17 Images of Poverty

17 Images of Poverty

Today is Blog Action Day – a day where thousands of bloggers around the world focus upon and highlight issues around one topic – poverty.

Here is our contribution – a collection of images taken to highlight poverty from around our globe. Click the images to be taken to the Flickr pages of the photographer and to learn more about the story behind the faces you see.

Read more from our category

Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • mike June 20, 2013 02:57 pm

    Go to the forbes site and see the greed. Its insanity! Theres no reason anyone should go hungry. The insane greed in the 1% is a crime! We have let them shape and rule OUR world long enough!

  • Br.Pradeep May 20, 2013 06:31 pm

    these photos are really inspiring me to do something charitable work for the poor.

  • david shikalepo March 24, 2012 01:08 am

    once it is them soon it may be you

  • Scicere Reid. March 21, 2012 04:02 am

    These are touching pictures and I care. And I pray that god will bless these homeless people and give them his love, because I care and understand.

  • david March 7, 2012 11:03 am

    I'm currently an art student study fine art. I'm looking into the freedom of speech and expression, I'm trying to portray the poverty side of humanity and ask what if any rights have we acknowledged?

  • tina December 5, 2011 10:53 pm

    Nice list of images.the pics are really heart touching. it indicates the poverty in India.

  • Mr. Vee Tetseo November 30, 2011 11:52 am

    Hello Darren,

    I want to let you know how powerful your pictures are. Brought tears as we (Me and wife) watched the pictures. I had come across your blog when I was looking for some information about poverty in the world with the intention to encourage how we must become more involved to reach out to them. Would it be possible like to use your pictures, along with some of mine for a powerpoint presentation in our school Christmas program. I will use it with my song called 'Walk this Life'. I will copyright your work and print your website. I will be glad if you can also give me permission to use it for my 'Cafe Live' I do at church in Japan. I live in Okinawa, Japan.

    Thank you.


  • misha November 13, 2011 06:35 pm

    oh!the pics are very heart touching. still the povery is present in our world this is really shameful.......

  • ashton October 21, 2011 04:05 pm

    Like the third picture best

  • David September 4, 2011 04:59 pm

    Nice list of images. I've noticed the most impactful photos usually feature young children. I've also compiled my own list of 41 heartbreakingly beautiful poverty pictures if you're interested in looking!


  • Atul August 2, 2011 12:33 am

    Men it's heart touching images

  • April July 8, 2011 02:56 am

    Darren, great eye! I lived in Thailand for a bit while in the Peace Corps, visited refugee camps in Cambodia, taught in the inner-city, and grew up in rural America. I have seen poverty from multiple perspectives and can appreciate the challenges in the eyes of the people you photograph. Studying poverty as a doctoral student, I found your work honest and beautiful. Hopefully, the critics who don't "see" the poverty in all of your work will understand that even if you don't see it, it doesn't mean it is not present. Thanks for sharing!

  • Nadeem Sibtain June 17, 2011 10:49 pm


  • Nadeem Sibtain June 17, 2011 10:49 pm

    POETRY by me to see theses pics
    kaisi duniya hai samajh mn hi nahi aati hai
    kuch ko mil jati hai aur kuch ko yeh tarsaati hai
    kha kay khana ameer walk pe nikatay hn
    khanay ki bhook mn ghareebo'n ko bhagati hai

  • ROHINI May 27, 2011 10:40 pm


  • Venu April 25, 2011 01:50 pm

    I am from India, the above pictures matches with upper middle class Indians. Each 100 individuals among one indiviual in my country is having tons and tons of poverty. Try to get pictures from India.

  • Avi April 4, 2011 08:04 pm

    too sad to see these photos....... I wish i could help.........

  • Babaeng February 20, 2011 04:58 am

    My b/f helps me start a blog about my life in town near Cagayan de Oro, and helps with some expenses.
    Somehow people do not know or care about poverty, so he says I should write my stories, and post pictures of life here.

  • Anna Patrick February 15, 2011 12:04 am

    Can anyone tell me when will this action take place in 2011? I also like to submit some more images of poverty, focused on India http://www.photographymojo.com/2011/02/fascinating-india-a-photography-journey/

  • Karl Engelmann January 28, 2011 04:34 pm

    Thank you for the terrific images! I have a song titled "Last Night in America" that I set to images that I found on the web including this website. You and your artists have provided me with good imagery for what I am trying to convey.


    I hope you approve and enjoy.

    Thank you!

  • lably May 18, 2010 10:18 am

    how to stop povert? isthere a possible solution for that? gosh...poor creatures...huhhhh

  • Alrady May 13, 2010 12:41 am

    Sarah.. I think he was referring more to difficulty of the photoshoot. I think the poster (lee) must have misssed a few of the photos...

