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Homeless - Dropouts
Dignity in social offside
By Kai-Uwe Nielsen
Homeless - Dropouts
Dignity in social offside

As a matter of fact already in the antique existed those homeless and dropouts, which crowd up to now the public parks and spaces in the modern cities. Shy and lonely as beaten dogs but with a melancholic expression they bear a fascination. Like these famous portraits of greek philosophers from the antique they are under artifical aspects very interesting to be portraited. Wrinkles and scars from age and livestyle form impressive facial landscapes which echo of abysses of human existence. The personal situation of each individual seems to be hard in every manner of human aspects. But in their selfdestroying attitude of negating the civil society they are often seen wrongly as wastrels. In history of art we find many different ways ot treating them artistically.
The greek sculptors of the hellenism discovered the extreme relief of their aged faces and bodies.Their lifestyle is charcterised through the classical topoi of abuse of alcohol and their homeless situation. But like the whole mankind, the variations and motivations of this way of life are manifold. For the western civil societies these dropouts are a vexation and they have been often locked away in homeless shelters. But this asylum contradicts often their self-understanding. In consequence, the street or the shelter under a bridge is still their appropriate place. They avoid persuing regular work and live from day to day. This freedom shows similarites to the also fascinating gypsies which still travel through the „old world“. In the EC the countries treat them in a different way: In France there is the topos of the „happy clochard“ who is cadging and begging are his livelihood still alive. But their refuge in the city of Paris is more and more vanishing.
To photograph these individuals means to get in close personal contact. One feels as a sensitve man the fear and uneasiness of these only tolerated but not accepted personalities facing a camera. Respect is one mean but the more important aspect is the strong motive to take these portraits of them. Then there is seldom any mistrust. As quid pro quo one gets impressive pictures of extraordinary charakters.
Many thanks to all these philosophers!

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