I bought new shoes,
and I wanted to show them to you.
I bought them from this guy.
His name is Catalino.
He's been living at the North Rosario train station for 20 years.
Here's Catalino giving me his shoes.
I bought them especially for this talk,
because for me, it's a very special occasion,
and I wanted to wear new shoes.
I studied advertising in Buenos Aires.
We were once given an assignment
to go out into the street, change something,
and then observe people's reactions.
So I dressed the way I'm dressed today,
and I went to the Obelisco monument,
and when cars stopped at the light,
instead of asking for money, I gave them one peso.
What did I learn?
I realized how prejudiced people are.
Because as soon as they saw me approaching their car,
they closed the window or looked straight ahead,
pretending nobody was there.
That created an uncomfortable situation,
which would last until the next red light,
when they'd become uncomfortable again, ignoring another person.
Women would usually put their purses in the back seat.
The exercise was a success,
and that's how I got my first job at Agulla y Baccetti.
Later, I worked at Vega Olmos Ponce,
and in 2001, I escaped all the rioting
by going to London with a thousand dollars,
a tourist visa, and speaking no English at all.
I survived one year, I worked washing dishes,
building scaffolding for construction sites,
and installing heating and AC systems.
I returned from London,
having been deported for working illegally and at double the allotted hours,
but it was the best experience of my life.
I returned to work in advertising for two years in a new agency,
until I got an offer from an agency in New York,
which I took without a second thought.
But this time I had a paid apartment across from the Empire State Building,
and a salary of US $60,000 a year.
A completely different experience,
but one that I could really appreciate after London.
Then I met my girlfriend.
Soon after we moved in together,
I got a call from another agency in Austin, Texas,
offering me a job.
I told them, "Listen, I just moved in with my girlfriend a month ago.
I can't accept the offer, she has a job here."
And they said, "We'll give her a job, too."
So we went to Austin for a weekend, we liked the city, and we moved there.
We arrived on a Sunday,
and on Monday we found out she was pregnant.
So we got married; I flew my parents in from Argentina,
and we got married in Puerto Rico, pregnant.
We got married pregnant, but we were really happy.
In 2009 Elena was born. She is the love of my life.
She's the baby in the photo.
When Elena was a year and a half old,
I got a call from my brother.
I was having lunch,
and he told me that my parents had been in a really bad car accident.
He didn't even know how they were,
only that they were in serious condition.
It had happened near Rafaela, coming from Santiago Del Estero.
There was no other news.
Having no other information, I hopped on a plane.
A friend was waiting for me at Ezeiza Airport.
He took me to Rafaela.
And I was met with this.
I learned that my father was in coma.
All of my mom's bones were broken.
My dad was in a coma for 10 months until he died.
My mom was in bed for six months, and had six surgeries.
This was the last time I held my father's hand.
At first, he would listen to me and respond,
but then later, he stopped responding.
So I went back to Austin to work -- I had to keep working.
There was a day, five months before my father died ...
My wife and I had an argument in the morning,
and I left for work, slamming the door.
The next day I was served with divorce papers.
I was left on the street.
I lost my daughter, I lost my house,
and with my parents' situation back in Argentina,
I was completely alone.
I went to stay with a friend, and sleep on his couch.
At that time I was using Instagram, like everyone else,
taking pictures of the sky, a bird, whatever crossed my path.
Until one day I met this man.
I asked if I could take his picture, and paid him a dollar for it.
We started chatting and he told me his story.
And suddenly all my problems became very small compared to his story.
It helped me to appreciate all the things I had,
which were quite a few:
I was healthy, my daughter was healthy,
and I had a couch to sleep on, which is a lot.
Since that day,
I focused on taking portraits of people who lived in the streets.
I found in them the family I lacked, the support I needed.
Their stories made me appreciate everything I had.
I started gaining followers.
I always uploaded a person's picture along with their name,
plus a bit of their story if I found it interesting.
I found in them the family I was missing.
One day I met this guy.
We talked, I took his picture, paid him a dollar.
And before I left, he told me,
"Do you know the only thing I'd like to do before I die?"
I said, "No." And he said, "Oktoberfest!"
He told me he was of German descent,
and he had always dreamed of visiting Germany.
We laughed and I went to work.
And on my way to work --
at that point, I had like 5,000 followers on Instagram --
on my way to work,
I had the idea that if every follower I had donated one dollar,
which is what I paid for each portrait,
I could take this guy to Germany,
and write a book about the experience.
I started dreaming about it.
Without much thinking, I uploaded his picture with the headline:
"Who wants to take this guy to Oktoberfest?"
I opened a Paypal account, I created a site called One Dollar Dreams.
Suddenly, a lady from Japan sent me 100 dollars,
a guy from South Africa sent five,
a guy from the United States sent two ...
I realized I had a good idea, a big idea.
My father died around that time,
and I have a friend who lives in Colombia who said,
"Why don't you come and stay with me?
Forget about your problems for a while."
I bought a ticket using miles, and went to Colombia.
In Colombia, I took pictures.
While my friend was at work, I went out and took pictures,
I listened to stories and wrote down names.
I found a completely different reality from the one in the United States,
like in any other Latin American country.
The reality of the people who live on the streets here is very different.
I met this guy,
who asked me for money to buy shoes.
And since I knew he was going to spend the money on something else,
I went with him to buy them.
Here he is trying on the shoes.
Here he is, happy with his new shoes.
I kept taking pictures until I met --
this is how people sleep in Colombia.
