Who are the homeless? We come across them on our street corners, outside grocery stores, under bridges and in the parks. Most of us try to avoid an encounter and walk past a bit faster than we had walked before. If we have a thought, it is one of disgust or sympathy, or perhaps we remain absorbed in our own world. What we do not see in such moments is what brought us to meet that person under that bridge, at that street corner, and how much we may have in common.
Fate can be arbitrary. Safely ensconced in a cultural myth where all is possible if we only work at it, we do not see the limits to our selves or what we can do, limits a homeless person is all too familiar with. Nor do we want to see such limits. And perhaps that homeless person we meet does not want to see what it is they can do within their limits, their opportunities. We are different sides of the same myth—one celebrating the possibilities of it, the other exposing its falsity.
In these vignettes and photographs, Bob Levy and Gretchen Heyer bring homeless people to meet us. Veterans, housewives, ex-cons, and businessmen—they reveal themselves—and, in so doing, us to our selves. We carry homelessness inside us, all those darkened corners of our personalities that we refuse to visit. We share in its violence, pathos, heartache and exhilaration. We are free and bound. We are courageous and cowardly. We all walk hand in hand with fate. We are never completely at home on this planet. Everything is on loan.
PROFITS ($3 PER BOOK) WILL BE DONATED TO THE HOMELESS!
Bob Levy was born in 1939 and grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. He attended Cornell University and the University of California at Berkeley, ending with a doctorate degree in Chemical Engineering. He began his professional career with Exxon in New Jersey and had a long career in the petroleum industry. He married Candace Wolfe in 1970, and they had two children, Brian and Jessica. Bob retired in 2004 and became involved with Air Alliance Houston, a non-profit organization advocating for cleaner air in the Houston region. He also began studying the teachings of Carl Jung and participates extensively at the Jung Center in Houston. Additionally, in retirement, Bob studied photography and began projects with the homeless and with active senior citizens. He lives in Houston with Candace where he enjoys staying fit, sailing, traveling, reading and taking photos.
Staying Engaged Published March 19, 2013