When I made application to the Festival of Arts for the 2016 show, I set an intention to open a conversation about homelessness. Within the conversation was the hope that my imagery would express the humanity within each photograph, that the people without homes were in fact, people just like the ‘rest’ of us … simply without shelter and resources. Their faces remind me that it could happen to any of us and at almost any moment.
I shared with words the story of my own son, his homelessness and his spiral into schizophrenia. Along with homelessness, we all struggle with how to approach mental illnesses, and in my case, I often feel useless to conjure a solution.
The response to my work and words has superseded anything I might have expected. One woman burst into tears, said not one word, but came and put her arms around me. A gentleman shared that his two sons have been in and out of homelessness and was grateful that I had shared my images. A young man revealed that he struggles with mental issues. Each and every one thanked me for sharing the pictures. It is as if I have given permission to speak …
I’d like to share some of the early comments in my guest book:
“You move mountains with your work. Thank you.” –Laurie
“Your touching story changed my outlook on the homeless. Blessed. Thank you.” –T.T.
“Wonderful. The America we see but ignore. We are all one breath. One heartbeat away from being the exact way your pictures show.” –Carol
“My mother was the highest paid street singer in San Francisco. Her home was the Bart Street Station or the cold streets. Thank you so much for conveying the humanity that is so often overlooked or judged by society.” –Miranda
“Thank you for your heart’s mission and putting them here. I find these to be the strongest piecest of art and storytelling.” –Jana
“You have such strength and heart. What you are doing is so important.” –Katie
Briefly, thanks to everyone who has stopped to visit my work and take the time to comment. I appreciate each and every kind word. I will post more of your responses as the show moves through August.