07/30/2014 07:38 EDT | Updated 09/29/2014 05:59 EDT

Humans of Vancouver street portrait blog aims to inspire social connections

Two Vancouver teenagers are hoping their “Humans of Vancouver,” photoblog inspires locals to connect with each other.

Best friends AnishaCheema and Julianna Perkins, both 16, have been taking photos of random people and posting their stories on a Facebook page since June.

“It’s been awesome to see how many people are so on board with this,” said Cheema.

“It’s really interesting because we’re using social media to connect people and there’s usually a stereotype around social media, that it disconnects us, dehumanizes us, we’re cut off from others, but I think what we’re really trying to do is just use social media to connect people.”

Humans of New York inspiration

The Vancouver blog is styled after the popular “Humans of New York” project, launched in 2010, when New York photographer Brandon Stanton hit the streets, capturing photos and stories from strangers.

Since then, Stanton’s Humans of New York blog has amassed more than eight million followers, even turning him into a New York Times bestselling author.

“I started collecting quotes and short stories from the people I met, and began including these snippets alongside the photographs,” Stanton states on his blog.

“Taken together, these portraits and captions became the subject of a vibrant blog.”

Humans of New York​ spinoffs have popped up around the world and the creators behind the Humans of Vancouver project said it inspired their idea.

“We had always really admired Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York,” said Perkins.

“We found it was a really interesting idea.”

'They just have a story that is theirs'

Cheema said many of the people she has met while working on Humans of Vancouver have left an impression on her.

“A homeless man downtown opened up about how his father died when he was 16, and the reason he’s actually on the streets is because he’d never been taught properly how to manage his money,” said Cheema.

“That was just something that really shocked me, because I was wondering how many people has he really opened up to about that? “

Cheema and Perkins hope their blog can grow to an audience as large as Stanton’s one day. 

"I think people really enjoy these websites because it’s not often you hear, you get to experience the personal aspect to the people you see everyday,” said Perkins.

“We all see people walking down the street and how often do you really acknowledge the fact that yes, they are another human being, with their own life, and they have their own problems and they have their own friends and family and they just have a story that is theirs.”

Perkins said they will continue to work on the project even when they return to school in the fall.

"Everybody is worth a story, everybody has a story that is worth sharing.”