People always see homeless people as poor, desperate, and beyond help. Most existing homeless campaigns simply keep re-affirming such sad stereotypical images, and ask people to donate out of sympathy.
Instead of following down the spiral of pity, Getty Images partnered up with fiftyfifty (a street magazine sold by homeless people), in an attempt to shift the negative public perceptions of the homeless, and collect donations in a meaningful way to help house homeless people. Meanwhile, this project also reinforces Getty Images as a brand that strives to move the world with powerful imagery.
Stock photos are abundant with typical scenarios of common people. We took advantage of this feature of this medium, to help people “repicture” the homeless as the same human beings as anyone of us. With the smart use of stock images, we turned an established online service into a new communication media, and a constant fundraising tool over the long term.
On the other hand, this twist also helps to reshape people’s impression of stock photos from “creating stereotypes” to also “breaking stereotypes”, thus reinforcing the brand value of Getty Images, and enhancing its brand image.
129 photos were selected and uploaded to the Getty Image database, available for people worldwide to purchase on both gettyimages.com and istockphoto.com. People can also explore the photos and the project on the dedicated microsite: repicturinghomeless.com.
(Selected photos from the collection. Click on the images to enlarge)
To further promote the photos and the project, we created a series of online films, each focused on the story of one of our homeless models.
The exhibition has been on a tour around Germany. In each town it visited, it became a popular educational venue for local schools, and brought along more exposures for the project. People can interact with each photo on display and be taken to purchase it online.
Düsseldorf, Johannes Church, hosted by Diakonie, Apr. - May 2018;
Ahlen, St.Marien Church, hosted by Caritas, Sept. 2018;
Nuremberg, Conference hosted by TH, Sept. 2018
Cologne, Annual Conference of DGPPN, Nov. 2018;
Wuppertal, Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband, Dec. 2018 - Feb. 2019;
Baden, Film Festival in Baden-Baden, May - Jun. 2019
Duisburg, Church Petershof, Oct. - Nov. 2019
The project started out as an initiative in Germany, but more and more photographers and homeless NGOs all over the world are joining us. Growing numbers of photos are being added to the collection from US, Hong Kong, Brazil, etc., turning the campaign into a global movement.
Behind the scenes: One of the new shootings
up until now:
Even the President of Germany applauded the project in his Christmas Letter of 2018.