Debra Barraud is a Dutch photographer best know for her storytelling platform ‘Humans of Amsterdam.’ She aims to capture the essence of what makes all human beings special and unique. Debra is convinced that every person has a story to tell.

The Start
While working in the Middle East as a dialogue facilitator Debra Barraud discovers the vital importance of dialogue and the power of storytelling. After returning to Amsterdam, Debra, inspired by Humans of New York and Humans of Tel Aviv, decides to create Humans of Amsterdam. The blog Humans of Amsterdam now has over 600.000 followers on social media and provides her international audience a peek into Amsterdam’s streets and people.

Debra often collaborates with organizations that prioritize authentic human storytelling. Over the past years, Debra has worked with multiple national and international organizations to create meaningful stories. In 2017 she completed a series, supported by the Dutch Ministery of Foreign Affairs called: Humans of the Middle-East, for which Debra traveled to Lebanon, Tunisia, and Qatar. The series aimed to build a bridge through storytelling. In 2018 Debra created a series called ”Dream Diaries” in collaboration with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. She traveled through Europe with a team of fellow creators to meet children who fled their home countries, leaving everything behind, except their hopes and dreams of a better future. In the summer of 2020, she created a series about the survivors of the Srebrenica Genocide in collaboration with the War Childhood Museum of Sarajevo. Debra also has a weekly column in the Amsterdam-based European newspaper of the year: Het Parool.

The book
As a celebration of the project, Debra created the ‘Humans of Amsterdam’ book published by National Geographic. The portraits and stories in the book are a collection of intimate and spontaneous photographs of people in Amsterdam, humans in all their diversity. Some of them were born and raised in Amsterdam, others merely visiting, but in total, they pay a warm tribute to an international city with effervescent energy. The book is an exceptional and warm portrait of Amsterdam. From cover to cover, Humans of Amsterdam is beautiful, challenging, and moving. A novel, a work of non-fiction, a photo book, or a collection of human stories.

The Dream Diaries
The Dream Diaries is an online series by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and social media influencers Humans of Amsterdam and Fetching_Tigerss. The series tells the hopes and dreams of refugee and asylum-seeking children and young people from Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan and beyond, who have found safety in Europe (notably in Austria, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland), through photos, images, stories and video. This video forms part of the series, and was made by Kris Pouw, produced by Humans of Amsterdam, with photography and art work by Fetching_Tigerss and Humans of Amsterdam.