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Evelyn Bencicova


︎ Digital photography
︎ Homelessness, dignity
︎ Bratislava, Slovakia
︎ www.evelynbencicova.com

Project description
We say "clothes don't make the man” and truly, it does not. Yet, how much of our judgement is based on outside appearance, on the context or situation where person is places often unwillingly and unjustly? Do we take enough effort to come closer and listen to people who are socially stigmatised? Are we able to look behind how things appear and recognise what they really are?

On the first glance there is no obvious connection of people portrayed. Images merely illustrate the stories they tell. With time you can gradually realise that there is one thing that connects them, in this case invisible by signs. Women and men photographed do or did experience living on the street, now being part of organisations that offer help, support and temporary shelter to group of people that we usually label as “homeless”. Another point in common, far more important is, that all these individuals are actively working on return to functioning society, with the desire to regain acceptance and respect belonging to human beings, that this label partly but tangibly took away from them.

How is your project/work related to the idea of a Universal Basic Income?

They are patient but persistent despite the struggle. The things they daily fight for are what we often take almost for granted. It is not just shelter, food, work and health- care. It is mostly being seen, being seen as decent human. None of the people I photographed deserve the situation they are in. Neither do many others living on the street, without much hope, without any support or basic needs, our empathy and compassion being few of many.

How must it feel to be invisible in ones suffering? Or to be seen as outcast, symbol of vice or dirt of the cityscape? This might sound radically cruel, but this is how many people think. Instead of recognising broken system, that expels a person without any wrong doing, without noticing the gaps in the structure, which should provide basic support to ones in need there is still wide-spread opinion that “homeless” alone are responsible for their fate and the way out of it, if that is even a possibility. The feeling that this is not our problem, or problem worth our attention. All this is simply ignorance.

I believe that Universal Basic Income would make a huge impact on these issues. Situation mentioned could change if we start to participate actively on the solution.

Further projects ︎︎︎