Who Are The Homeless?
We come across the homeless on our street corners, outside grocery stores, under bridges and in the parks. Most of us try to avoid an encounter and walk past a bit faster than we had walked before. If we have a thought, it is one of disgust or sympathy, or perhaps we remain absorbed in our own world. What we do not see in such moments is what brought us to meet that person under that bridge, at that street corner, and how much we may have in common.
I was trained as a chemical engineer and retired from a career in the petroleum industry. In my retirement years, through study of Jungian psychology, I have been encountering myself and the world in new, unanticipated ways. Photography and homeless people have become part of this. I began photographing the homeless in a quest to capture aspects of personal and cultural shadow. At the outset I saw them as the detritus of society, rejected, downtrodden and unable to function successfully on their own. The homeless have changed me. Their compassion, their intelligence, their hope and courage, their sincerity and dignity - these exploded my stereotype of who the homeless are and shifted my view of who I am.
It is my hope that these images can begin to break down the prejudice and discrimination against homelessness that is so common in our society.
These portraits, which now number over 300, were taken of clients at The Beacon, a homeless center operated by Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Houston. All subjects were willing participants and were offered prints of their images.