Homeless photo essay: I challenge you to spot the homeless

Just who are America’s homeless and how do you know who they are?

This morning when I logged into my account on LinkedIn there was a response from a young lady about a street photography lesson I had posted yesterday.

Her comment, while very good, was also inaccurate in one respect. She made some appropriate comments about photographing homeless people and I’ve included her entire comment here:

“Just a thought. My professor in college told us ‘If you’re going to shoot people who are obviously living on the street for your own gain, shouldn’t you give them something in return?’ It may be a great shot, but how would we feel if the roles were reversed? Talk to them and ask permission. Make sure you realize and make it clear that they are doing you a favor.

Yes, I know you can legally photograph anyone in a public area and not need a model release. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be polite and respectful of some one. Ask if there is anything you can do in return. The answer may surprise you.”

One problem with this statement. Notice the word “…obviously…”? Her comment, “…people who are obviously living in the street…” got me to thinking.

A few years ago in Asheville, North Carolina I got to wondering about a photo essay that might drive home the point that any of us – at any time – could become homeless. I wandered the streets for a week or so taking photos of people that I passed. Since I’ve done some volunteer work with the homeless in Asheville I knew right away who was homeless and who wasn’t. Since my face was well known around the homeless community, I had the benefit of built-in trust and was able to point the lens at anyone without confrontation.
The results of this photo essay are in this blog. Of the people shown in the photos, which are “…obviously…” homeless?
To quote the author of the original note on LinkedIn:

“The answer may surprise you.”

To see a slideshow of ALL the photos included in the essay, click here.

16 thoughts on “Homeless photo essay: I challenge you to spot the homeless

  1. I’d be honored. Can you send me an email and let me know EXACTLY what I need to do? I’m leaving for a photo shoot in Argentina Friday and will be in Buenos Aires through the holidays; will that cause a problem?

  2. FYI

    Armando F. Sanchez Production

    Invitation to participate in Q/A segment of upcoming live global podcast November 30, 2012 at 9:00 am PDT. “Improving the Lives of Homeless Children”

    Link to live global podcast: http://tobtr.com/s/4023641
    Date/time: November 30, 2012 at 9:00 am – 10:00 am PDT/12:00 pm – 1:00 pm EST

    To register to be a call in guest, email me your name and phone number. You will be provided with guest call in number. Email to Lsacnational@hotmail.com

    “The Current Status of Homeless Children and Youth”
    “Understanding the Impact of Homelessness on Children”
    “Specific Steps We Can Take To Address the Issue”

    Show guests:

    Barbara Duffield
    Policy Director
    National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth
    Washington, DC

    Melissa Schoonmaker, L.C. S. W.
    Los Angeles County Office of Education
    Homeless Education Consultant
    Child Welfare and Attendance Unit

    Ronald Hallett, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Director, Creating Opportunities Via Education
    Educational Administration and Leadership
    Benerd School of Education
    University of the Pacific

    Jeremy L.W. Burton, J.D.
    Education & Community Services Coordinator
    Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission

    Begin taking calls from listeners: 9:40 am PST/12:40 pm EST

    “Latino Role Model and Success”
    Armando F. Sanchez, Executive Producer and Host, BlogTalkRadio.com

    Email your questions for the guests prior to podcast to:
    Armando F. Sanchez

    Successful persons are leaders and had to overcome many obstacles in order to succeed. Show guests highlight what obstacles we can all encounter. Guests offer practical advice and strategies of how to overcome barriers and achieve.

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