You Can Help a Homeless Former Photographer Get Another Chance at Life

You Can Help a Homeless Former Photographer Get Another Chance at Life

Benjamin Lowy, a photographer represented by Reportage by Getty Images, met Scott Sutton, a man panhandling, outside the Union Square movie theater in New York last November. Scott was holding a sign that read "Give selflessly and you will reap endlessly," and Benjamin walked over. They discussed Scott's struggle being homeless for the past two years, and compared shoes. Scott found his in the garbage, while Benjamin was in the combat boots he wore while photographing Afghanistan. That's when Benjamin explained, "the conversation took a turn to the surreal."

Lowy started his career in photography covering the Iraq War in 2003, and he has also worked throughout Darfur, Afghanistan, and most recently Libya. When Scott saw the combat boots, he asked Benjamin if he was in the Army. Benjamin explained he was a photojournalist to which Scott surprisingly admitted he used to be a photojournalist as well - covering the Balkans for Getty Images. He further explained, "There came a point in my life when everyone I knew died. I lost everyone in my family. My wife, 13 years younger then me, she used to joke that she would die young, and she did [die] of heart disease two years ago. I lost and I took a leave of absence." He paused to look Scott in the eye to add, "Well, you know what they say, when it rains it pours, and here I am now. On the street. Begging."

Since last November, Benjamin and his wife have been building up a relationship with Scott and also have been contacted by his long-lost family, former friends and colleagues. "It has been a long process to help Scott prepare for a life out of the streets. Its been his reality for too long," Lowy admitted. Benjamin posted the above image of Scott along with his story last year and was amazed photography community's support. He and his wife have arranged a few resources to Scott, which have helped for immediate needs, but he needs more so they set up a fundraising campaign.

We have gotten a few resources to Scott, which have helped for immediate needs. Everything is moving in positive directions, which is why we are now asking for your help.

  1. Scott needs a place to stay, a place to sleep out of the cold. We are looking at SRO availability in the city.
  2. He has not had dental work done in quite awhile and needs extensive dental work done.
  3. He needs a therapist to start helping him deal with his losses and get back to feeling worthwhile, until we can get his medicaid set up.
  4. He needs a small budget so he is assured of a meal each day.

We are hoping with your help, we can make those plans a reality. Scott is even optimistic about getting back into his photography work. We will keep you posted as we move along.

Benjamin Lowy is asking our community to help one of our own.
You can find more information and make donations directly at the GiveForward fundraising site.

UPDATE: Ben wanted to clarify that Scott didn't work directly for Getty Images but instead for Archive Photos as the darkroom manager (which was later bought by Getty), and also that Scott attended RIT studying photography.

UPDATE: Scott's sister Roxanne visited with him and reported back some real positive improvements in his situation. The goal is at 94% which is also super amazing!

[via Huffington Post | Facebook]

Aaron Brown's picture

Aaron Brown is a Northwest Indiana wedding & portrait photographer. In his off time, he enjoys grooming his beard, consuming assorted meats and craft beers, and battling friends and foes alike in blitz chess. Follow him below, and feel free to drop him a line anytime.

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Please keep this story up front and current. There are no better ways to use this whole social thing real and meaningful than articles and people just like this.

Cheers John!

So glad this story is being covered and brought to light.

Be careful about helping homeless people.


Corporate Imperialism at it's best.

It takes a special kind of a-holes to fine people trying to help others.

That's a different situation than handing a guy a sandwich. Those people were bringing in full scale operations to public parks without a permit. The restrictions on permits for that purpose are a different discussion altogether.

I don't know why you posted that article-but I think I'll help not only Mr. Sutton but these really cool people down in Florida...

I'm a heathen-but these fine Christian folk can use our help. Chico and Debbie Jiminez-people doing the right thing.

Let's get a camera back in this guy's hands!


I'll be keeping in touch with Ben for sure. Thanks!

Benjamin and Benjamin Lowry do a masterful job of explaining why we are
at the start of a new era of radically increasing standards of living
throughout the world. Aaron Brown your article is essential reading for
anyone looking for a better tomorrow.

It to s to show that good people still exist and they can achieve awesome things IF they feel a connection!

How many homeless are in this same situation as a result of mental illness, depression, etc...

They deserve as much help as this fella' , but some how we feel less inclkined to help since the connection isn't as strong... I'M NOT complaining or diminishing their efforts here!! I'm pointing out how lucky this guy was to meet a fellow photojournalist... Had he met a carpenter, lawyer or doctor i don't think he would have gotten the same help.

I guess i mean to say that we need to be more sensitive towards thoose who need this help regardless of past occupation, etc...

Yea. The problem is systemic. You can help a guy, but to really deal with the problem the solution has to be systemic as well.

The bottom is dropping out of US's getting ugly.

I' happy my comment didn't pass to negatively! Could have been misinterpreted...

I'm up for the helping part, but why isn't his government helping him out?

Isn't it sad that one has to end up in the streets to get dental work done? What does this say about our society?

This is a very sad story, and yes, keep it up front for as long as possible. I am a stay at home mom, with one son who's Autistic, & former professional photographer who thanks to this economy and predatory dentistry I ended up needing over $20k in dental work, and can't find help anywhere. It doesn't matter what walk of life you're in, unless rich, one cannot have access to dentistry in the US these days. He is just one example, but there are millions of people in Florida who don't have access to dentistry. I think he would be more successful if they sponsored a trip elsewhere to get his dental work done, because here dentistry is an insult to the medical field; all they want to do is cleanings of perfect Halle Berry teeth and nothing else. Sometimes I wonder if they know how to do a root canal.

Good luck to him because 'There for the grace of god'