    Now a year or so later, I would love to see a second page,,, one with foreclosure signs, evictions, people living in the national forests, cars loaded to the grill with possessions while moving, a hobo on a train. Things like that for a second edition. :)

  • Sarah May 12, 2010 11:26 am

    just because they are photos of homeless people doesnt mean that they dont live in poverty.

  • Lee February 24, 2010 05:19 am

    Photographing homeless alcoholics and crack-heads is not exactly what I'd call definitive of "poverty". I would have been more impressed with say, a family living in their car or children poorly dressed playing in a ghetto neighborhood. It's not much of a challenge to go downtown and start snapping street people.

  • Adit January 28, 2010 05:56 pm

    thanx a lot man

  • Vidya November 27, 2009 07:46 pm

    the way you portrayed zes people is worth praises...not only can we find poverty, but also rays of hope in those eyes...

  • LEX November 14, 2009 05:51 am

    what what ever Eric

  • tamanna October 25, 2009 12:32 pm

    hey ur pics were so realistic that it was remind me & those people who have seen these pics that after independence,india was totally changed but still there is a poverty exist!thax a lot these touchable pics.........

  • peri October 24, 2009 01:00 pm

    Thanks for your picture, remind me there is "people" out there waiting for us.

  • ram June 30, 2009 12:52 am

    hey the pics are really great..the girl child specially..

  • spencer black May 20, 2009 02:37 am

    Just wanted to say I'm really proud of everything you're doing.
    Here is the video I did for the young lions competition in hopes of encouraging people to add their names and help Oxfam by joining the movement to encourage world leaders to vote for change at the summit in Copenhagen in December.
    Hope you enjoy!


  • Toure April 17, 2009 04:56 pm

    This is so touching and I can find any word to express the pain I feel seeing these

  • manoranjan April 9, 2009 09:18 pm

    really, images shows the reallity of poverty.

  • Administration February 1, 2009 09:16 pm

    I did not mean to leave my email in my previous post. Please remove.
    Lipadmin Says:
    February 1st, 2009 at 9:11 pm
    Please post as follows:


    We saw you pictures of poverty on the internet.

    Please consider adding some pictures with a link back to your site in our forum at Liplies.com.

    We promote charities and provide an outlet for constructive criticism of today media networks and broadcasting companies.

    Also please consider linking back to our site from your web site.

    Check out Liplies Social Media Network

    Thank You,


  • Lipadmin February 1, 2009 09:11 pm


    We saw you pictures of poverty on the internet.

    Please consider adding some pictures with a link back to your site in our forum at Liplies.com.

    We promote charities and provide an outlet for constructive criticism of today media networks and broadcasting companies.

    Also please consider linking back to our site from your web site.

    Check out Liplies Social Media Network

    Thank You,


  • Ivory Smith January 3, 2009 04:14 am

    I hate the reality in which these pictures bring...because this world is so rich in resources there should'nt exist any poverty, I wish everyone in this world were atleast thousand heirs or up<<<(made up word).

  • Ruth December 16, 2008 01:43 am

    I agreee with Lara! we should all start doing something about!!!!
    you can go to
    www.freerice.com or www.freepoverty.com
    these websites donate food and materials to people i poverty!

  • Prad December 2, 2008 04:03 pm

    Letting some one live in poverty IS A CRIME !!!


  • lara November 12, 2008 03:33 am

    we all have to put hands 2gether an try to solve this problem.saying :these pics are really sad wont solve any of these problems.insted of talking so that u care through action

  • lara November 12, 2008 03:26 am

    you dont see poverty in the frist pic and so on cuz you dont want to see it

  • Khalil Dawood November 8, 2008 04:58 am

    let's try to change ! not just to say that those pictures are really bad ............. this is the most important point here.

  • manisha November 7, 2008 02:48 pm

    its too touching every picture is real and it makes my heart melt down

  • mehmet November 5, 2008 02:29 am

    I guess it would depend who is looking at it, each person will see something or feel something different, maybe that is what makes them beautiful.

  • cheritycall October 27, 2008 06:14 pm

    How are you?, Give something for help those hungry people from Africa or India,
    I added this blog about them:
    in http://tinyurl.com/5qlbzs

  • MiMi October 26, 2008 07:00 am

    I got two messages from your images; there is raw pain in poverty and there is always hope!

  • choen October 25, 2008 05:00 pm

    how large a photo can make changes ... friend. images of poverty are often only consumption, not a change of ideas

  • Soul Economy October 23, 2008 06:48 pm

    Torn - great photos but disturbing at the same time.

  • Clindy October 21, 2008 02:45 pm

    The subject of poverty and overpopulation in the Philippines- my country of birth is a subject that I have been writing with passion on my recent blogs. The pictures on this blog really touch my heart, since I believe, the time that you have really live is the time when you have touch the lives of others..

