Berge Arabian
Berge Arabian
Sebastien, Dorian, Joey and The Gang
This is part of a story about a homeless youth community that I stumbled upon, a few years ago, while walking the streets of downtown Toronto with my camera. What began as a curious pursuit to photograph a very interesting homeless young man, creating havoc on a busy street corner, turned out to be a seven-month journey in the labyrinth of a homeless youth community in the heart of a changing neighbourhood in downtown Toronto. Photographing Sebastien, became my first step into a story that unfolded by itself in front of my lense. Through him and thanks to him, I encountered the rest of the group. Little by little, I became their daily companion: the guy with the camera. They allowed me to see them a bit more closely than others could. For me it became an eye-opening journey. A sort of unlearning of the many false myths about the homeless. I encountered all sorts, from the alcoholics to the drug addicts, to the violent and the bullies. But I also witnessed their comraderie, kindness, communal spirit and more than anything, their search for love and compassion. More or less, the same search that they and I, and most of humanity, have in common. In the end, my eye was drawn to this aspect of their daily life. This story was not photographed with the intention for a solution to the Homeless problem. It was just that at a certain point in my life, I was fortunate to be allowed into their lives and be witness to a kind of communal life that since then has disappeared from a neighbourhood that, in the last four years, has gone through a big restructuring to accommodate new businesses and enterprenurs. Most of the people I encountered are not there any more: only a few had remained the last time I was there. But photographs of what I saw, remain. P.S. This body of work was never shown in a public gallery exhibition, save for the only time I showed it to my homeless friends in return for the goodbye party they organized for me just before my move to Istanbul.

Biography
Born in Syria of Armenian descent. Berge Arabian immigrated to Canada in 1973. A graduate in International Politics. A self-taught photographer since 1990, focusing on Social documentaries with a belief in the importance of documentary photography and how it relates to everyday human existence and the understanding of the human condition. A freelance photographer since 1994, worked for “NOW” magazine in Toronto, Canada for many years and has participated in various solo and group exhibitions. Moved to Istanbul in 2010 and has been facilitating in photographic workshops as well as working as photographer for Agos newspaper since 2012. One of the co- founders and co-editors of the internationally-distributed Dog Food magazin.