So how does my work fit in with the current work out there, and who is the audience that I am putting my work to? Has it been carefully considered, or has it been randomly put together with no thought at all?
Firstly, I would think that my work is different from the other work that surrounds the homeless in the photographic community. The majority of people will focus on portraiture to represent them, and whilst I do understand why it is popular, it doesn’t work with what I want to do with my work.
My work is based on the identity of the homeless and the relationship they have with not only themselves, but with everyone else as well. Within my images, I am trying to address the fact there is more to their identity then being homeless. Their whole identity is complex in which homelessness is part of it, yet they have other identities for us to remember as well.
In my work, I have addressed these other identities through the memories they have told me when I have had a one to one conversation with them and treating them like anyone else. And from what I am told, I have gone out to recreate some of the key moments as a way of putting an image to what is being said, so that we can understand it all a little bit better.
It would be naïve for me as a photographer to say that the images can give them back their identity. There is only so much the images can do to evoke a reaction; we have to speak to the individuals, open our minds etc. This project is a tool in order to show that there is more than what meets the eye to each person, and that in the future we could be like that. We have to remember the identities that we all have and why they are so important to us.
What is interesting to note though is that everyone is going through a transitional stage: home to homeless, homeless to a future, or to hope for the future. All part from the second Gary (the one that used heroin). He isn’t homeless at the minute, but rather he has found his home as he has accepted his life and isn’t doing much to change it at the minute.
So who is my audience too then? I would say that the audience is anyone who walks the homeless and judges them for what they are doing, as I want this project to make them stop and think for a moment so that they can reconsider. At the same time, I also want this project to be something that the homeless can see somewhere and remember who they are exactly and to not loose that part of them at all.
I think each image has been carefully considered and made in a way that doesn’t give a negative connotation of the past identity, but rather links into the positive of themselves and the possible future as well. Like I stated at the beginning of the project, I wanted to move away from all the negative connotations homelessness is given through imagery, and wanted to produce something more positive.
To some, they may see the images negative regardless, but I think in combination with the text that I would provide as well as the audio, they would begin to see that each image has a silver lining to it in showing the good side of life.
However, there are a few things that, if given more time, I would like to further on with. Firstly, I would like to speak to a bigger range of people. As part of my interviews I went to a Soup Kitchen that is held every Monday night, and it was a change to speak and see how everyone interacted with each other. I think there is potential there to look more into nights and talking to each individual there to get their story, and look at the identity they have.
And I think as well as being a photography project, it has the chance of being produced in a video format as well in a documentary style almost. Social media tends to show the negative side of homelessness, and while photographers do try to bring it out in a more positive light, there is a lot more work to be done to rise up this issue.