Looking for a Miracle

I’m beginning to think that I am the only one who sees this. If everyone sees it why don’t they speak out? Why can’t the powers that be avert their eyes for a second from monitoring the New York Stock Exchange, stop the corporate back slapping and take a good look around. The levels of homelessness here in Manhattan is astonishing, the gap widens daily between having it all and having nothing. Increasingly, the people that have struggled to stay above the poverty line now swish around helplessly in a whirlpool of empty pockets as they spiral down and out through a gold encrusted plughole with an ‘I ♥ NY logo’ engraved on it. The whole structure of the shelter system is crumbling, unable to cope with the growing demand for accommodation. These decaying and sparsely funded ‘hovels’ are a disgrace to any city, let alone one that claims to have the ‘crossroads of the world’ at its heart. It is no wonder that sleeping on the streets of Manhattan is an option that most would choose rather that the terror and greater humiliation of the 21st equivalent of the ‘workhouse’. No big surprise then that a cardboard mattress and an old coat offers more security and comfort. The charities and organizations that try to offer help and support are being squeezed into submission due to lack of the financial assistance that would made a real difference. Even animals go back and help the stragglers of the herd. We have a lot to learn from them.

These images were taken during one journey of a few square miles.

Looking for a MiracleIMG_1398Here comes the sunLooking for a MiracleLooking for a MiracleLooking for a MiracleLooking for a Miracle© Anton Brookes 2014



31 thoughts on “Looking for a Miracle

  1. I am sure people really don’t care, they are more concerned with themselves and what they can get. Keep shooting, maybe one day people will wake up and care about each other. But we need to keep working the pictures so they will care.

    • You know the expression about leading a horse to water but not being able to make it drink? Well I am pretty sure that is a good analogy. People tend to see what they want to see and dismiss the stuff that may not be the vision of the world they feel part of. Great comment, I thank you for it.

      • Hello Anton when you go out-and about after work. Taking photo of the homeless. Do you think to yourself. How am I help these poor people,who have no choice but to try and live the life. I myself have take images of people,who are homeless. In the Wirral and Liverpool.But then stop as someone said is this fair and how is it helping. Degrading as they have no choice. And said for them. Because do they wanted?to be photograph at the end of the day. I know you asks them but think about it. Their has be people homeless for hundreds of years. How this going to changed things now.

        • Hey Mark, it is not about changing anything. A photographer can only ‘show’ what they see and leave the judgement to the person who sees his/her work. Street photography is all about photographing what is around you, the environment that you exist in, a small glimpse of ‘your’ world. It is an awkward moment when you click the shutter and capture a fraction of a second of another persons life and it comes with a moral and ethical dilemma. What right do you have to ‘claim’ that image? Why are you taking the photograph? What point are you trying to make? There are so many images that HAVE changed the world and our perception of it. Long may that freedom continue.

          • Yes Anton, I get we’re you are coming from,about letting other people make the own mind up. But is it ethical. To go out and capture a person who’s homeless on the streets. I wanted to make people think,that we should not have people livening on the streets. In a world that it should not happen now. I go out and around Liverpool and the Wirral. Capturing people in the streets. And sometimes homeless. And then putting on Flickr. But then I got people saying it unfair on the homeless to take their image, it degrading for them. They said it very easy,to capture a poor person. So I just now look for the interesting characters of the Wirral and Liverpool. Don’t get me wrong Anton. I do wanted people look and think when they see my photography’s. I do have some pictures of people that are homeless,on my flickr site. I just stop capturing them now,as people have said is this ethical in a world we live in. I know it happening all over the world. When you go on holiday.

  2. Anton,
    Your post is extraordinary. The questions you pose are so important and the right answers could be so impactful and benefit our country as a whole. In your images I see people with hearts, souls, and most likely medical/mental health needs that have displaced them. It is important for people to realize that not all homeless people are homeless because of drugs and/or alcohol. Many have medical diagnosis that drive the people out of the safety of the life they’ve previously know. Family and friends don’t understand them, can’t help them, or have given up on them leaving them no place to go, no place to call home. It breaks my heart. I don’t live in the city, but even within the affluent community that I live in, there exists homelessness. Here, however, there are shelters, food pantries, and organizations working to support them if they are willing to come in. It isn’t enough, but people who are aware are trying to help. But, all too many, just like you mention, walk right on by as though these people are nonexistent discarding the human reality that they are people, not frightening beasts who have intentionally chosen this path of poverty, homelessness, and filth – except those in Portland where, because the climate permits, have a large population of homelessness by choice.
    Great post and I thank you for your passion for those less fortunate! If you ever decide to further your efforts, I be proud to walk along side you in an effort to help those in need.

    • Thank you Robyn, your compassion shines through. As a photographer you see what I see, I think we are geared to look and to notice the things around us, it is part of the process. I know this problem is not confined to NYC and I doubt there is a state in the U.S.A that is untouched by it. My aim is to document the wider social problem in America. One day I will. Thanks for your ongoing support.

  3. Speaking of leading a horse to water, there are actually many cities who have fantastic programs for the homeless. NYC is no exception. However, they can never achieve a 0% homeless rate and that is because some people refuse to cooperate with services. Whatever the reason, be it mental illness or something else, I don’t think we necessarily need to feel guilty every time you pass someone homeless. You don’t know that they actually may be refusing to go to treatment. Here’s a thought, compile a list of local services and resources for the homeless and pass it out every time you take a photo of them. See how that goes over.

  4. What is happening in this world is frightening. If a real miracle does not happen I fear we are all doomed. I am so grateful for what we have, for the roof over our heads, and the food in our stomachs. When will the greed of this world just stop and man realize that it is his BROTHER or SISTER on that cold street? This post was a very hard one to both view and read. I won’t look away and I do everything I can to do what is right and good in this world. Thank you for posting this. More people need to really think about the growing problems in this world. xx Amy

  5. I have been inspired by your cause and the wonderful photography. Now I’m in the process of making homelessness an issue and bringing it to the attention of all I can. Thanks…..for the inspiration!

    • Clearly this is not just an American problem but a global one. There will always be some that fall on their journey, that will never change, but it is the growing numbers that are falling behind that is alarming. Thanks for the comment.

  6. It is not just in NY , this was what I saw in LA also. to be honest it was first time for me seeing so many homeless people around and I felt very upset about them. Living in big cities has pros and cons. I am Turkish and in my country of course there are many poor people but you can not see a person sleeping on the street, because somebody helps them, either their relatives or some donations, I think it is a cultural thing, if you see a person sleeping on the street you call police and police comes, helps etc. I know every country has their own policies, I hope US finds a solution for those who need help.

    • Hard to look at, even harder to photograph. I understand that some people would be much more comfortable not seeing this and pretending that there isn’t a problem at all. Thank you for the comment.

  7. I’m afraid it is going to take a miracle. Especially given folks who seem to feel the way Rebecca does in the previous comment. Taking advantage? WTF??? What possible motive could you have for raising awareness of the plight of these invisible and ignored people of the streets? Keep ’em coming! The rich could use a bit of shame.

    • I think it is easier to condemn and look for reasons to distance yourself than come up with a solution. Thanks for your support.

  8. This a world wide problem. Here in Thailand is the same. As you say unless the back slapping finishes, we will see the continued homeless. We call ourselves humans? Not sure anymore. Well done on your blog. I hope these government people HELP. Keep up the fight for those who can not.

  9. I find your photos evocative. It’s hard to say ‘like’ to images of such desolation but they definitely are worth taking speaking as they do to the poverty that lurks in all of our cities, always has, and likely always will.

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