Sunday, July 19, 2009

City Bench, July 2009

Click to enlarge
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I thought about titling this post "Why?" Why is it that with all the resources of the Western world scenes like this are still far too common?
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I shot this image yesterday, during the Tel Aviv segment of Scott Kelby's second annual Worldwide Photowalk. It was taken in the heart of Tel Aviv's financial district, bank headquarters and high-priced restaurants all around, and just steps away from a group of people protesting the government's abominable treatment of Israel's foreign workers. The contrasts were overwhelming (and quite colorful, come back later tomorrow to see the protest in living technicolor). How is it that with all this wealth all around there is still so much need. Wouldn't a society, OUR society, be better judged by how it treats its weakest elements, rather than solely by the achievements of the wealthy?
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See more images (both mine and others') from yesterday's photowalk here (mine are posted under the username itaismom).
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See more monochrome images here.
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26 comments:

James said...

This is a sad picture.

I'm not sure how it works in Israel, but in America most of the people that I've encountered in this guy's situation got there by making poor choices.

ellievellie said...

In NYC they actually hire people to go around and invite homeless into shelters - they have lots of empty spaces in the shelters - some of the homeless choose to stay out - some are hiding from the law - some are not well informed. From what I've seen - there should not be reason for somebody to be on the streets in the USA - you go to a shelter or to a church - they will not turn you down. When I came to America an old couple let me and my husband live in their trailer for free for 4 months until we get work. They didn't know us - just helped us. It is amazing!

Yaelian said...

If only,,,,the sad thing is that even in my home country Finland, where there are social benefits that are very good, you can see sights like this, but usually it is a result of excessive alcohol use or likewise.

Vita Stunder said...

I'm not one of those who gonna scream: "Oh my god this is saaaaad!" This is reality.

And a great B&W!
Anna

Aileni said...

A comment upon our times where the Fat Cats yowl and the politicians only hear the purrs.

Anne said...

A very very strong picture, and with your words, the meaning in your picture was just great.

Nice week from Anne in Norway.

Dina ... UK said...

A very strong and powerful image Robin.....
This happens all over, I believe some would very much appreciate help, others don't want help......
It is there way of complete freedom...:-/

Starnitesky said...

I agree with Dina this is a strong powerful image especially when you consider it was taken close to an affluent part of the city.

anymommy said...

Great questions, I have no answers. The picture says it all.

Dianne said...

many of the homeless are mentally ill, many are war veterans with mental and/or drug problems

the shelters are not safe and many prefer to take their chances on the streets

that's how it was in NYC when I was an advovate for homeless children in the early 90s

the current economy has a lot to do with it as well

I believe it's getting worse again/still

powerful photo Robin

Mama Pajama said...

Not that I'm proud of the time in my life that I spent homeless, but I would like to point out that I was pregnant, and even being informed and aware doesn't always help. Sometimes there is no room in the shelter, or you can't get there by the designated time - and they most definitely DO say 'sorry, we can't help' and close the door on a pregnant woman in the snow and go to sleep in their cozy, warm beds. The shelters are NOT safe, and they also turn you out in the morning, whether or not you have anyplace to go - and this was in the Northeastern USA, during the winter. As some of the previous posts already pointed out, many homeless are mentally ill, addicts, have made poor choices, or have chosen a lifestyle most others wouldn't understand. Some of them desperately want help, but don't know how to access it. I was lucky, because I'm determined and intelligent - but I saw so many who were not so lucky. My son was born strong and healthy, I have a great job, and a lovely apartment, now. This world most definitely has enough for everyone to have everything they need, but many things need to change in order for that to manifest. We need to evolve as a species...

Who knows, maybe this dude was just taking a nap! Thanks for the inspiration behind a very lively discussion, Robin! I invite anyone who has any interest in seeing a great example of how photography can become a voice for those less fortunate to look at the work of Jacob Riis. The photos he took actually inspired the American president (Roosevelt?) to institute policies to protect people from the squalor in which they had been living. Powerful work!

Vicki ~ FL said...

Great shot Robin. My friend Martha-Menagerie and I also did the Worldwide PhotoWalk yesterday in Sarasota, Florida. Check out her monochrome shot of lightning at martha-menagerie.blogspot.com/ it's really cool!

Martha said...

Vicki mentioned to me that you had done the photo walk too - how cool that we did this together when we are so far apart! I was in Tel Aviv years ago, I'm sure much has changed since then but what an unbelievable place! Your photo is wonderful! I saw the ones you posted in the previous entry too and will try to play along on your meme tomorrow :-)

day by day said...

Well said, Robin! Makes you wonder...also makes you sad. : (

IRENE said...

This is so sad indeed!

bermudabluez said...

Yes. It is very sad...reality though...all around the world. Some places worse than others. It is a very powerful photograph Robin. Thanks for sharing!

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Poor man !! I really feel bad sometimes about life..We are so lucky to have home,laptops and food but some people dnt have this much..Unseen Rajasthan

Mojo said...

It's a scene repeated in every city in the world. It has been this way since the beginning, and probably will always be this way. Unless there's a fundamental change in the attitude of people towards their fellow man -- at every level, from the individual to the government, -- this is reality.

Last summer, I was at an all day music festival held in one of the parks in downtown Raleigh (NC). Right in the middle of the throng were three guys not so different from this fellow sitting on what amounted to their living room sofa. Or bed. A bench pretty much like this one. While their more fortunate neighbors threw a huge -- loud -- party on their front lawn.

Daryl said...

Its a sad but excellent photo and it doesnt matter WHY or HOW he got there, IMO, what matters is how to get him a place to live and help to get back on his feet if he is homeless

~Just me again~ said...

It is sad, but true. Why? I don't think we'll ever know. Nice capture.

Dan said...

This is a strong picture of reality!

storyteller at Sacred Ruminations said...

Powerful image ... familiar sight here at the beach, yet heartbreaking.
Hugs and blessings,

Snapshutter said...

Couldn't agree more with your thoughts. A society should be judged by how it treats it's weak and poor. Yes there's always deadbeats, but many are not. Homeless veterans come to mind.

amanda said...

Robin, scenes are very prevalent here ub the U.S. in Calif especially. This is a great piece of photojournalism not just aesthetically but journalistically as well. I know when taking shots like this there is conflict between emotions and creativity. This is a great piece Robin.

Liz said...

Great shot and words.

michael bird said...

Well, we all do get tired every now and then and sometimes in very public places. I feel a nap coming on...