For the most part these images look like anything else you would see on Instagram.
Two girls pose with peace signs and pouts. A group of guys, who look they’ve had a few too many, throw up gang signs. Another girl snaps a selfie sticking her tongue out, acting like any other 13 year old would.
But what makes these images less innocent than your average #shameless selfie?
The pouting girls are cuddled around an old man in a beanie. The girl snapping a selfie is posed in front of a passed-out man in a fast food chain. And the group of guys are kneeling around a sleeping man in a gutter.
The people pictured are posed with or around homeless people.
And the images they take and post online include hashtags like #homelessguy and #passedthefuckout.
Check it out:
The images have recently been collated into a new Tumblr titled ‘Selfies with Homeless People.’
Jason Feifer, the creator of the cringeworthy ‘Selfies at Serious Places’ and ‘Selfies at Funerals’, released the new blog last Monday with a tweet stating ‘Is there something worse than selfies at funerals. Oh yes.”
Personally, I was in defense of ‘Selfies at Funerals’ when it went viral.
While it was not the most well-thought-out decision to duckface and hashtag it with #grandma and #funeral, the majority of people pictured were teenagers. Teenagers who were probably really struggling with the complexity of emotion that an event like a funeral can trigger. Snapping a selfie could be both a means to find some normalcy in the occasion and also a confused outlet for sharing grief.
However it is incredibly difficult to attempt to explain or justify ‘Selfies with Homeless People.’ It’s dehumanising, it’s degrading and it’s pretty disgusting.
You would really think they would reconsider and reflect as they were adding an X-Pro II filter to their picture.
The creator Jason Feifer describes his series of blogs as a “…gigantic social experiment in odds-making – why do some ideas become so common?” He added that he thought it was ‘fascinating’ that all these people had the “same highly questionable idea.”
Personally, I think it’s fascinating that some of the pictures got over 40 likes.
God knows what the people pictured have been through. Regardless of their exact situation, all of these people deserve compassion. Not humiliation by social media.
I want to know what motivated these people to take those images. Did they feel they were demonstrating their superiority to someone in that situation? Did they do it ‘for the lols’? Or was it simply horrible judgment?
Despite the shameful decision to snap a selfie with someone sleeping rough, some good may come from the images. Feifer has added links at the bottom of his new Tumblr where viewers can donate to City Harvest or Habitat For Humanity; non-profit organisations that help the homeless.