The series “fringe society” is a typology series that introduces a group of men that have been living on the edges of our societies.
My aim with these portraits is to invite you to look and reflect! Nothing more nothing less. The following quote is from an ancient poem written by a man called Job. Many of his emotions shared in his writings give a harsh yet honest description of the hopelessness that is at work within the heart of a person in suffering.
My spirit is broken,
my days are cut short,
the grave awaits me.
Surely mockers surround me;
my eyes must dwell on their hostility.
“Give me, O God, the pledge you demand.
Who else will put up security for me?
You have closed their minds to understanding;
therefore you will not let them triumph.
If anyone denounces their friends for reward,
the eyes of their children will fail.
“God has made me a byword to everyone,
a man in whose face people spit.
My eyes have grown dim with grief;
my whole frame is but a shadow.
The upright are appalled at this;
the innocent are aroused against the ungodly.
Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways,
and those with clean hands will grow stronger.
“But come on, all of you, try again!
I will not find a wise man among you.
My days have passed, my plans are shattered.
Yet the desires of my heart
turn night into day;
in the face of the darkness light is near.
If the only home I hope for is the grave,
if I spread out my bed in the realm of darkness,
if I say to corruption, ‘You are my father,’
and to the worm, ‘My mother’ or ‘My sister,’
where then is my hope—
who can see any hope for me?
Will it go down to the gates of death?
Will we descend together into the dust?
The individuals in this picture have in some way crossed my path over the past few years and I have had the opportunity to get to hear many of their stories.
I am burdened and saddened by conversations that negatively point out and criticise people that are living in poverty!
Many times I have asked myself whether I have the right to criticise the life of a person whose story I know nothing about. Even if this person might be a crook, cheat, addict, or has lost all that he owns and now sits on a street corner.
I know how easy it is for me to say the following; ‘My word, can't that person just be more positive, dress slightly better and try to work for his money!”
There is nothing wrong for wanting this life approach or goal for someone else. However, until we have felt how it feels to be a victim of life’s tragedies, bad influences,misfortune, or judgement, we really do not know what it is like to walk in someone else's shoes.
Whenever I hear others’ stories, I am often reminded to be more careful in my unruly thoughts. I believe it is better to first seek understanding before making a judgement. An important thought I need to rehearse in my mind is simply, ‘ seek first to understand!’
Overlooked, despised, rejected, unmotivated, lonely, hungry are all words that can describe many of the people living on the fringes of our societies.
The personal outcome of this project was not to show pictures of poor people that have a striking and pitiful impact on the viewer. The process of creating and meeting up with these individuals was a way to introduce myself more intimately to their stories and share more authentic experiences with them.
No amount of money or job opportunities can surpass the impact having a shared human connection with someone who is willing to listen to you.