  • Joey Rico October 21, 2008 11:39 am

    here's another one:


  • aristarkhos October 20, 2008 05:42 pm

    These are powerful images. So saddening yet the children look so happy in some. Some say that these are images that people don't see...images that we do not come across in our everyday lives. How wrong that is...there is poverty everywhere in this world. We, as the "privileged" ones, are just used to blank out who we come across even when we walk down or drive down the street to buy groceries.
    I only hope Blog Action Day makes a bit of a difference. Anything to keep the ball rolling towards equality in our standard of living and thinking.

  • sharon October 19, 2008 05:11 am

    Extremely powerful and honest images that remind us the number of poor are increasing and today getting closer to each of our homes. There's not a single adult American who has not walked past an impoverished person. This is staggering.

    I am wandering around the blogs feeling the unification and linked into a beautifully simple solution I found on a young girl's blog. I lost her link, but am carrying on the message of "The Girl Effect"...

    wiser now...

  • Don LeBaron October 19, 2008 03:07 am

    Great photos, great subject. Now what are the answers. Look at all the efforts to alleviate poverty and what are the present results. Not a real solution but at the moment I am appalled at government and corporate theft. What has allowed this monster to exist that CREATES POVERTY!!!

  • jun madayag October 18, 2008 11:10 am

    Wow great images. I have one to share.


  • matt October 17, 2008 08:20 pm

    Redundancies at work and in surrounding industries are happening at a rapidly increasing rate (as of today my partner is now 'unemployed'), the financial world is crumbling around us, and we haven't seen a proper depression since right after WW2. I can't even begin to think of what a society must be like where a significant portion of it turns to food vouchers just so they can put a meal on a table.

    Not sure about anyone else but the images here make me think about it.... it's not a political forum this, but it sure as hell makes you think like any good image should....

  • Clare October 17, 2008 09:01 am

    I love your pictures-- I am particularly happy that you chose some shots which were joyful. Too often poverty is depicted as the negative (with sad faces, dirty bodys, etc). We forget the humanity... that these people live lives and experience a wide range of emotion and experiences.

  • d4n131m3j14 October 17, 2008 07:12 am

    HDR sux (when not used properly, which is almost always). The guy ath the memorial wall has an ipod. Some are good, but they are a few.

  • Boots October 17, 2008 03:14 am

    What a powerful group of pictures.

    Thanks for sharing.


  • Allison @ Entry Level Living October 16, 2008 11:20 pm

    One of the last pics looks like it's from the NYC subway...is it?

  • Karen Kitchel October 16, 2008 06:35 am

    Another step taken to end poverty! Thank you.

  • Miguel Wickert October 16, 2008 02:27 am

    These photos are touching... sorry at a lost for words. :(

  • kouji haiku October 16, 2008 01:00 am

    i too live in the philippines. indeed, we see much poverty everyday unfortunately. these are some striking shots.

    for my part, i turn to sites like freerice, kiva, and goodsearch, as ways to help alleviate poverty online.

    saw this post via the front page of blog action day. it's great that you're participating. :)

  • michael | buttons of hope October 16, 2008 12:45 am

    Unbelievable striking poignant, thank for you speaking with your camera. I hopee you'll check out my BAD 08 posthttp://www.behindthebutton.com/2008/10/end-poverty-end-poverty-end-poverty-end-poverty-end-poverty.html

  • Chayrl October 15, 2008 11:35 pm

    The photos are touching and stunning! Beautiful? I guess it would depend who is looking at it, each person will see something or feel something different, maybe that is what makes them beautiful.

  • Mike Panic October 15, 2008 11:20 pm

    As stated yesterday, here's my Blog Action Day, Poverty in Photos: http://www.randomn3ss.com/2008/10/15/blog-action-day-poverty-in-photos/

  • irtiza October 15, 2008 05:55 pm

    hi, very nice pics. some of the pics have really touched me. i liked the kid with the dog most.


    p.s. i've written a post on blogactionday to.

  • GSIK October 15, 2008 02:13 pm

    Very striking images... great selection!

    I too used some images from "Carf" in my video for "bad08":


  • DB October 15, 2008 01:59 pm

    Thank you.

  • Jennae @ Green Your Decor October 15, 2008 01:16 pm

    These are some exceptionally powerful images. They show a side of the world that so many people don't get to see up close. And for some people, poverty hits closer to home than many of us think. Thanks for helping to put it in the forefront with these images.

  • lilalia October 15, 2008 11:57 am

    Poignant, disturbing, uplifting, and introspective... thank you for presenting your images.

  • Joey Rico October 15, 2008 11:52 am

    i live here in the philippines and you could see all those poor people around!!!!




  • c wylie October 15, 2008 11:06 am

    makes me thankful. you can almost smell these photos.

