‘Give a homeless person a camera, and they will look at the city in a new way’
You’re worth nothing,” Colin’s stepfather used to tell him as a child. Even now, sleeping rough on the streets of Manchester, the words haunt him; as a child he started believing it himself, and is still racked with self-doubt. It’s easier not to think what demons might be plaguing a person sleeping rough. Much simpler to keep walking, pass them by: out of sight, out of mind. It’s the natural response, says Alex Greenhalgh, co-founder of social enterprise People of the Streets.
“The norm is being ignored or sidelined,” he says. “Or pitied with an awkward smile. It’s a totally isolating experience.”
The one perspective nobody ever sees, says Greenhalgh, is the one that really matters: that of the person in the doorway, the man or woman inside the sleeping bag, and the world as they see it looking out.