The Invisible

“I’m often stopped by homeless people who ask me to take their photo.

When I ask "why?" Almost all of them give the same answer, so they are remembered.”

What is ‘The Invisible’?

‘The Invisible’ documents those living rough on the streets, in parks, or anywhere outdoors that is not considered to be a traditional house or home.

The idea came about as a result of a photograph posted by Sean Tucker on Instagram and one of the comments left on it. That comment is the one I used beside the image at the top of this page.

The project began in January 2019, with an initial aim of adding at least one person each month during the year.

Why?

I think we all want to leave something behind, to be remembered in some way. For many that may be through our children, our friends and relatives, the work we’ve done, the art (whatever ‘art’ is to you) that we’ve made or the inheritance we leave for others. We are ‘visible’ and hope to remain so in the memories of others even after we have gone.

For the homeless it is more difficult. They may have no family or be estranged from that they do have. Work is difficult to get and is frequently temporary and low paid. Friends are fleeting and often in equally difficult circumstances. Creating a legacy to be remembered by is not a priority when you are worried about where to sleep or what you will eat that day. You feel invisible to a world that walks past blind to your existence, that doesn’t care and just does not want to know.

So for those who agreed to be photographed and were happy to talk to me, the following images may be their only legacy, the only tangible way that they are remembered and visible.

These are real people with real feelings, real worries, hopes and aspirations. Few are homeless by choice. They have a story to tell. They are there through circumstances often beyond their control. You, me, any of us could so easily be in their shoes.

UK Government’s Austerity Policies

I couldn’t do this project without mentioning the impact of the UK Government’s austerity measures since the financial crash. Here is not the place for a discussion about the rights and wrongs of austerity but there is plenty of evidence to suggest that those measures contributed to the rise in homelessness and attendance at food banks.

Outcomes

This is the first time I have embarked on a project such as this; I have a lot to learn. I’m not totally sure how achievable the project is or the outcomes are, but I would like:

  1. At least twelve people to feel that somebody is interested in them and their story. That they are not invisible and will be remembered in some small way

  2. To raise awareness of homelessness and the impact it has on those affected

  3. Perhaps an exhibition of the photographs taken if they are good enough and somewhere will host them

  4. Maybe a self-published book using blurb or similar, any profits to be donated to a homeless charity

Want to help the homeless?

If you would like to help, please consider making a donation to a charity in your country, or to one of these in the UK:

Crisis

Shelter

The Peoples Kitchen

St Mungos

CentrePoint


Suggestions

If you’ve any suggestions about this project fill in the form and click ‘send’.

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