes. "So I asked for more money. They said 'no.'"
But that didn't stop DKNY from going ahead and using Stanton's work anyway:
Today, a fan sent me a photo from a DKNY store in Bangkok. The window is full of my photos. These photos were used without my knowledge, and without compensation.
At this point, it's no longer about the money for Stanton. Instead, he demands that DKNY compensate him for this blatant theft by donating $100,000 on his behalf to the Bed-Stuy YMCA.
DKNY has yet to respond.
UPDATE: In response to Stanton's claims, DKNY says the Bangkok store "inadvertently" used "an internal mock up" that was "intended to merely show the direction of the spring visual program." In addition to an apology, DKNY has agreed to make a charitable donation in the amount of $25,000 to the Bed-Stuy YMCA.
Stantson says he's going to "take them at their word that it was a mistake," and be thankful for the happy ending.