Humans of New York Photographer's Touching Dispatches From Iraq

Today in microfashion…. Shaqlawa, Iraq.

Followers of the photography blog Humans of New York noticed that the site's creator has taken more than a subway to get to his latest shooting location.

Brandon Stanton, the photographer who pairs portraits with captions that range from silly to heartbreaking, has traveled to the Middle East as part of a new venture with the United Nations.

Adding to the drama captured in his first dispatch of international photos on was the dateline -- Erbil, Iraq -- just as Yazidi refugees were fleeing ISIS militants and heading towards refugee camps, which he called an "absolute coincidence."

"My plane landed as the Mosul dam was being taken and the Yazidi villages were being occupied, so the stories were collected during an unfolding humanitarian crisis," he told ABC News.

PHOTO: We told her to sit with us so we could share her sadness. Dohuk, Iraq.
Brandon Stanton/Humans of New York
PHOTO: "We told her to sit with us so we could share her sadness." Dohuk, Iraq.

Swimming is the greatest thing in life. If we have time, we swim ten times per day. Kalak, Iraq.
Brandon Stanton/Humans of New York
"Swimming is the greatest thing in life. If we have time, we swim ten times per day." Kalak, Iraq.

Gabo Arora, the senior adviser for the U.N. who is coordinating Stanton's trip, said that Erbil was actually chosen as one of the stops in his tour because it was generally considered one of the safest cities for Americans before the ISIS attacks.

"The only urgent emails I have gotten are, 'Please get him out of Iraq as soon as you can,'" Arora said of the involvement from higher-ups at the United Nations.

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Despite the chaos in the region, Stanton has still be able to mix the more meaningful and seemingly mundane aspects of daily life in his characteristically moving way. From an elderly man who became too emotional to continue his interview when the topic of his parents' abduction to a foray into "microfashion," the photos show that there is as much drama and lighthearted moments on his tour as he normally finds in New York's Central Park or Union Square.

"What's struck me the most is how much a humanitarian tragedy is magnified when you break it into individual stories," Stanton said. "Everyone who is suffering from the turmoil in Iraq, or from war in general, has been deeply hurt in a very individual way. Hearing these stories, one at a time, in unforgiving detail, has been quite sobering."

I would give my soul if I could fix her brain. Dohuk, Iraq.
Brandon Stanton/Humans of New York
"I would give my soul if I could fix her brain." Dohuk, Iraq.

PHOTO: She always dreams about the bombs. (Erbil, Iraq)
Brandon Stanton/Humans of New York
PHOTO: "She always dreams about the bombs." (Erbil, Iraq)

One of his most positive, thought-provoking images shows two teenage boys swimming in a body of water in Kalak, Iraq.

"Knowing him I bet you he jumped in the water," Arora said of the image. "He's so good at what he does and has this subtle poetry of what he does."

After spending three or four days in Iraq, the 30-year-old photographer has since moved on to Jordan which will be the last country that he visits in the Middle East.

Stanton will be visiting 10 countries across the globe in order to highlight the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals -- different issues that all member nations agreed to help improve over the first 15 years of the new millennium ranging from reducing child mortality to eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.

What do you guys want to do when you grow up? Doctor. Doctor. Whats your greatest struggle right now? Math. Math. Erbil, Iraq.
Brandon Stanton/Humans of New York
"What do you guys want to do when you grow up?" "Doctor." "Doctor." "What's your greatest struggle right now?" "Math." "Math." Erbil, Iraq.

PHOTO: My parents were captured when I was sixteen. They both died in prison.” What do you remember about the day they were taken?” “I’m sorry. I don’t think I can do this. Can we stop? Shaqlawa, Iraq.
Brandon Stanton/Humans of New York
PHOTO: "My parents were captured when I was sixteen. They both died in prison.” "What do you remember about the day they were taken?” “I’m sorry. I don’t think I can do this. Can we stop?' Shaqlawa, Iraq.

Arora said that Stanton's schedule is subject to change, but he is currently slated to go from Jordan to the Democratic Republic of Congo, to Kenya, then Uganda. From there, he will go make his only European stop in Ukraine before moving to India, then Vietnam, then to Ecuador and the Amazon in an attempt to connect with indigenous groups and "give voice to people who aren't used to having a voice." He may stop in El Salvador if there is time but the final stop will be Haiti.

"I said 'Look, this guy's got mojo. We can't mess with it. Drop him off somewhere, pick him up after three hours and hope he's there. Ensure his safety but let him be,'" Arora told ABC News.

Stanton is technically contracted with the United Nations during the 50-day trip and has the rights and privileges that comes with their light blue passport, but he says he has been respectfully left to his own devices.

"I've worked with a variety of translators. Sometimes the U.N. provides one, sometimes I have to find one on the fly," he told ABC News. "Perhaps my best translator was a clerk at my hotel in Iraq. He came out with me one evening for an extra shift, and he did so well that he ended up traveling with me."

Im a student. My parents didnt want me sitting around the house all summer, so they made me be a shepherd. Kalak, Iraq.
Brandon Stanton/Humans of New York
"I'm a student. My parents didn't want me sitting around the house all summer, so they made me be a shepherd." Kalak, Iraq.

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