Homelessness in the UK
Photography by Thaddeus Pope
Back in 2003, when I was 19 years old, I decided to make a photographic documentary about rough-sleeping homeless people in Brighton, England. The issue of homelessness was something that I wanted to address because I sympathise with the plight of homeless people and the difficulties that they face in their day-to-day lives. I felt appalled that so many people were sleeping rough on the streets of my hometown – that these people could be pushed aside and ignored by society – so I wanted to create a compassionate, yet honest, photographic essay about homelessness that could help restore public interest in this serious problem.
It seems to me that society has become somewhat desensitised to the plight of homeless people. Lots of people just don’t want to hear about it, so they ignore these marginalised and often desperate individuals and pretend they aren’t there. This apathy towards the homeless might stem from the fact that many rough-sleeping homeless people are addicted to alcohol or drugs. In some respect, I think it is this addiction that kills any compassion society might have for them – people think they are just drunkards or druggies and therefore deem them undeserving of help. Because society sees homelessness as largely self-inflicted, the sight of a homeless person bedding down for the night in a doorway, or asking for change on a street corner, doesn’t provoke the sort of reaction that it should.
Based in Japan, Thaddeus Pope is a photographer, videographer and web/print designer with a passion for human-centred visual storytelling. He is available for assignments in Japan and around the world.
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