  • Sime October 15, 2008 08:08 am

    Nice post Darren... Lots of poverty everywhere, sad times... I've asked myself this many times "what can one person do?"


  • Vanessa October 15, 2008 07:42 am

    God help us. If you've never been poor or homeless I guess this would be beautiful. It isn't. Oh, very talented photographers.

  • Joe October 15, 2008 07:01 am


  • Alrady October 15, 2008 06:51 am

    One other note.. I notice many are happy or smiling. That reminds me of an article on 20/20 (I think) it was about how people in one third world country are genuinely more happy than any other country in world. just musing outloud

  • Alrady October 15, 2008 06:42 am

    Wow some great photos there. AGAIN the black and white photos seem to convey more and seem more powerful to me. Pungent?

    I woudl love to see a desolate picture of building... imagining what happened to occupents.

  • Darren October 15, 2008 06:26 am

    Thanks all for your comments. Part of my hope with this series of images was to get people talking - I think that's part of the point of Blog Action Day. Some of the themes discussed in this thread are important and I appreciate your time in commenting.

    Lara and Mike Pnic - actually today is Blog Action Day, I live in Australia and we are a little ahead of the rest of the world :-)

    Stephen - as I said in the post, click the photos to see the story behind the photos. Just because someone is smiling or doesn't look in poverty doesn't mean that they are. That's actually why I used some of the images that I did, because sometimes poverty is hidden.

    The other reason I chose the images in this selection was because some of the 'beautiful' shots actually reflected some of my own experience of poverty when living in the Third World doing aid work - ie I found that in the midst of extremely desperate situations there was at times surprising things like beauty, hope, faith and community.

    I also like some of these images (especially those by Carf) because I think they give the people being photographed dignity by showing them not as desperate people but showing their beauty.

    living in poverty - I am sorry to hear that. Poverty is a world wide thing, some of the shots above depict the problem in your country too. It's also evident in mine and I only hope that this post shines a little light on a problem that we all should be working to eliminate.

    Travis - as I've said above, I chose these images for a number of reasons - a mix of shots of people shown in desperation as well as shown with dignity, illustrating their humanness and the 'hidden' nature of poverty.

    I guess also I partly chose those that I did because this is a photography site and I wanted to show good shots - the work of good photographers doing something worthwhile in their photography.

  • MADz October 15, 2008 04:55 am

    Great pictures, full of life and pain

  • Gridskipper October 15, 2008 04:50 am

    I agree with Stephen...there are at least a few that don't show poverty.

    @ collective lens...i agree with you as well, but wasn't that the point of the post?

  • millied917 October 15, 2008 04:49 am

    I love the expectant mother and child. There is love, innocence, and a sense of sharing in the image.

  • Travis October 15, 2008 04:46 am

    Alice: It's a lie. It's a bunch of sad strangers photographed beautifully, and... all the glittering assholes who appreciate art say it's beautiful 'cause that's what they wanna see. But the people in the photos are sad, and alone... But the pictures make the world seem beautiful, so... the exhibition is reassuring which makes it a lie, and everyone loves a big fat lie.

    From the movie Closer.

  • David B Katague October 15, 2008 04:46 am

    The subject of poverty and overpopulation in the Philippines- my country of birth is a subject that I have been writing with passion on my recent blogs. The pictures on this blog really touch my heart, since I believe, the time that you have really live is the time when you have touch the lives of others..

  • Collective Lens October 15, 2008 04:25 am

    Just because you can't see poverty doesn't mean it's not there. The smiling faces of children hide it well.

  • Akshay October 15, 2008 03:55 am

    Quite brilliant photographs.


  • Karl October 15, 2008 03:22 am

    these are some stunning images.. makes you wonder how our world got into this dreadful condition in the first place.

  • living in poverty October 15, 2008 03:10 am

    Do you'll feel good and guilty now? Spare me the one day a year angst-fest.
    Living in poverty in America

  • Mike Panic October 15, 2008 02:15 am

    You're a day early, but I've been building a very similar post for the last week that will be published tomorrow morning, and it looks like we are share at least one common image.

  • Henrik October 15, 2008 02:05 am

    Wow! Very realistic shots! Excellent work!

  • stephen October 15, 2008 01:52 am

    eric...this is a photo site... not a political site.

    On a side note, a lot of these images don't really show poverty at all. I can't see poverty in the first and third images, and so on.

  • jgodsey October 15, 2008 01:09 am

    do you get a homeless or poor person to sign a release
    and what if they don't speak english?
    what do you do when they say no? don't they feel you are exploiting them?

  • Lara October 15, 2008 12:36 am

    Actually, I'm pretty sure TOMORROW is Blog Action Day! :)

  • Eric October 15, 2008 12:36 am

    These folks could use a bailout. Oh wait bailouts are only for rich corporate fascists