Hart & Soul

03 Dec 2012 328 views
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'Tis the season...to think of others!

(Antwerp, Belgium)




'Tis the season...to think of others!

(Antwerp, Belgium)


comments (48)

  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 3 Dec 2012, 00:53
French Tourist down on his luck in Antwerp?

Very good street shot, Ginnie.
Ginnie Hart: Half of Belgium speaks French, Ray, so I'm guessing he's not a tourist...but hoping to prey on those who are! Thanks.
  • Yvonne
  • United States
  • 3 Dec 2012, 01:02
Very true about the text - great picture to support the words
Ginnie Hart: Thank you kindly, Yvonne, for stopping by and commenting here!
I like this picture and your wish Ginnie... perhaps just one coin will make a difference!....petersmile
Ginnie Hart: Thank you, Peter. I have mixed feelings about the beggars seen in almost all big cities (but forbidden by law here in the Netherlands!). For some it is a way of life instead of trying to find a job. But I try not to judge. "There but for the grace of God go I."
  • Sally
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 3 Dec 2012, 07:01
Interesting that he/she has a teddy to support smile
Ginnie Hart: Cheaper than feeding a live dog, Sally? Makes sense to me!
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 3 Dec 2012, 07:07
Oh yes, you are right - daily I receive begging letters from all over the word - but I can help only a few poor people- I would give une piece to this teddy and its owner - it is so moving -and a very moving photo (subject, angle, composition, toning ...).
Ginnie Hart: Bedankt, dear Philine. I just told Peter that I have mixed feelings about the beggars seen in almost all big cities (but forbidden by law here in the Netherlands!). For some it is a way of life instead of trying to find a job. But I try not to judge. "There but for the grace of God go I."
  • Chris
  • England
  • 3 Dec 2012, 07:07
A universal town sight where tourists & monied folk pass Ginnie. I often wonder at their history...
Ginnie Hart: Begging is a way of life for some, Chris, I know. I have mixed emotions about it because it's hard to tell the "real" ones from the "fakes." Still, I often say to myself, "There but for the grace of God go I."
  • Astrid
  • Netherlands
  • 3 Dec 2012, 07:15
A great shot and a great choice of the B&W. The glistening of the street adds to the picture.
In Holland it is against the law to beg, it is considered an inconvenience. It was a State law until 2000, city law took over.
Street musicians are not considered begging, so that is allowed (only one hour on the same spot, some musicians only have one song wink)
Ginnie Hart: So I just got my education about the Netherlands, MLMA! But now I realize why I don't see beggars here! And I didn't know that about the musicians having to change spots after an hour. WOW. Some things really make sense, don't they!
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 3 Dec 2012, 07:15
sorry: from all over the world
Ginnie Hart: As I often say to Astrid, "I know your English!" smile
  • Lisl
  • England
  • 3 Dec 2012, 07:25
A common sight in our City, and has been for all its many centuries, I am sure. We are fortunate that we have a Night Shelter, but it is usually full
Ginnie Hart: I just found out from Astrid that begging is forbidden by law here in the Netherlands, Lisl. I didn't know that! So I learn something new every day. (sigh) Apparently there are services here where they work with you to get you back on your feet....
The teddy is an interesting accessory, and I wonder if the sign has any relation to it.
Ginnie Hart: The sign is asking for a coin for food...so you may be right, Michael. Everyone needs to eat, even stuffed teddy bears! smile
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 3 Dec 2012, 08:23
We don't know this law like in Netherlands - but there are some orders in the city, of course - I know a few beggars - mostly they have experienced some 'cracks' in their life by alcoholism, loss of wife and work ..., but there are also some institutions to help them, to give them a warm soup, clothes, medicine ... Some reverends are caring for them since a lot years. On Christmas Day there is an open feast/Offene Weihnacht for them with music, presents and a good meal...
Ginnie Hart: I'm really getting my education from Astrid today, Philine, about how the Netherlands works. I learn something new almost every day!
  • jpla
  • France
  • 3 Dec 2012, 08:58
C'est le genre de photo que je suis incapable de réaliser : trop sensible, on ne se refait pas ! Le cadrage est extra. une belle opposition entre l'afiche et la personne assise contre le mur. Je te souhaite une agréable journée
Ginnie Hart: I think this is hard for all of us to see, JP. Sometimes I look away. I was glad this fella had his face turned from me, otherwise I wouldn't have taken the picture. But yes, seeing the shopper with his bag and the lady on the poster seemed to make this image even more "sensitive." Merci.
  • Chad Doveton
  • where latitude and longitude meet
  • 3 Dec 2012, 09:07
I wonder who it is that he is thinking of Ginnie.
Ginnie Hart: It does make you wonder, Chad!
I like your choice to include the pedestrian. The beggar is shown in context. A poignant photo.
Ginnie Hart: Thanks, Mary. It did seem to have a context!
  • Louis
  • South Africa
  • 3 Dec 2012, 10:57


The receptacle is meant for coins and not pieces to eat.

