Homeless Connect

December 9, 2015

We absolutely love our jobs. We love our jobs because we love what we do; something I think everyone should be able to do, though a lot of people aren't as lucky. We are forever humble being able to express ourselves visually and creatively, and make a living from people with the same respect to art as us; though it is never about the money. We are truly blessed to be constantly surrounded by love, regardless of where we are or what we shoot, and give that love back visually for our clients.

Every spring and fall we volunteer our time to give back to some people who need it the most at an event called Homeless Connect. Though we have no work to show you of our work at this event, I wanted to share with you a few things that some of us take for granted. Kelty had worked at an organization called Homeward Trust, and for those who do not know what it is, it's an organization that helps the homeless and generally anyone in need or suffering from low income. She was an event co-ordinator and help put this event on and invited me to partake in taking portraits for people who don't have the opportunity to get their photo...well...ever. So I brought my studio lights and softboxes, a backdrop, and my camera. Homeward Trust had purchased 2 printers to give people their photos on the spot, and myself and a friend of mine took some photos while Kelty made sure the event went smoothly.


There are some pretty amazing people walking these desolate streets that most of us probably wouldn't think twice about. It's sad, really, that a human could be cast aside both in thought and reality and nobody really bats an eye. Sickening, actually. There was one man there who was the most kind and genuine beings I have ever had the grace of meeting and photographing. He had this little dog with him that followed him around everywhere, both with smiles that couldn't be shaken. Though he wasn't exactly "normal", I think that's what made him so beautiful. So pure and honest. I took a few photos and showed them to him and he instantly hugged me, almost squishing the little pomeranian between us. He had a tear in his eye and his smile turned into something I can't really describe. He bowed and sat quietly waiting for his photo to be printed. Anxiously as his photo arrived at the table his eyes lit up. It was like he'd been waiting his whole life for this photo. He shook my hand, hugged his puppy and continued on his way with almost a skip in his walk. It was one of the most remarkable things I've ever experienced. 


But not everyone is as strong as the character above. Shortly after one of the most brief, incredible encounters of my life, came one of the saddest, most heart-breaking sights I'd ever seen. A young father and his young son stood in line patiently waiting to get a their photo taken. When it came time for them to come up, the little boy looked so empty....so...destroyed. He was about 5 years old and wore the tear on his cheek like a rebel armband. He didn't care who looked at him or saw him, or talked about him or what he was doing. He was broken and he didn't care. You could see he's already seen more messed up things in his 5 years than most of us ever will. I tried everything to get him to smile. High fives, talking with him, joking with him, and nothing. Not a peep. Just a quivering frown of having the world let him down. There wasn't anything there but apathy, angst, and despairity; something that no young child should experience until they are older.  After a few minutes of both his father and I trying to rouse his smile, his dad pulled him out of the booth and they both started to cry. I felt so helpless and useless. I had one job and I couldn't do it. I couldn't show the boy that life won't always be like this and that things would get better. I couldn't show him how big he really was or how strong he needed to be. I couldn't instill that faith that I work so hard to do with everyone, and it broke me. 


I handed my camera off to my partner at the time and had to leave the event for some fresh air. The walk outside felt like a football field as I pushed the crowds trying to maintain my composeur. I finally break free of the building and it all hits me at once. I took a seat on the pavement and I man-cried. I tried so hard not to let anyone see me and I started to feel how the little boy did. It's one terrible thing to see grown people be homeless and have to fight everyday, but when it's a child, it's beyond sickening. Not that either of them had the choice, but the fact that either of them don't have the help to get back on their feet and out of the streets. 


If you do read this, all that I ask is that you help these people. No, it doesn't have to be money, and no, you don't even have to get off your couch. But next time you are somewhere and see someone struggling, help them. Regardless of what it is. Maybe it's a coffee, or a sandwich, or hell, maybe even just sit down and talk to them. They're all real people, they all came from families and most of them miss their families very much. But they also miss being treated like a normal human being. They are no different from us, just different situations. Even the smallest favours have the biggest impacts, and it's the small things that make the big picture. 


If you want the world to change, then change it. No one can do it alone and no one can do it all. But if you start now, you'd be amazed at how many people you affect. If everyone can affect 15 people in a positive manner, and then they, in turn, could do the same, by the time we are our parents age, the whole world will have been affected in a positive aspect. That's one small thing fifteen times, continually throughout everyone. That's most likely less than 15 hours of your time in your lifetime. Doesn't seem so far fetched now, does it? 

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