Artefact – Under-Represented Groups – Homelessness

When I saw this task I knew exactly what I was going to do. As I always was interested in this subject, I decided to focus on homelessness and how homeless people are neglected by society. For most people, when they hear about this topic or walk by a homeless person, their first reaction is to judge them, as they do with everything else. They look at them thinking – “brilliant, another person asking for money”, but they never ask themselves, let alone ask the homeless person that they walk by, what happened with them that they ended up that way, what’s their story ? Everyone is asking why don’t they get a job, when everyone knows it is hard to get one when a diploma, let alone without one and everyone is looking down at them, like they are a different species, when the fact is that they are people just like us, but whose story didn’t had a happy beginning and in most cases won’t have a happy ending.  I myself did the same thing when photographing John, a guy that sleeps on the stairs of a building near the place I live. The first thing that I did when I took the photograph of him, was to take it standing up and looking down at him and after seeing that photo I realized that this is the way everybody sees him.

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The biggest problem is that if you go online and type the word ‘homeless’ you’ll find thousands of images of homeless people and articles about the number of homeless people growing, about them being a problem to society and even a few pages created to help them and all of this is virtual, no one is doing anything in reality, to help them. At first everybody was just looking down at them, then they became a problem to the society and everyday they become more and more neglected, because people don’t do anything to help them, but they are wondering why are there so many.

Inspired by the work of Corinne Vionnet, Photo Opportunities, where she put together images of well-known monuments  taken by tourists, to create one image, I decided to create a series in which to show how we are neglecting these homeless people and how we ignore them day by day until we will end up forgetting about their existence. I was inspired more by the technique used by Corinne Vionnet, so I looked up on the internet at the photos of homeless people and how they are represented and on the same page of images with homeless people there were a few images with business people and then I imagined how I would do the final images and how they would look.

So I created a series of three photographs by taking images from the internet and putting them together, that show how homeless people are neglected by the society more and more everyday, ending up one day, with the society forgetting about their existence. 1

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Human Presence – Displaying the images

For exhibiting the final images I was thinking of making a frame out of newspapers. I choose this way for an exhibition mainly because of the theme/idea. Through my research that in many stories, movies the spirits are showing their presence through writing and this is not available only for spirits, writing itself is a sign of human presence. So, as I choose to represent through my final photograph, the spirit/soul of the living, I thought that a frame made out of newspapers will support the idea/message. Each frame is different, just like the images, their color and their size, because as I already said, I want to represent the spirit of the living and each person/soul is different in their own way/unique.  Also, I would want the photos exhibited on a white wall, at a distance of  half a meter from each other as each one of them is different and unique.

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Task 3 – Final Images

John has been living in the same place for the past nine years. Everyday during the day he stays near Tesco and his “home” is across the street. He sleeps on the stairs of an abandoned building. Everyone knows him, he is always there in the same place, but now for the past two days, he wasn’t there anymore. First, I thought that maybe he went somewhere else and he will be back in the next hour, but every time I went back to look for him, he still wasn’t there. To be honest, I got worried a little, because knowing that everyday he is there, all day, I thought that something must have happened to him. Then, yesterday evening I saw him there, again – he was in the hospital, he got beaten by some guys. So I asked him if he’s been to the police, but he said that he didn’t, that he never does. I asked him: “What do you mean by you never do?” and the he said: ” It happened to me before and I didn’t talked to the police. They set me on fire. (he showed me the scars). There were a couple of drunk guys. It’s because I’m homeless. ”

As I decided to represent him through this series of four photographs, I knew exactly how my photographs were going to be. I wanted to take three portraits of him, at three different times of the day, to show that he is there, in the same place, everyday from morning, until night and I also decided that I will use the natural light to show this, because it was the best way – the light in the morning differs a lot from the light in the afternoon and from the light in the evening, most of the time you can tell the difference, so I thought that I would use the light in such way to support my idea. I took one photo in the morning at 9 am, because that’s when he usually gets there, from his right side, so I would be able to catch the morning light too. I took the next photo one hour later, which is a portrait of him, of what he looks like, hiding his eyes behind that beanie hat, as always. The last portrait of him was taken at 7 pm, from his left side, in order to catch the evening light and I took the photo at 7 pm, because that’s when he usually leaves. Also, I have choose to take the third photo when it was cloudy, to show that even though it starts with a sunny day, at the end of the day nothing has changed and he goes back to his “bedroom”.  The last photo is the portrait of his “object”, his “bedroom”, the only thing that he has, the place where he sleeps and where he keeps his few clothes and a blanket. I choose to have this light beam in the final photo, in order to tell the viewer that this image is an image of his bedroom and I wanted to portray it just as a real one in which the lights are turned off and the door is slightly opened, so that a small amount of light would go in.

 

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Task 3 – Lee Jeffries

Another photographer that is shocking us with his photographs that are revealing the human face of addiction, the hardship of the homelessness and literally the real face of poverty.

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His photographs are extremely shocking – from showing the eyes of a person that not only doesn’t have a roof over his head, but can’t live without drugs of alcohol, to showing the desperate eyes of someone that is starving, cold, lonely and can’t take it anymore.

Not only the faces of these people that are making these photos so dramatic, but the fact that the photographer choose to take the portraits black and white makes it more than dramatic and is shocking the viewer, leaving a mark. Also, nothing could tell more about a person than their eyes and their faces etched with deep lines and the details in these photographs, couldn’t tell the story better.

 

 

 

 

Task 3 – David Hoffman

While thinking and documenting myself about how I am going to create this representation in four images, I came across David Hoffman’s work, documenting the life of the homeless.

He, as a photographer, is focusing more on the social issues and on how the decisions of the government are affecting our lives.

His project, Homeless, is about these people doing their best to survive on the streets of London where support services and hostel rooms have been destroyed by successive governments more interested in posturing than caring.

I found it really interesting and kind of shocking, because when we’re outside, walking and pass by them, we see them there, but we don’t actually see them struggling to survive, we just see another man asking for money, but the question “What happened with them that they ended up this way? ” never pops up.

Through this project, David Hoffman, managed to show us what most of us don’t notice and will never notice.

Homeless man sleeps in the street as businessmen pass

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Task 3 – Idea

For this task we have to create a photographic portrait series to represent one person in four images, so I decided that I will photograph John, a homeless guy, that for the past nine years has been living in the same place. I choose to represent him through this series of photographs, because he didn’t had a easy life, you can see it in his eyes, just by looking at his face, that he’s been through a lot – even if he would now be well-dressed and not living on the streets anymore you could tell from the first look.