Milan by night reveals a center for international homeless

by Elisabetta Pina - 2017.03.31
Milan by night reveals a center for international homeless
  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Whatsapp
  • Print

From the German homeless who emigrated to Italy to those who proudly live on the street. A not so well known universe, unto itself, is what emerges from the incredibile series on Milan’s clochard, shot by Luca Rotondo, class of 1989. The rising star of Italian photography who stole the media spotlight after winning the Amilcare Ponchielli award, with his project Metropolitan Lullabies. A long series of images, that captures the relationship that the homeless have with the city of Milan, shot at night while on bicycle.

Question: Luca how did the idea come to you to depict the nocturnal life of the homeless?

Answer: Some thought of me as an opportunist. But, I don’t take advantage of the pain of others. Quite the contrary. I only want to present the interaction of these invisible players with the center of the city, that during the night loses the vitality that it exudes during the day.

Q: How long did the Metropolitan Lullabies project take you?

A: Actually, it isn’t finished yet. During the spring and summer of 2015, I shot the first series of photographs and a second series last winter. After I won the award, I started thinking that the project was complete. Then, I noticed other locations in the center where the clochard “withdraw” at nightfall, and so, I started shooting again.

Q: How do you go about choosing the time to shoot?

A: I do a “first run” by bike to discover areas that interest me and to figure out where the homeless go to sleep. Then, I go back with my camera at around midnight and stay until around 4 or 5 a.m.

Q: Are you thinking about doing this same type of project in other countries?

A: I’m thinking about it because there exists a type of migratory phenomenon among the homeless. In other words, they tend to move from one country to another, for reasons that are not exactly clear. For example, through the various associations, I discovered that there are homeless from Germany who come to Italy, and Germany is known for its excellent support network. Many of these people resort to begging only to get enough money together to move on. But, actually, once in the new city, they pick up where they left off, living the same life as before. They sleep on the streets and are not interested in looking for work.

Q: In Milan, 70% of the clochard are foreign, why do you think that is so?

A: The nationality doesn’t really count for the most part. Serious problems with integration could exist for cultural reasons, but also because of personal setbacks: maybe losing a job or a divorce, or the death of someone important. They find themselves on the street, but they don’t ask anything from anybody. It seems like a question of dignity. In my opinion, I think that choosing to sleep out in the open in a makeshift shelter instead of in a dormitory, means that feel safer counting on themselves, rather than having to make any compromises.

Published in Homelessness.
  • Four homeless who get a chance of a lifetime

    Four homeless are in the Barcellona spotlight recently. Marcos, Enrique, Andrzj and Vincet, unlike many of their street friends, had the good fortune of being involved in an exclusive work integration program, developed by American Andrew Funk. Who before trying to find them a job, took it upon himself to Read More.

  • This is how Finland reduced the number of homeless

    The rigid temperature is not the only reason for the fact that Finland is the only EU country where the number of homeless people is diminishing. The real reason is an exceptional program called Housing First. It has been around for more than 20 years and according the European Federation of Read More.

  • After Amatrice houses are being provided for Milan’s homeless

    A new, experimental program in Italy to assist the homeless. Not the usual dormitories in huge buildings with numerous beds. But, instead, a real "town" of pre-fabricated structures equipped with all of the necessary comforts and services, designed to host 300 homeless. Included in the project are cafeterias, out-patient medical Read More.

  • Italy launches first “street lawyer” internship

    In Bari, Italy, the first legal clinic has opened for street people. To guarantee the homeless legal protection. An innovative didactic experiment launched in collaboration, by the Department of Law of the University of Bari and the non-profit organization, Street Lawyers. The project’s objectives are to raise awareness among future Read More.

  • Greece is back again, starting with the homeless

    In Athens, there is a new bus that brings showers to the homeless. The initiative was born of a collaboration between a state operated business, a private enterprise, and a a Greek not-profit organization (Praksis). They decided to transform a bus that was functioning as a normal Greek public transportation Read More.

  • Italian mayor’s anti-loitering law struck down

    Mayor of Trieste, Italy unsuccessful in keeping people from bedding down in the middle of the city. Having tried to keep people from sleeping outside, day or night, the Mayor of Trieste, Italy, was not able to pass his ordinance. In addition to banning sleeping outside, the measure was also Read More.