Creatively Repicturing the Homeless Through Stock Imagery

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Repicturing Homeless is a project from Getty Images, who partnered with fiftyfifty, a Düsseldorf street magazine sold by homeless people.

The premise of the project was to shift the negative public perception of the homeless and help raise funds for this community in a meaningful way.

People always see homeless people as poor, desperate, and beyond help. Most existing homeless campaigns simply keep re-affirming such stereotypical images and ask for people to donate out of sympathy.

Instead of following down the spiral of pity, this time Getty wanted to send a different message, by challenging people’s prejudiced beliefs and putting homeless people’s hope and possibilities under the spotlight.

To that end, Getty created this most conventional and most non-conventional stock photo collection, modelled by homeless people.

Karl-Heinz Hasenjaeger: “Today at the photoshoot I feel alive again. A feeling I used to know earlier.”

After a careful analysis of common requests on Getty Images to establish the themes, we worked alongside homeless street vendors at fiftyfifty as models and portrayed them in traditional day-to-day life and work scenarios:  businessmen, designers, cooks, bartenders, tourists, and so on.

People can license our photos on both and, and all profits from the image downloads go directly to fiftyfifty to purchase apartments and house the homeless. Moreover, we’ll be sending the photos to different model agencies, opening our homeless participants up to a whole host of potential opportunities.

Muresan Vasilika: “I’d love to let the public see, what homeless people can also look like.”

The plan now is to expand the initiative with more photographers and homeless organisations around the world.

Just because someone is at the edge of the society doesn’t mean he or she is any less of a human than us. They still deserve our respect and support, and for that, we need to first learn to look at them from a different perspective.

It was magical being part of the process. As the initiative progressed I began to see our models become more and more confident. We are not just reshaping how others perceive them, but are changing how they see themselves as well.

The project not only helped the homeless community but reinforced Getty Images as a brand striving to spur change, shape perception and move the world with powerful imagery. For years, Getty Images has been promoting possibilities for visual expression with their extensive photo archive. This special project brought their brand mission even further.

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