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Homeless people walked around New York with disposable cameras - here are the pictures

Some are beautiful, some are heartbreaking.

IN EARLY JUNE, Jason Storbakken distributed disposable cameras to 10 homeless residents of New York City.

Storbakken, the director of chapel and compassionate care at The Bowery Mission and author of “Radical Spirituality: Repentance, Resistance, Revolution,” directed each photographer to capture “things they hoped others might see.”

Here, Storbakken has allowed us to run photos from the project, along with the photographers’ statements.

For more information on the project and the Bowery Mission, visit


The photos from this project have been curated into a show called “Through My Lens,” which will spend the next year in various locations around New York City.

“That dog always runs up on me. But she’s nice. Her name is Pam.” – Robert Perry



First, the show will be displayed at the Bowery Mission Fellowship Hall as a counterpart to the Lower East Side Art Drive, a silent auction of professional artwork held next door at the New Museum on Sunday, December 14.

“This reminds me of my mom — the lady leg and the big splotch over the rest of her. She left me when I was two.” – Robert Perry



The show is dedicated to Robert Perry, the photographer who took the photo below and the two previous, who was hit and killed by a New York City driver earlier this fall.

“I’ve been homeless on and off since I was twelve. I never really had a bed. This bed looks beautiful … like a dream. I usually sleep in The Bowery Mission or on a park bench or I take the A train to Far Rockaway and back three times and that gets me some sleep. I’m 57 now.” – Robert Perry


“This is the grandstand at the Aqueduct. They are keeping the track decent in the off-season. I like to watch the planes land. Kennedy airport is in the background. Watching the planes from the grandstand inspire me to think about traveling – the quest to travel!” – Sean Collins

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“I know Mikey for over twenty years, before he was blind. He used to sell loosies and joints. I was fifteen when we met. He was about forty. He’s been around the Bowery since the ’80s. When I was on the street he would let me stay at his house sometimes and shower and get something to eat.” – Laurie Nixon

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“This is the front of Central Booking. The police were taking a person in. It’s hard to see him, but he’s behind the police car. Every time I see this building and these kinds of situations it is a reminder to stay out of trouble. I’ve never been in jail and I don’t want to go.” – Frank M. Oquendo

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“This bus takes people to Atlantic City. You pay about twelve dollars for a round-trip ticket, but they give you a card with about seventeen dollars on it to gamble, but you can cash it out and make a few bucks. You get to sleep three hours each way and you can also sleep at the casino for a few hours.

“Some guys gamble and when they lose their money they return angry and tired because they stayed up all night. The casino bus is a way to get some sleep, a few bucks, and to get away from the city for a while.” – Frank M. Oquendo

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“That’s where I park my cart for scrap. They let me park it there. This is all my scrap and belongings. My personal belongings are in the shopping cart. I hide it by the library sometimes so that I can move around easier. I can make from twenty dollars a day up to two hundred dollars on a really good day.” – Dennis Brown

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