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Moyra Peralta’s Worldly Goods

July 27, 2013
by the gentle author

“These are all my worldly goods,” said Darren when he spread out these modest items to show Photographer Moyra Peralta in 1997. Moyra asked those she had befriended who lived upon the street to permit her to photograph the contents of their pockets and these pictures were the result.

Darren (Waterloo) – Dog, dog leads, keys on key-ring, penknife, cigarettes, lighter, matches, loose change, shoppers’ points card, religious medals on a string, prayer printed on a metal plate, photo of a dog, paperclip, safety pins, nine packets of sugar, paper serviette, personal papers, pain-killers, emery board and several plastic change bags.

Richard (Holborn) – Busking spoons (for `ham and egg-ing’, ie begging), diary, passport, one roll-up , matches, tobacco, cigarette papers, allowance book, medical prescription, Department of Social Security letter, penknife, photograph, paper tissues, and twenty-one pence.

Michael (Covent Garden) – Social Security book, moneybag, a pair of spectacles with case, a religious picture and prayer, a crucifix and chain, a five pound note, London Underground travel ticket, loose change, a US coin, two lighters, a pencil, comb, a chewing gum, a Medilink card and church postcards.

Chris, Malcolm & Jimmy (Trafalgar Sq) –  Personal stereo, lighters, cigarettes, vitamin tablets, legal and medical papers,
 a photograph of Jack Nicholson, a cartoon drawing, copper coins, a match, a wristband and a lucky sprig of heather.

Sean (Covent Garden) – A Begging placard, a peeled orange, money tin, loose change, a paper hankie, cashew nuts, a pair of socks, an 
origami flower, a pocket dictionary, a postcard, a religious picture, a whistle, shoelaces, a plaster, a broken pencil and an Irish coin.

Rory – Virgin Atlantic docket, address book, a miniature elephant mascot, a personal stereo, two paperbacks, 
`british passport, an inhaler, a brush, two cigarette lighters, a matchbook, a pen, a hammer (for breaking into squats) and a torch (belonging to a friend).

Johnnie (Holborn) – A hairbrush, reading glasses, cigarette papers, tobacco, a lighter, a pair of scissors, a razor, a toothbrush, a toothpaste, vitamin capsules, a wallet, photographs, an envelope with more photographs, batteries, coins, a pen, a paperback and cream bath lotion.

Simon (Holborn) – A tobacco tin, some dog-ends, matches, a candle stub, loose change, paper towels, dog biscuits and bone, a collar and lead, a necklace, combs, a prescription, a notebook,  a paperback, two photos, stamps, a copy of In & Around Covent Garden magazine, a cassette, a button, an envelope, a pencil, a bullet,  a plastic knife and fork, and three tubes of glue.

Ray (Strand) – a wallet, a notebook, tissues, an address book, a news cutting, an Outreach contact card, phone cards, dice, a stamp, loose change, combs, a pair of spectacles, a watch, a pen, a playing card, a cigar stub, a pen cap, bottle of mouthwash, matches, buttons, shaving cream, soap, a piece of string, a needle, thread, a safety razor in a plastic case, throat sweets, scissors, antiseptic cream, wire and wire springs and a paperback.

Tommy (Holborn Station) – Copies of The Big Issue, a Vendor’s Identity Card, a spectacle case, cigarettes, peppermints, nail-clippers and a wristwatch.

Tony & Sandy –  Rolling tobacco, a lighter, cigarette papers, painkillers, a plaster and a comb.

Richard displays his worldly goods in Holborn.

Photographs copyright © Moyra Peralta

Signed copies of ‘NEARLY INVISIBLE,’ including these photographs and more by Moyra Peralta plus writing by John Berger & Alan Bennett, are available directly from Moyra. Email to get your copy.

You may also like to read about

Moyra Peralta in Spitalfields

Moyra Peralta’s Street Portraits

8 Responses leave one →
  1. Libby Hall permalink
    July 27, 2013

    Of all Moyra Peralta’s profoundly moving and beautiful photographs, I find these the most moving of all.

  2. Carolyn Badcock - nee Hooper permalink
    July 27, 2013

    Powerful images………… makes one stop very still. Then wonder – where was that person 10 years ago, 20 years ago? And today, St Francis for one, the Sacred Heart to another, lucky sprig of heather for someone else. How we all need someone or something to hold onto.

    Our lives can change so rapidly at times for so many reasons too.

    Thanks, Gentle Author

  3. Paul Kelly permalink
    July 27, 2013

    Some intriguing items ; especially the reading matter of small paperbacks. It seems so sad that cumulatively these possessions are the whole owning of a persons life. Amazing stuff. Keep the pictures coming please !!!!

  4. Mirabilis permalink
    July 27, 2013

    Those are very sobering photographs – they remind me of the ‘What the world eats’ and ‘What the world owns’ photos in the way they starkly lay out the differences between the haves and have nots.

  5. July 27, 2013

    Great idea, beautifully executed.

  6. Catherine permalink
    July 27, 2013

    Thanks to the Gentle Author and friends for always posting beautiful, thought-provoking essays.

  7. Cherub permalink
    July 28, 2013

    As I’m Scottish I am hoping the lucky heather may have brought Chris, Malcolm and Jimmy some good fortune. Very moving when you see someone’s wordly belongings all laid out like this. It has made me realise you can own too much.

  8. August 6, 2013

    It appears that although they are all down on their luck, most of them can some how or other or other afford to smoke.

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