Former Homeless Man Shoots a Real and Authentic London

I Wrote This For You

Though we get a lot of submissions coming through to our inbox every day, this one from photographer Sam Gellman really struck a chord. He wasn’t writing about himself (though we’d previously featured his work) but of a fellow photographer named Viorel Popescu.

Here’s what he wrote, “Viorel Popescu is Romanian by birth and escaped communist Romania as a teenager and worked his way to Germany where he had no choice but to steal for a living. After getting caught once, he moved to Belgium, where he ended up homeless needing to beg to get by. In 2000, he managed to find a way into the UK where he got a job driving a crane. He has been doing that for the past 12 years.

“He is one of the most upbeat, compassionate, energetic, fun-loving people I’ve had the privilege of meeting. When you meet him, he is just overwhelming with his passion for life and for photography. He’s also a fantastic photographer.

“Having seen so many sides of life, he brings enormous amount of compassion to his work. He shoots with his handheld camera or his iPhone 3GS. He processes them on his phone from the crane.”

We got in touch with Popescu and told him about Gellman’s email. His reply was simply, “Sam Gellman? Bless him.”

Then, he went on to explain his most honest and powerful set he calls London Through a Lens.

“I came to London for a fling and ended up marrying this great city. And I love all its kids. I portray them a lot. It is very much about them in my photographs. Them and their surroundings. Steel, glass, concrete, graffiti, grass, water, rain for the surface people.

And there are the shadows, the darker places where the secrets, the illegals, the rejects can hide. All there. I see them. Me, I belong to both places, surface and underground. On the surface I live and work, on the underground is where my heart ventures, out of compassion for the poor, the unfortunate of the city. I was one of them. And my camera follows me and my heart. I want my photographs to be like me: human.”

The photo above is a self-portrait taken with a dead, stuffed dog from an art show. “I do not shoot myself much, but if I do, it has got to be with a twist,” he told us. “This time I wanted it to be humorous.”


Of When I Was Found


The Spy


He, She, Them: On Mixing the Unmixable


To Life: And love is love in beggars and in kings.


It is Time


The Arrival Of The Past


The Quintessential City Gent


At Night


Where Are We?


Passage To The Underworld


Man Of The Streets


Life Shot


6.1 miles. London: Light, Shadow And Darkness

Viorel Popescu on Flickr



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