So after my interviews, I decided to talk with my lecturer based on the feedback I had received. I was told that so far, even though I had interesting stories coming out, it seemed like the questions weren’t following on the theme of giving a fair representation. So far all of my questions seemed to always have negative connotations about them (e.g. what led to this situation etc). By doing this, it meant that I was going down a path that would only give very specific responses that reduced down the complex identity.
This was the one thing that I wanted to avoid in my work, as these questions sometimes fuel the stereotypical agenda in the media about how we view the homeless. There is nothing bad about being specific, but what I really needed to do was have a much more open approach and look at every aspect in life (such as the good things, what makes their day etc).
However, after speaking and discussing the idea about the types of questions and the narratives being answered, what we narrowed it down to was that I am looking at a very complex identity that needs to be addressed properly.
Through my images, the chances of giving back the subjects their full identity is very slim, which is something that I have accepted. Being homeless is part of the complex identity, but it hasn’t been one that these people have made for themselves; rather it has been an identity forced upon themselves by factors out of their control most of the time.
Obviously it is slightly naive to say that the images can give them back their identity; there is much more we can do as individuals to give it back to them (talking to them, changing our views etc). What I want to show in my images is that there is more than what meets the eye to each person.
So what my approach has to be now is that I re-listen to the interviews that I have conducted (and to have more as well) and focus on the smaller details in their lives. These smaller details are all keys to the previous identities each person has held and is now in the past. By focusing on the objects, I will 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.
What I must stress is that focusing on the objects, I won’t be striving to give a negative image towards these people, nor will I want to give them an overly positive identity. This is because neither one will be right (unless it actually is needed). Rather, I want to give them back the identity that has been forgotten. The identity that they have by society, even legit, is only a small part of them and they deserve to have their other selves being shown as well.