Anthony Luvera

The artist that would be most fitting to start off my proper research into looking at the homeless has to be Anthony Luvera with his work with the homeless. What started off with the Homeless charity “Crisis” asking him to take photographs of the homeless, Anthony recognised a problem with this due to how to represent these people without disempowering them.
Straight away, he wanted to move away from the generic shots seen on Google that I have previously talked about. However, at this stage he thought it would be wrong to take the images so he ignored the project.

However, it wasn’t long after that he went back to Crisis. But rather then taking photos, he introduced photography to those there and began teaching them on how to use the cameras in what began turning into regular sessions. He even gave them disposable cameras to take pictures of whatever took their fancy.
To me, what these sessions did was actually give something back to those that have lost a lot; for someone to come in and treat them like a normal person, it really begins to give them back their identity.

This was just the beginning of a much larger project, in which be began to teach the homeless on how to use a 5×4 camera, cable release and flash in which this was the best way for him to create assisted self-portraits. From this, he travelled to Belfast to continue his research and started work in homeless centres. Luvera began to spend a vast amount of time with his subjects to get to know them better. Again, this was a method of making them human again and giving them back their identity that they had lost; he recognised them as people and wanted to know them for who they were. ITaking a more anthropological approach, he began to invest a huge amount of back story into his images; asking his to “take me to a place they found interesting, memorable or significant in some way.” (Luvera, 2011)

2[1] (Luvera, 2008)

Yet the process of making the homeless feel part of the community again didn’t stop there at all. Luvera wanted his subjects to have an active role in the image making; he wanted to ” blur distinctions between the participant as a ‘subject’ and myself as the ‘photographer’ during the photographic sitting.” (Luvera, 2011)

With the stereotypical photographs of the homeless, we tend to shoot first and ask questions later. The portrayal we make is never usually right, but rather what society wants to see. So the images we make are the wrong truth. By allowing the subject to take the picture, it brings out the truth of how they want to be shown. It is a level of trust being displayed in Luvera’s work that we tend to ignore and forget about.

13[2] (Luvera, 2008)

What I find interesting about all of this work is that everything is a fair representation of these people. They regain their identity through speaking with Luvera and telling him their story; something they rarely do to people outside their group. In these pictures, they show off their identity that they have.
This is the type of approach I want to take in my own work. However, I am more interested in the objects that represent the lost identity. I feel like this is something different that hasn’t really been done before, but it offers a stark truth that the homeless have had previous identities.

Luvera, A. (2008). Caroline McDonnell/Anthony Luvera, Assisted Self-Portrait of Caroline McDonnell, Residency, 2006–2008.. [image] Available at: [Accessed 2 Mar. 2015]. [1]

Luvera, A. (2008). Sean McAuley/Anthony Luvera, Assisted Self-Portrait of Sean McAuley, Residency, 2006–2008.. [image] Available at: [Accessed 2 Mar. 2015]. [2]

Luvera, A. (2011). Residency (2006-2011) – Anthony Luvera. [online] Anthony Luvera. Available at: [Accessed 2 Mar. 2015].

Luvera, A. (2010). Residency – Anthony Luvera. [online] Anthony Luvera. Available at: [Accessed 2 Mar. 2015].


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