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June 28, 2005


Thank you for sharing this. A social psychologist/media scholar friend of mine initiated a similar project a couple of years ago with homeless people in London. He and his collaborators (the major London organisations working with homeless people)learned a lot, I think, and were often shocked (and shocked at themselves for being shocked) by what the photographers chose to show, eg (as some here)some positive and hopeful images and some in tribute to helpers as well as compassion-inducing ones.

Thanks for commenting on this post, Jean. Yes, I liked the images such as the homemade Grand Prix racetrack in the grass. We have such assumptions about poverty and homelessness. My niece, who has worked with and written about the homeless in L.A., has a lot of stereotype-shattering stories too.

Thanks for the link.

I think the creative spark exists in everyone. Extremity may even bring it out a bit, I don't know - that old notion that suffering leads to art. Be that as it may, though, I've always felt that this is one of the biggest crimes perpetrated by the capitalist system: all that creative potential just going to waste, all 'round the world.

I wonder if the definition of homelessness used here isn't a little too broad. It seems they're including all the squatters, too? Shoot, by that definition I was homeless for a couple years myself. So I slept on the street a few times when I couldn't find a couch or abandoned apartment to sleep in - big deal. Hobos and squatters are largely in control of their destiny, I think - they have chosen their lifestyle.

Thanks Beth for this! I think there have been similar photo projects in Vancouver, which has a pretty large homeless population, partly because of our milder climate. A lot of it centers around the drug addicts in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver but it exists everywhere, even in the richer suburbs. Dave mentions the creative spark - the Carnegie Centre downtown offers a place for these people to gather and even do creative work - a good thing for their self-esteem, I think. I agree also with Dave that there are many who have voluntarily chosen that lifestyle, even refusing to go into the shelters. Many of these are mentally ill, having been "discarded" from the hospitals for mentally ill that were closed with funding cutbacks. It amazes me that Canada, rated one to the best places to live in the world, still has so many homeless!!

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.