And it's part of the landscape, we don't even notice them.
See how people keep on walking, as if he didn’t exist.
He might as well be another trash can.
Look how close that bus passes by.
I met this guy, whose name is Alex.
Alex was from a small, inland town and moved to Medellin
to play the guitar on buses.
He was addicted to crack cocaine.
One day he went to buy drugs, and when he finished,
they cut him with a knife and stole the drugs,
his guitar, his shoes, everything.
He'd been living on the streets for three days,
his feet were swollen, he couldn't walk.
In his hand he had a card from a rehab center.
He told me he couldn't handle it anymore.
He had asked the police to give him a ride to the center,
but they ignored him.
Then I asked him if he really wanted to quit.
He said it was what he wanted more than anything --
he couldn't take any more.
So we got into a cab and I took him to rehab,
I became his guardian.
Alex was in rehab for ten months until he left and got a job.
I went back to Austin, and the agency sent me to Mexico for a commercial shoot.
After the shoot, I stayed over the weekend with a friend,
and took pictures.
That boy is the first picture I took.
He was painted as a clown, asking for money at the traffic light,
and his parents were at the corner drinking wine and waiting for the money.
This is Mexico. Lots of kids on the streets.
I kept gathering stories and telling them over Instagram.
I gained more followers; people gave me encouragement,
which helped me a lot, personally,
and also because I've always worked in advertising.
I like ideas, I'm passionate about ideas and solving problems,
but I'm not passionate about selling cheese puffs for Monsanto, you know?
So I found in this project something that really filled my life.
I had to go Los Angeles to edit a commercial,
and I had to do it from Wednesday to Thursday.
I didn't have any money, so I spent the weekend on the street.
I spent the weekend sharing the experience live on Instagram.
I took pictures in Los Angeles, and then went back to Austin,
where I found this man.
He was an unemployed chef.
I took him to a store and bought him all kinds of chef equipment,
plus a set of knives.
We went to different restaurants,
and I offered to advertise for them over my social networks,
if they would give him a job.
He got a job at the first place we went.
I was invited to give a speech in Uruguay,
I went 10 days early, and took pictures there.
I took a guy from the street to the conference.
This guy, Sebastián.
And I did the opposite to what I did here today --
I dressed him up like an advertising exec,
complete with a hotel room and new clothes,
so he mixed in with the people attending the festival.
I realized that a person's appearance can have the opposite effect.
If you're well-dressed, no matter if you're alcoholic or homeless,
people respect you.
Then I went to Spain to visit a friend --
it's great to have friends all over the world.
I took pictures in Madrid for 10 days,
and through Instagram a journalist asked me for an interview.
After the interview, she offered to let me use her apartment in Barcelona,
so I stayed there for 10 days, taking pictures.
All this is Spain -- I took lots of pictures in Spain.
After Spain, I was invited to El Salvador to speak,
and I did the same, went 10 days early to take pictures.
For my talk,
I contacted the mother of a guy in the audience without his knowing.
I dressed her as a homeless person, and took pictures of her.
Then when I was showing the photos as I'm doing now,
suddenly this guy's mother appeared on screen, this one.
Nobody knew but him.
Now he will no longer see the homeless the same way.
Why? Because our perspective changes when that person is a loved one.
It changes when we care about them.
And those people on the streets are someone's brothers,
someone's children, someone's mother, all of them.
After that I returned to Austin,
and wanted to do a larger study of the United States,
because I had only looked at Austin and L.A.
I had no money,
and as usual, I took my car and left with thousand dollars,
the same amount of money I had when going to London.
So I set out.
I was on the road for two months; I traveled ten thousand miles.
I went to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver,
Saint Louis, Detroit, New York,
Washington, Atlanta, Miami, Key West,
New Orleans and I returned to Austin.
People opened their homes to me,
they gave me money, food, and a lot of support.
In San Francisco, I invited a homeless guy to come with me,
and we traveled together for a month.
I left him in Key West.
The trip was a success.
And finally, I want to talk about luck.
The importance of luck.
Because we often discriminate against people for their appearance,
but we don't consider that it's all luck.
You are very lucky to be here today, well-dressed, listening to this talk.
Luck is a major factor,
not only in what we get from life,
but also in the decisions we make.
Because that determines how you make decisions later.
For example, this hat that I'm wearing
is the result of an alcoholic and abusive father.
This jacket is my brother, who gave me some glue when I was seven.
That's what it represents.
These shoes that I have on represent never having gone to school.
These shoes from Catalino.
His very painful shoes.
This shirt that I'm wearing.
It's about all the times I was beaten up by friends, by good friends.
And finally, these pants are my mom, who worked as a prostitute
and was never home.
We are all equal, as you can see.
We may have very small differences.
But I always try to be thankful for what I have,
and not concerned for what I lack.
This underwear --
represents being born at Sanatorio Británico,
with the help of first-rate doctors.
That's what this underwear represents.
This shirt represents having gone to a private Marist school,
from preschool to high school.
Martín Jáuregui: Wait, I'll help you. Let's keep applauding, don't you think?
Pachi Tamer: Ironed by my mom.
She ironed it last night. She's here somewhere.
These pants represent starting three different majors,
and the parents who supported me until I found what I liked.
And finally these are my shoes, which I wear every day.
They represent my mom's sacrifices,
because at 74 she keeps working,
so a fucking divorce doesn't leave me on the streets.
These are my shoes.
Thank you all for walking in them for 18 minutes.
Thank you mom. Thank you all.