Homeless in America

My Homeless/Fashion piece aired today on the Al Jazeera America network. The feature is part of an ongoing series about the more than 600,000 Americans who are living in shelters or on the streets of towns and cities across the United States. A staggering number that heaps shame on a society that not only let it happen but seem completely at a loss as to how to rectify the damage. There will always be a percentage of people who either pointblank refuse to be part of the system or are simply incapable of inclusion due to psychological problems, drug and alcohol dependency or other reasons beyond most of our comprehensions, but that is a lame excuse for doing nothing about it. Some have no brake to the downward spiral and end up stuck in an existence where fairness and justice play no part. Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is a huge contrast to life below the line and one I find just as compelling in its own ridiculous way.

Click on the image below to see a short video of what I see through my lens on the streets of New York and at MBFW.

27 thoughts on “Homeless in America

  1. Anton, absolutely fantastic work! I am torn between excitement and the lump in my throat – the excitement that maybe the homeless get to feature in the reality of their lives which are lived with such raw honesty for all of us to see if only we bother to look. So much more I want to say but well done, keep up the wonderful work wherever you shoot and so lovely to hear your voice.

    • Very kind of you Patti, thank you. As for the voice…… I just realized that I sound like a ‘Beatle’. That will be my Liverpool upbringing coming out, I never really noticed until I heard it back. You know yourself that the city can be ugly and beautiful at the same time here, but never boring that’s for sure. All we can do is capture a fraction of it. I am a big fan of your work and I look forward to bumping into you out there on the streets at some point. Thanks for the comment.

  2. For once a moment’s hopefulness that the issue of homelessness is being give exposure, if not on CNN, at least on an alternative national broadcaster. Great segment (loved seeing the old woman at the blue wall again, it’s such a powerful shot) and good to see you out there on the streets. Congratulations – keep up the fight 🙂

    • Very pleased you liked it George, I doubt it will change anything but it helps, I hope. I see this woman all the time around the streets of NYC and I have to stop myself from picking her up and taking her home so she feels safe and cared for. No one should end their life on some cold street with no hope or love. I fear that is her fate.

  3. I would have loved to see this, but I gave up my TV ages ago. Couldn’t seem to find my way to it online. But love seeing you get some much deserved recognition.

  4. You really are straddling a sort of bipolar conundrum – the pressured, see-me-now, drive for recognition of the fashion world and the resigned, tired, retreat of street homelessness. And as you note, the two can exist side by side, one invisible to the other.
    It’s got to be crazy making sometimes, pursuing them both. Are you familiar with Street Retreats?
    “We go on the streets with no money and just the clothes on our back. We eat in soup kitchens and beg for money or food at times when soup kitchens are not open. We sleep outdoors or in abandoned housing, though not in shelters since there are not enough beds. We don’t say we’re homeless; we’re simply living on the streets for several days, relying on the generosity of the streets to take care of us…we come together several times a day to share our experiences in a council practice and chant the Gate of Sweet Nectar liturgy, which is about feeding the hungry ghosts. We also spend our nights together. This is a powerful practice of not-knowing and bearing witness, where the unpredictable life on the streets is the main teacher. It is a time of raw intimacy, a plunge into a side of life we look at only rarely. Street Retreats are described in detail in Bernie Glassman’s book, Bearing Witness: A Zen Master’s Lessons on Living a Life That Matters.” From http://zenpeacemakers.org/events/street-retreats/
    I practiced with Bernie Glassman many years ago (before the Street Retreats).

    If you’re not familiar with this idea, I think you will find it very relevant to your work. And thanks for the follow – I appreciate it! I’ll go look around now…

  5. Pingback: Homeless in America | xPiPP - People in Public Places - STREETLIFE

  6. Thanks for liking my photos Anton! I do agree to “It has to be shown!” so I also show the real streetlife … (but it is almost not accepted here in Sweden) …
    Your work is great!

    • Thanks Birgitta, Shame about the Swedish attitude to showing the reality of life on the street. Thankfully, there are people like you who want to bring it to the attention of the public. All power to you. Thanks for the comment.

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