Time seems to stop as Todd Hesler, a New York Times photographer, snaps countless pictures of ordinary faces that dwell in New York City. The common becomes the extraordinary with the ease of story telling presented in One in 8 Million, a weekly web series about a diverse group of characters that survive and sometimes thrive in the city that never sleeps.

On the subway, streets and hoods of the five boroughs you’ll find people with unique stories to tell. This New York Times series lets viewers look inside the lives of a few innocents who describe their careers, passions, day-to-day routines and many unknown contributions to the city. The stage is set with all walks of life – from mozzarella makers to an urban taxidermist – as each story unfolds with a quick succession of black and white photographs accented with narration from the subject.

Not that it’s too daunting a task in NYC, but the Times found a truly eclectic mix of residents. One in 8 Million does exactly what you’d expect, showcase inhabitants of the Big Apple and highlight what makes a particular individual different from the 7,999,999 others around.

For instance, Ra Ruiz, a 22-year old lesbian explains while her family was homeless she took refuge with a group of gay youth. Even though she was forced to grow up in the streets, her determination prevailed and she continued her education. Her courage is prevalent as she describes her fears of living without a roof and dodging homophobic gangs.

We also meet Michael Kramer-Metraux: The Wedding Wardrober. The 68 year-old director of men’s formal wear at Saks Fifth Avenue and son of a French silk purveyor demonstrates his pride and fashion sense as he takes viewers to the back rooms of his workplace, where needle meets thread.

And, then you have the urban taxidermist, who suffers from MS while offering the city herservices, turning blood and guts into art. The self-described “queen of hare-brained ideas” has shown her animal pieces at the SoHo design house.

The series introduces survivors. (If they can make it there, they can make it anywhere, right?) And whether they have endured the roller coaster of life or medical trauma, the subjects evoke empathy and hope during downtrodden times.

Check out One in 8 Million at NYTimes.com.

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