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The Drugs Don't Work

His name is Sam, he is begging on the streets of Liverpool, he came up from Eastbourne to try and find his father that he has not seen for 15 years but did not find him. The scant amount of money he had soon ran out and now he resorts to begging. He lives on the streets because he says there are too many druggies in the hostels, he says he does not do drugs. His eyes tell me he is lying, he is only 24, the same age as my eldest son.

People ask me if I fear for my safety when I meet people on the streets, no, I fear for my anger, I never come away from a shoot in fear, I often come away simply angry, is this not the 21st century? Have we still not learnt anything?
Zelf Bloemen's profile photoBayram Atalay's profile photoAngelique Boisvert's profile photoChris Fabish's profile photo
...We need more people to emotionally evolve. I am just sad that I can do nothing. A cat I can take in but not a it is
Reminds of a song of The Verve, the title of the Post I mean
I know that look..and I understand the son died of a drug OD
Looks like CGI, seems liverpool got no fun :P
Great picture & story Mike! Stories like this has to come out more frequently, people can learn from this. Thanks for sharing!
Very sad, if our children as adults make the wrong choices, it is not our fault. It's tragic.
His pupils say that he is lying to you..... my uncle lived on the streets (after Vietnam) for years and refused to stay at shelters as he felt that they were more unsafe than the streets. He has been off of the streets for about 2 years now....I am glad that there is someone like you taking pictures and making this a reality that we cannot look away from as easily. Thank you.
we are our brother's keeper but we have failed to act.
"His eyes tell me he is lying". Really? That seems like an unfair assumption, but I guess you did meet and talk to him.
for me... sad... truly sad... this could you or I or worse, one of our sons...
This photo reminds me of a self-portrait Van Gogh did that is on display in the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. I've never seen mental instability subtly captured in art like in the Van Gogh, but this is coming pretty close. It's all about the eyes, and the eyes in this photo are completely captivating and mesmerizing.
Very imposing eyes. Good portrait. Shame he was there to be shot, IWSYIM.
I guess the answer is no ... sadly
Very intense photo and post Mike!
sí, todavía no hemos aprendido nada, pero desnaturalizar este hecho, ponerlo a discusión, criticarlo y entenderlo para luego tomar cartas en el asunto, también es importante. Creo que estás haciendo algo bueno con el sólo hecho de exponer la situación a todos...
Your words and images cut through to the essence.
Very sad...thank you for sharing this compelling image.
You have managed to capture his eyes so well... the eyes are just telling all the story.
Fantastic capture, Mike!
Love the capture and the story - the eyes.
He's my brother's age. He looks much older. I suppose it's a lack of hope that makes him look like a man a full decade older than he really is. And those pupils. I have seen those pupils accompanied by the line "Nah, I'm not using" so many times. It's awful how much misery and pain and wastefulness can take place in a lifetime because of things like random chance and circumstance; things outside of our control. I am not a believing sort, but I sometimes find I mutter "There but for the grace of God go I..." in spite of myself.

