TED Talk: ‘Vagabond Photojournalist’ Kitra Cahana on the Homeless and Hidden

What is ‘freedom’? This seems to be one of the main questions at the center of photojournalist Kitra Cahana’s recent TED Talk in which she tells the stories of the nomadic, homeless youth she spent many months documenting.

While you or I might describe freedom within the bounds of cultural expectations about security and stability, the people in Cahana’s photographs do not. In the talk she argues for the validity of their point of view, describes the struggles they encounter, and comes to the poignant conclusion that not even these travelers, always on the move, can escape the daemons that haunt them — often the same daemons that inspired their nomadic lifestyle.

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American-born but raised in Canada and Sweden, Cahana describes herself as a “vagabond photojournalist.” She is a “wanderer,” a cross between a photographer and anthropologist whose background in philosophy and life-long desire to “run away” and live a nomadic lifestyle herself informs much of her photography and the opinions she expresses in the TED talk above.

It’s a fascinating way to spend 5 minutes of your day, whether or not you agree with her opinions about the subjects she photographs. And speaking of agreeing or disagreeing, feel free to let us know what you think of the presentation in the comments down below.

  • Darren L Nicholls

    police state, protect the corporations and to hell with the masses.
    either ride the choices offered! (no choice/slave) or become a forced outlaw/rebel-FREE. . . . . . true choice!

  • disqus_3bAhEkhzvm

    Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Sure, go ahead and live off other people’s hard work. Do they work for a living? What do they do apart from trying to find food? Daydream? Smoke pot or any other grass? Heck, why not have babies and raise them in these great conditions of no schooling, no clean clothes and… no home? Oh, they already do that. Poor baby. And poor adult kids who have those babies. Don’t talk to me about freedom. Only wild animals are really free. And they suffer and die from diseases and predators. Is this the life anyone wants?

  • Michael Andrew Broughton

    she brings up some very serious issues faced by the homeless… but would rather spout romanticized hipster bs and use the homeless for her own benefit than contribute even a single constructive idea on how to deal with any of those issues.

  • C Schel

    Don’t make me feel guilty about their plight