Antwerp/Anviers is more of a Flemish city, as I remember. So there may be less sympathy from the locals.

Whatever - an excellent and poignant picture.
Ginnie Hart: Yes, Louis. Flemish is right, which is more like Dutch but it's own language, as Astrid always tells me. I'm guessing the French seeps through everywhere, even though this is in the north of the country. I loved that the sign was in French...or is that Flemish?!
  • Louis
  • South Africa
  • 3 Dec 2012, 11:20
Sorry, I was not specific. I translated the sign out of the French. Then marveled at the fact (s)he is begging in French in a dominant Flemish city.

I also remember Antwerp as a city where you will find a lot of pro-Arian graffiti on the walls.
Ginnie Hart: Ahhhh. I get it, Louis. Thanks for the clarification. I didn't see any pro-Aryan graffiti but I'm sure we missed a LOT of stuff!
Really sad. I'm touched by this shot.
Ginnie Hart: It's always hard for me to see this, Marie. We saw it in Köln as well over this past weekend. Sad but true.
It's heartbreaking to see the homeless at any time of year, Ginnie, but even more so during the holiday season.

Did you see this news item of a NYC police officer who did think of others when he made this random act of kindness?

Ginnie Hart: You are so right, Beverly...ANY time of the year. It's very hard to see. The link you included is very heart-warming. I hope it happens all over the world right now...random acts of kindness! Thanks for sharing.
  • Sue
  • United States
  • 3 Dec 2012, 12:15
Here in our area there is a program for homeless to sell newspapers. The people selling have to have 'clearance,' identification, and be part of the sponsored program. All other 'beggars' (panhandlers) are banned and arrested. I gladly buy the paper from time to time because I know the system encourages the individuals to be drug and alcohol free and the system helps them maintain a sense of dignity.
Ginnie Hart: I was once on a missions trip to Ireland, Sue, where we were not allowed to give money to panhandlers (who were often children giving the money to their parents for alcohol!). But we were allowed to offer food from a nearby café. You quickly found out who the real beggars were! Sad but true. Thanks for sharing what your own area does to help people stay "honest."
Gritty shot, Ginny,seems things are the same whatever the town or city.
Ginnie Hart: Thanks, Frank. Indeed, something like this the world over, though I did just find out from Astrid that the Dutch law forbids this on its streets. No wonder I hadn't seen it in awhile!
  • Anne
  • United Kingdom
  • 3 Dec 2012, 12:28
An atmospheric picture of a sight that seems to be far too commonplace these days
Ginnie Hart: Yes, Anne. So sad but true...though it's not allowed here in the Netherlands, so I haven't seen it in awhile.
I like the inclusion of the advertising board and bag carrying shopper, highlighting the differences! It makes for a powerful shot, Ginnie smile

