We’re going to show you 13 pictures of a diverse group of people.
And while you’re looking at these photos, we want you to guess which of these people are homeless.
Here they are:
Okay. So. What did you decide.
Is the homeless person the man in a suede blazer, who looks like he could be your high-school science teacher? The young woman who looks like she could be an indie-pop songstress? The woman with an amazing out-of-control afro, who looks like she knows exactly what she wants in life and how to get it?
Here’s the thing, the person in these pictures who currently doesn’t have a roof over their head…..?
It’s all of them.
Every single one of the people in these photographs are living on the streets. They don’t know whether they will have shelter from one night to the next. They don’t know where their next meal is coming from. They don’t know if their situation will have changed by next year. Ort in 5 years time, or in 10 years time.
The photo series is by artist Rosie Holtom, who started volunteering at a homeless shelter in London four years ago called Shelter from the Storm.
Once she started working there, she realised that the portrayal of the homeless population in mainstream media was hopelessly out-of-touch. In an interview with AlterNet she says:
“The more time I spent with them I realized there’s a huge disconnect between all the images we get portrayed to us in the media and the people I was meeting … People present one image of homeless people, and I wanted to challenge that.”
So she asked the individuals at the homeless shelter how they wanted to seen – and then she photographed them. She let them decide how they wanted to dress, pose, and what image they wanted to portray to the world – and then captured that. The photos were then used in a fundraiser for the charity.
The diversity of the final photographs is also representative of the diverse reasons these people found themselves homeless in the first place. Some were young people who had been kicked out of their homes, or fled unsafe living situations. Some were people who had suddenly lost a steady job. Others were women fleeing domestic violence.
Holtom said that her final goal with the project, was to inspire others to “not to judge people, and to understand that times are really tough, especially in big cities at the moment, and homelessness can really happen to anyone.”
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