Have you ever asked yourself the question what you would do if you were homeless? There is a general opinion that homeless people are causing their misery themselves. Where in some cases this is certainly true, if you put yourself in the shoes of a person living on the street, you will soon realise how hard it can be to get out of this spiral state. Applying for a job might turn out to be less easy with neither an address nor appropriate clothes.
Passing by beggars, I often wondered if I would be more creative than just sitting on the street and literally begging for a living. Would I try to do something illegal or something really creative. I guess from my perspective it is easy to think in such a way, but really being a homeless guy is totally different.
Anyway, during my last visit to London, I decided to do this photographic project that has been floating around in my head for quite some time. The goal of the project basically was to go up to total strangers and ask them to pull a funny or silly face for my camera. Simply something that will make people laugh when they look at the picture. My goal was to get 30 people which turned out to be a lot, considering that about 50% of the asked persons didn’t want to participate. It was especially challenging to get some “advanced-aged” models for this project.
Getting to about 25 participants, my friends wanted to go to China town. Unfortunately I only knew which tube station we had to get off to get there. Luckily though, there was a guy in a yellow jacket who was offering free information for tourists. We asked him where we had to go, so the friendly guide explained it to us and drew the way on a map which he later gave us. During the conversation, our suspicion that he wasn’t an official tourist guide turned out to be right. He explained us that he was actually a homeless person. He added that this was his way of making some money but that we were totally free to give him something.
Because he was really polite and participated in my project, I decided to make an exception and give him some money, mainly because I thought it was not only extremely helpful but also naturally friendly and not at all deceitful. I just thought this was really different and more creative to other homeless people. Now, it might be that he chose to live that way, but maybe it was his strategy to get his life back together. Whatever his story is, he seemed really content and happy to help out some tourists in the great cosmopolitan city of London. My friends and I really enjoyed talking to a real Cockney (Londoner) and thought he gave one of the most hilarious “funny faces”.
I would love to hear your experiences with a homeless person. Have you ever given them money or bought them food? What would you do if you were left on the street?
PS. Go here to see more of the funny faces