When I was a boy, a middle-aged man used to stand outside a local shop every Saturday morning and play his accordion; passers by would drop a few coins in his collection box. Some years later, when he died the local news paper commented on this and that he was known to walk around the corner and drive his Rolls Royce back home! grin
Ginnie Hart: Thanks for your comment, Martin, and especially for the lovely story of the accordian player! smile
it could happen to anyone, a little nervous breakdown and alot of falling thru the cracks, and there it is... there should be no such thing as homeless people...
Ginnie Hart: You're absolutely right, Elaine! There but for the grace of God go I!
  • george
  • Ireland
  • 3 Dec 2012, 13:10
Martin's story (a couple of comments above) goes to show that nothing is as it seems...and there can be laughter even in apparent adversity!
Ginnie Hart: So true, George. So true. I hope this one has a happy ending! Thanks.
Not all are genuine in their need. We once had a sob story from a local resident for help and discovered that he used to drive up to the North East of England in his new car (parked out of sight of us) to go "begging" There are, however, far too many homeless people and the fact that there are a million empty properties in the UK makes that even more of a scandal.
Ginnie Hart: This is why I have mixed emotions, Bill, when I see such a sight because you never know for sure what is real or not. But the fact that there ARE real homeless people is enough to break my heart. As I often say, there but for the grace of God go I.
Bill might have heard a true story ... But anyone who can sit on a cold pavement in tne drizzle all day ... Isn't actually playing silly games.
Ginnie Hart: Yes, Richard, so true. In this case, I'm glad his "buddy" does not need food. We saw a beggar in Köln at the corner of the busiest market square cathedral, with two dogs lying next to him. They probably eat more food than he does!
Great marketing on his part with that teddy bear! Wonderful capture!
Ginnie Hart: He sure knows how to tug at the heartstrings, Robin! I wonder if YOU saw any beggars while in Antwerp recently or is this a seasonal thing?
Never saw any beggars and I remember commenting how wonderful that was!
Ginnie Hart: WOW, Robin. Maybe it IS seasonal (or at least for when it gets cold)? It was news to me when Astrid told me this morning that it's against the law to beg on Dutch streets. You can play music for money but can position yourself in one spot for only an hour.
Two worlds overlapping...
Ginnie Hart: Yes, indeed, Larry. Sad but true.
A fine b+w Ginnie, we have these in Blackpool.
Ginnie Hart: Thanks, Mick. My guess is they are everywhere (except where outlawed, like here in the Netherlands, which I just found out today!).
A fine, if somewhat sad, image Ginnie, I do like the big Teddy. We get a few beggars in our main town of Loughborough but I guess where Richard lives in Leicester, just a few miles further on, there will be a lot more it being a major city.
Ginnie Hart: Sad indeed, Brian. I hate that the poor are always with us but....who knows. (sigh) I just found out today from Astrid that the Netherlands outlaws begging on its streets. I had no clue.
I shall send a blessing to this person from here. (These sights alway break my heart.) Good photo.
Ginnie Hart: Thank you, Jacquelyn. i wouldn't have been able to take his picture if I had seen his face!
uhmm... you're very right, but perhaps this should be done the rest of the year as well!
Ginnie Hart: OF COURSE, Juan Carlos. The entire season is for the entire year! If only!
  • Alan
  • United Kingdom
  • 3 Dec 2012, 17:38
I'm sure Teddy will help add to any contributions. Not the time of year to be on the streets with the great commercial festive approaching wink
Ginnie Hart: I'm glad Teddy doesn't eat real food that can be spared for his master! That's the good news. God have mercy!
  • CherryPie
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 3 Dec 2012, 19:11
Lovely framing, it makes it a powerful picture.
Ginnie Hart: Thank you kindly, Cherry.
Quite sad and moving Ginnie! Great capture.
Ginnie Hart: Sad, indeed, Richard. Merci.
SVP? "Please" in French? ;o)
I know "manger" is "to eat". Ha!
Pardon my French!
Ginnie Hart: SVP = If you please, yes, in French. And he is indeed asking for a coin for food. Your French is very good, LC! smile
  • tede
  • France
  • 3 Dec 2012, 21:42
Une image triste que l'on voit de plus en plus. Magnifique shot Ginnie. Bonne soirée.
Ginnie Hart: Sad, indeed, Tede. I wish we could obliterate it! Merci.
A hard looking topical shot, Ginnie.
Ginnie Hart: Yes, Graeme, I know. I think it's hard for anyone who has a sensitive heart! Thanks.
Well seen and shot.
Ginnie Hart: Thank you, John.
We gave up on giving real gift to each other. We donate to various charities. Besides the local food bank, we give goats in Africa, trees in various places. We also support http://www.stephenlewisfoundation.org/get-involved/grandmothers-campaign
Ginnie Hart: I totally support that plan, Michael, for giving gifts to various charities instead of to each other. I love the link you have included! Thank you.
Here here!!! Very good photojournalism Ginnie!
Ginnie Hart: Thank you kindly, Elizabeth.
Apt title. Nice composition.

If I recall correctly, some time back Belgium was on the verge of an implosion between the north and south
Ginnie Hart: Thanks, Ayush. I don't think it's as bad now but I have a feeling it's always been hard for the north and the south to get along in Belgium because of the language difference. sad
The Salvation Army are currently looking for £19 donations but there are so many charities asking that it is impossible to give to them all. Unfortunately a large majority of the homeless rate alcohol and tobacco as being their top priority and I suppose who can blame them under the circumstances. Very poignant shot Ginnie
Ginnie Hart: In one swell foop you have expressed the "mixed emotions" of this scene for me, Janet! Thank you.
  • Kevin
  • 4 Dec 2012, 17:58
Great street shot ! Very hard shot !
Ginnie Hart: Thank you, Kevin, and yes...very hard to see. Merci.
  • rian
  • United States
  • 5 Dec 2012, 15:15
it's saddening to see peeps down on their luck..
Ginnie Hart: Yes, Rian, I know. And there but for the grace of God go I.
Ginnie Hart: Thank you, Joshi. Sad but true.
oh il me fait pitié avec son ours en peluche...tous les jours en allant au boulot,je vois aussi un SDF mais la plupart profite aussi trop de la société pour s'en sortir car on les voit ensuite dans un bar...
Ginnie Hart: Yes, Angevine. It's alway hard to know what they do with the money. Very sad....

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