Working, not begging.
It’s a mantra adopted by many street papers around the world, and it has been very successful in reinforcing the fact that vendors work hard to earn a living.
Still, few members of the public will know what their vendor does at the end of a long day’s slog – or how it compares to their own after-work routine.
In Sweden, these private moments have been revealed by Gothenburg-based street paper Faktum, who have enlisted a Condé Nast Traveller photographer to capture candid images of vendors in the various places they call home.
Romanian brothers Victoras and Cristinel crouch on the floor of the church where they sleep in the centre of Gothenburg; Csaba from Hungary sits wrapped in a blanket inside the mobile home gifted to him by a Faktum customer and Anne stares despondently at the floor from the friend’s couch that she sleeps on with her faithful dog Tjabo.
These images form the basis of the paper’s 2016 annual calendar, titled Thank God It’s Friday.
”We want to show that people selling street papers have a job like anyone else, because a lot of people think they give money to charity when they buy a street paper,” Faktum’s director Ãse Henell said.
”We also want to put the spotlight on how our vendors live after they finish working.”
Explaining this year’s title, Ãse added that Thank God It’s Friday is “a term that most of us associate with something nice, like discussing the week over a drink with friends after work.
“We wanted to take that saying and put it into another context, where we show our vendors’ Fridays – which can look a lot different.”
The photos are by long-time Condé Nast Traveller photographic artist Håkan Ludwigson and fellow Swedish photographer Bo Kågerud.
Håkan previously collaborated with Faktum on its innovative and hugely successful 2012 calendar Faktum Hotels. The calendar and accompanying website encouraged people to book a ‘hotel room’ in a place where a homeless person or Faktum vendor might be forced to sleep, such as the woods, a street corner or under a bridge. Each of the locations was pictured in the calendar.
Faktum, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, launched its calendar in 2010. It now forms an important source of additional income for vendors during winter, and is so popular that many readers pre-book their copies months in advance.
The 2016 edition can be purchased from a Faktum vendor or online for 150 SEK [£11]. Vendors buy the calendar for 75 SEK [£5.50] and keep the profits.
Bertil Schmidt was thrilled to be featured in the calendar, and happily invited the photographers into his home.
Selling Faktum has helped him afford his own place, and overcome his social anxieties too. He is pictured standing proudly in the apartment he now shares with a dog and three cats.
“Instead of telling the customers that I’m in it, I tell them about my cat being in there – they have to guess the rest!” he said.
“I think the calendar turned out really well, it has sold much better than last year!”