Photo Essay: “The Realities of the Street”


By Dave Hood

“I am not angry or sad or happy to see you. I could not give a shit. You don’t even ripple.” ― Gillian Flynn, Dark Places

Part of an ongoing documentation of the city with my camera.

Documentary photography is capturing the realities of the human condition–the realities of life, what it means to be human. So often people suffer, experience war, starvation, misfortune, the ravages of disease, grief, and more.

Far too often, pop culture shows us a sliver of glitter, of extravagance, of wealth, of power, the prestige, the celebrity, the famous–and ignores the other large slice of society. And so, we begin to value “excess” and express contempt for those who suffer, who experience misfortune, who are not what we deem to be “normal.”

It’s been my experience that the majority of people who pass the marginalized ignore them. The question that always rises into consciousness is “Why?”

Thirty years ago, I completed a few Social Work courses at York university in Toronto. I learned that the vast majority of people are only a few paychecks away from hardship, misery, becoming one of the countless who suffer. Many don’t realized this reality, until they experience misfortune that results in hardship.

It’s been my experience that far too many people embrace the mindset of “blaming the victim.” They delude themselves into believing “the guy is homeless because he’s lazy. If he worked harder, like me, he wouldn’t be living on the street,  begging for some pocket change to purchase a comforting meal.”

It’s also been my experience that far too many desire only pretty pictures. They think to themselves, “Just show me the beauty…My life is more important than yours.” But that is not reality. How so many delude themselves……………..Or choose to ignore the realities of the human condition.

If only all those who have excess cash would come to the assistance of the downtrodden, the marginalized, the forgotten, if only they would lend a helping hand, if only they would donate some pocket change, to those who suffer, how beautiful the world would become. Instead the realities of the human condition are suffering and more suffering. It was the  Buddha, a sage and philosopher king,  who said, “There is no fire like passion, there is no shark like hatred, there is no snare like folly, there is no torrent like greed.”

Sadly, far too many value greed or choose to ignore the suffering of humanity.



About Dave Hood

Lover of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction. Professional photographer and writer. Without the arts, life would be rather mundane, like a walk down the same old path on a dull day.
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