And goodnight brush
And goodnight to the old lady whispering “hush”
Goodnight noises everywhere
Slightly more than 8 months ago I captured my first #dozinbo. I imagine that anyone who has followed, even with a passing interest, my #dozinbos must have, at some point, wondered why. Why sleeping hobos?
It began in the middle of a several week long bout of insomnia. The sight of a sleeping hobo, totally unconscious and locked in a private world, far from the terror of the waking world, struck me as interesting, sad, infuriating, enviable and disgusting all at the same time.
After I took 3 photos (all of them taken just on an iPhone) and added the quotes it went from being uninteresting curiosity to an obsession. By the time I was at my 20th #dozinbo the very act of getting just the right picture with just the right angle became really exciting as did the, occasionally week long, process of finding just the right quote to match the photo.
I followed some very simple rules. I could only use photos that I took (believe it or not people from all over the world began sending me pictures of sleeping hobos). The hobo had to be asleep and, finally, it couldn’t just be someone sleeping…the photo had to be of a legitimate hobo.
At the beginning the quotes were pretty much simply a statement of how I felt when seeing the #dozinbo. However, as the project continued, I tried to source just the right quote to fit the photo. By the time I was at my 50th I spent a ton of time trying to figure out a quote which gave a key to the particular hobo.
The quotes are presented without the authors name or quotation marks. All of the quotes are famous, but to find out where they are from you will need to know the quote or, if necessary, google it. The reason I left off the quotation marks was simply because I felt it looked better this way.
I don’t exactly recall when I decided to stop at 100 posts, but it was some time ago. Of course, if I see one that is particularly special I may add it but, as of now, I consider the #dozinbos project to be complete. It truly has been a trip.
Having spent time taking pictures, in public, of sleeping hobos from as far north as 130th street to as far south as Astor place and at all hours of the day I have had quite a few adventures. Often times while walking with someone I would pull out my phone and with almost child like excitement get into position to get just the right hobo photo. I must say, the looks I received from both strangers and acquaintances alike were pretty astonishing.
It will be strange leaving this project to the side. Through some very difficult times, maybe the most difficult in my life, the guerrilla photo taking of sleeping homeless people proved a hobby that distracted me and even gave some kind of meaning to what I was going through.
The take away I have from the #dozinbos is that sleep, in its purest form, where other than duration it is barely distinguishable from death, is only possible in a person who has completely surrendered themselves.
Nietzsche famously says that “…hope…is the worst of all evils, because it prolongs the torment of man.” The other side of this is that with the cessation of all hope, with pure and utter hopelessness, comes the end of at least a certain kind of suffering. It is easy to pawn off the sleep of the hobos that I have caught in these photos as being brought on by drugs or alcohol or exhaustion from life on the street. However, look close and I think you will see that there is something more. That the sleep you witness here, the sleep of a hobo, is a sleep only possible through totally annihilating all hope.
Somewhere in-between the otherworldly sleep of the hobo and the broken nervous energy of the insomniac there must be balance. Between being a beast driven only by the pains and pleasures of the body and the wrapped neurosis which come from being a free intellect interacting with a casually determined world is a place, I believe, where a person can rejoice in their own humanity.
R. Kelly could not be reached for comment.
It has often been said that mankind is halfway between the apes and the angels or, put in other words, a god who shits and this does ring true. Neither able to be purely of the physical world because of our self-awareness, nor able to be gods because of our physical limitations and mortality we are left to find our own way, the middle children of the universe, and, with any luck, find some form of solace and ability to sleep. So if man is a god who must succumb to excretions and emanations a posteriori as well as a priori, leaving him existentially homeless and a stranger to both the heavens and the earth the real question is who is it that the hobos are more like? Is their peaceful sleep a sign that they have totally collapsed into pure object or that they have transcended to pure spirit?
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