Reflections in The Mirror – Future Hope
One has to take a moment and pause and reflect on their own life, look into a mirror and remember that even our lives have stories that may not be much different than the people I met on Christmas Day. We all come from families, we have had people that are a part of our lives, some may be supportive others maybe not but there is always a connection to others. A moment in a mirror, you might recall the child that used to look back at you, remember the laughter and innocence that you once had and remember that all of my captures were young and innocent once.
This journey was a personal reflection into my own past, and listening to the lives of my subjects made me realize how fortunate I am to have the family, friends and colleagues that I have in my life. Their presence, acknowledgment and compassion kept me on a straight line or I could have easily been one of these stories myself. Anyone with the right circumstances to fall into place could be any of my Christmas stories. It really doesn’t take much to fall.
These people didn’t arrive here easily, no one grows up to aspire a life on the streets. Each of these people had others that let them fade when they needed help the most and before long without guidance, support or a soft place to land. I would now come to meet all of them on Christmas Day when most are sharing a special times their families.
The easiest way to prevent this from being a reality in the future, is to pay attention to those around you. Someone you know may be struggling with drug and alcohol addictions. Others are just teetering on losing everything financially and without the means of money where does one go? Someone may be struggling with the symptoms of mental illness. Each of my subjects had people in their lives at one point that saw them slipping, avoidance, turning the other way and not paying attention landed them here. I realize that we can’t all save everyone even if we wanted to, but some have more power than others and if my photo series opens even just one heart to preventing another soul from landing on the streets then I achieved a goal. If my series now prompts people to talk to those we would normally pass by, then I have achieved another fantastic milestone. I am sure now, those who have been following this series will look a little closer to their pockets of friendships and families and they will see someone who needs support. There are many social programs that anyone can take advantage before things go out of control. Today is a good time to take stock of those you love as tomorrow could be too late.
From the enormous outpouring of support I have been receiving for this project, I know that I have done my part into opening conversation among many of my own friends that wouldn’t have happened a week ago and that is a starting point. I know that this problem will never go away, I know that it won’t change overnight, I realize that more people will follow the paths of Johnny, Tamara, Daniel, J.C., Mike, The Gary’s, Chris, Paul, Zena, Billy, Mark and Ellen but I came across a scene that would be a hopeful thought of someone shedding their life on the street for something better. If my city was littered with this scene and no one around to claim ownership I would be all the happier.
Thank you for all of the amazing support and wonderful encouragement and appreciate you following my Christmas Day on the streets of Toronto. It was an amazing experience and I would do it over and over again, but there is hope that this might not happen one day.
Thank you to everyone who granted me permission to capture your images and for allowing me into your lives for a few moments. You will all stay in my memories and each of you made a Christmas for me to remember always. To my readers, I would love to have you take a moment and make something count, whether it be donations to a support group that you believe in, commit some time to help those in need or just keep the conversation alive so that we can pay attention more in the future.
Happy Holidays, may everyone have a safe and Happy New Year.