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We are all the Same

It can be humbling to realize how much we have in common with those we attempt to help. - Laura van Dernoot Lipsk

Budapest, Hungary
As long as I have been making photographs, I have been interested in the theme of homelessness.  For years I tried to figure out why, but it was when I stopped trying to make sense of the interest, that the draw became clear.

Walking by panhandlers it's easy to assume an attitude of “us versus them”.  Surely we are better because we are not living on the street, asking for change.  Surely that would never happen to “me”, we imagine.

Krakow, Poland
It can be difficult to acknowledge that we are all indeed, the same - no one better than another, everyone seeking emotional connections.  What separates us is circumstance; circumstance brought on by a combination of elements we will, and events that happen to us.  It's scary to admit that any one of us could be homeless given the “right” confluence of factors.  Consider the impact of a divorce, a disease or a death.  It’s acknowledging that fine line of good fortune that keeps me in check with those who have crossed over.

Toronto, Canada
Of course there will be those who argue that some people actively choose this way of life, and I would not dispute that when/if addictions and/or mental illness is involved, situations are more complicated.

Nevertheless, I am certain of one thing – growing up, a child does not aim to be destitute, homeless, or alone.  So, whether you choose to share a meal or a smile, volunteer your time or give change to those on the street is up to you.  In the mean time, I will continue to document this struggle in photographs; a tangible reminder of something we can't afford to forget -- we are all the same.


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