Sorry to go on so much, +Mike Shaw. This image is very powerful. As we Yanks get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, this kid's eyes are all the more poignant. While I have so much to be thankful for, there is so much out there in the world to be rightly pissed off about.
He lost his father at 9. I lost mine at 3. Young mother of 3 abandoned by the father of her children.....It's the choices that we make in life that define us. Not decisions made for us.
and the people who r on drugs they lie alot.
Some people turn to drugs to cope with their emotions as others turn to drink.The sad reality is it just causes more problems they become alienated from society,family and friends.I see drug users and alcoholics every day where I live as there are centres there for them to go for help and advice. I see them waiting for their methadone as they try to cure their addiction.My feelings are mixed as I know most people would not take drugs or drink too much if they realised it was not the answer. Peer pressure,life and a number of things make people resort to these ways. I always feel sad as I think what a waste of their life and angry too that it is so easy to obtain drugs!
yeah, his eyes diffidently tell he is on drugs,
So true Christine. My best friend's son is swallowed up with it right now. 22 yrs old. It's so sad. He has everything to live for but makes every attempt to die.
beautiful but sad.
@ Daniel I am sorry to hear that. Hopefully he will get some help. They say every picture tells a story and as well as clearly showing that Sam takes drugs.I can see fear in his eyes.
Amazing pictures, all of them. To see a person on the street and see more than just a person on the street... if only those in power were able to see that too.
On ne voit pas seulement de la peur dans son regard, mais aussi une certaine détresse. Ses yeux semblent dire "regarde ce que la vie à fait de moi". Vos photos sont de vrais livres ouverts sur les gens Mike.
I know the feeling. I was born an addict and the "switch was`turned on", when I was 13 yrs old!I spent 29 years of my life torturing myself, committing suicide,( they didn't work but 1 time and I was DOA when I got taken to the hospital- they almost couldn't bring me back- I woke up on an "iron lung"and restrained so I couldn't rip it out when I woke up after 3 days!) and just not having any clue what life was for. It's taken 6 years of therapy and Divine Intervention to even get a little sane. I am extremely intelligent, extremely spiritual and the best years of my life were wasted. It's tragic and I am trying to realize who I am, where I'm going and it just sucks some days. You have a supreme, God given talent and I am JEALOUS!! (I LOVE taking "moments", is what I call pictures.) Destiny is something you should meditate seem to have one! TB
Great image! Makes me think alot! 24 and no future?!
I love the way you captured the intensity in his eyes.
I cannot escape the intensity of this stare, or the words that accompany it.
+Mike Shaw I have added quite a few people to my circles lately, but you are one of the few that I search out to see if you've updated any new shots. I love your street photography, the processing, and the stories behind the shots. This man's face is haunting.
My grandparents ran a drug and alcohol recovery center for over 30 years. I visited every summer, and saw people like this in and out of their center. Seeing those people scared me enough to never try drugs. Thank you for this image.. it brought back memories of my grandma and the summers I spent with her.
I share your despair +Mike Shaw I am often in the CBD of Sydney as part of my job and the many homeless are very visable there. I am torn though to understand just what it is that brings people to this level of despare. Is it tragic circumstance , personal choice or society that plays the greater part in this tragedy? I have given both money and time to various causes, perhaps not as much a I could have sometimes, but I do not see it making any significant difference.
Hermosas fotos, un escalofrío me corrio por el cuerpo con cada una de ellas. Felicitaciones por este trabajo!
Thank you everyone, I spoke about emotional detachment with someone last night in regards to this image and will post up in a moment some of my thoughts in regards to what was said :)
Wars R
his eyes say something..
Thank you Mike. You care, and it shows. And look at all the hearts you have touched here with that photo - what you have stirred up.
i would think it would be impossible to be detached from anything that is captured through a camera ... if the eyes are the window to the soul than it would follow that the lenses would intensify and freeze those moments, most especially when looking into the eyes of another ... you work and commentary are brilliant!
+Mike Shaw I was in a rush, but stopped short when I saw this post and read every comment. In short, I think that what makes this image powerful is the emotion it stirs in the viewer; if you had not been moved when you shot it, why would we be? Thank you for caring enough to be angry.
I don't understand what you're angry about Mike. Yes, this is the 21st century and what is it that we're supposed to have learned? Compassion, poverty, drug abuse and it's consequences? What is it that makes you so angry?
Nora Buchalter-Qudus..u can take a cat in but y not a person?..really felt sorry for this guy..yes 21st century whr life of a human being is cheaper thn an animal..
+Buzz Bussino His back story, been there and did it over 35 years ago, it seems we have not learnt to care for our children any better
I love the way you've captured his amazement and horror. very inspirational
wonderful...buena historia y muy realista de la vida
I dont know how to describe the emotions invoked, everytime I view this photo....I visit this photo once a week for inspiration...Thankyou Mike...
Also cannot describe the emotions this photo invokes but it is strong, so strong.
una mirada intensa y al mismo tiempo sin alma, perdida.
Out of all your photos, Mike, this one stopped me in my tracks! 
I have seen this look before from someone I knew that had schizophrenia. 
I feel this man is filled with fear.  
It is an amazing photo!  (more intense too because of being b/w i think - ?)
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