I have photographed Houston’s homeless community for over 12 years, and more specifically the homeless men and women who live on the streets and under the bridges in downtown. In 2005, I joined HomeAid Houston as a photographer and writer. HomeAid is a 501 c 3 charity of the Greater Houston Builders Association. They build transitional housing for the homeless. There, I continued my photography, but as I engaged on a more personal level with the residents in the shelters we built, I was privileged to hear their stories and to appreciate their struggles on a deeper level.
This was a new perspective for me. I began to wonder what life looked like through the lens of someone who actually was homeless.
At the end of 2012, I met with several shelters in the Houston area and asked if their clients would be willing to use disposable cameras to document their daily life living as a homeless person. The subjects of the photos could be anything – from what a client sees everyday while living on the street, to those objects or things that might be important to them, to something that they might aspire to have, or be one day. It was a creative project in their hands, and it is called Picture This.
The shelters and their clients were happy to oblige. The photos that came back were amazing. From funny to heartbreaking, to inspiring to intimate, each photo is special because it tells a part of their personal story, through their eyes, through their lens.
The perspective brought by Picture This is unfiltered. It is new and impactful. It is very easy to get lost in the details of homelessness, in the statistics: numbers of people, beds, shelters, dollars it takes to create those new shelters and beds. With Picture This, my hope is that these photos remind us that behind the word “homeless”, behind all the statistics, there are real people, with names and with faces. They are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends, children, babies, veterans. They are people like any one of us, they just have no place to call home.
MARCH 15 – JUNE 6
Support Picture This Project’s “This is Life”
Invite your friends to our next exhibit, THIS IS LIFE by Ken Hoge, Owen Fisher, and Terry Swenson’s PICTURE THIS Project with an intimate look through photos taken by homeless individuals.
Open your calendars and plug in our upcoming show: “This is Life”
The Exhibit will be held at Houston’s Art Car Museum.
Join us for special OPENING on March 15th from 7 – 10 p.m.
Art Car Museum hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Admission is always free.
APRIL 28t – June 6th
Spread the Word for our Veterans Exclusive Photo Exhibit
The Homeless U.S. Veterans’ Exhibit will be on view at the Houston Public Library, Downtown, 500 McKinney. This special homeless Veteran exhibit will be presented for a limited time; so don’t miss your chance to experience the intimate images taken by loyal Vets who are struggling with homelessness.
Visit “>http://www.houstonlibrary.org/ for Library hours of operation and directions. Admission to the exhibit is FREE.
07 Feb 2014The Cold Streets of Houston’s Homeless
This winter, across our great nation, many of us have been affected by ice gripping the pavements and whipping winds tearing through our clothes. In Houston, approximately 4,000 men, women and children are homeless, living in the streets and forced to endure the harsh weather with little clothing and barely any food. Especially during this time of year, an unsheltered person is lucky to have a blanket.
Picture This: As the temperature drops below freezing, imagine sleeping on a cold, wet sidewalk, wrapped in whatever you were lucky enough to find.
Homeless Warning Advisories and Emergency Tactics
When we receive winter warning advisories alerting us about below zero temperatures, we need to consider our homeless, unsheltered citizens as an Emergency Crisis situation that requires our immediate help. How many blankets do you have stuffed in a closet that you aren’t using anymore? Please grab them, put them in your car and drive to a nearby shelter and donate them. Trust me…shelters can use every, single blanket right now.
Outreach efforts are needed from volunteers in every area of H-Town, so please make the time and call a shelter or food pantry and lend a hand to your unsheltered neighbor.
Join Picture This at our upcoming events:
March – Support Picture This Project’s “This is Life”
Invite your friends to our next exhibit, “This is the Life” by Ken Hoge, Owen Fisher, and Terry Swenson’s PICTURE THIS Project with photos taken by homeless individuals. Open your calendars and plug in our upcoming show: “This is Life” will run March 15– June 6 at the Art Car Museum. The exhibit is for FotoFest and the Museum will be hosting a special OPENING on March 15th from 7 – 10 p.m. Art Car Museum hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Admission is always free.
April – Spread the Word for our Veterans Exclusive Exhibit
For a limited time, the Homeless U.S. Veterans’ Exhibit will be on view April 28th through June 6th at the Houston Public Library, at Downtown 500 McKinney. This special homeless Veteran exhibit will be presented for a limited time; so don’t miss your chance to experience the intimate images taken by loyal Vets who are struggling with homelessness. Visit http://www.houstonlibrary.org/ for Library hours of operation and directions. Admission to the exhibit is FREE.
05 Oct 2013Homeless U.S. Veterans Take Pictures Documenting Their Experiences
Veterans working to get off the streets or move out of deep poverty, were given disposable cameras with the help of U.S. Veteran’s Initiative and the De George at Union Station, to photograph images that tell their personal story of struggle. The photos are debuting on October 8th through December 6th at 1111 Bagby in the lobby of the Heritage Plaza Building. The display is being presented by Arts Brookfield 25.
The Picture This U.S. Veteran’s project is designed to educate the public on what homeless and deeply poor veteran men, women and their families see, what is important to them and what their challenges are. Many of these photographers are living on the streets and under bridges, while several are being temporarily housed through the agencies. U.S. Vets Initiative reports that there are between 225,000 to 250,000 homeless veterans on the streets of the U.S. every night.
Picture This is underwritten by HomeAid Houston, a Greater Houston Builders Association charity. The exhibit is free of charge and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Picture This at Heritage Plaza is part of Arts Brookfield, a program of Brookfield Office Properties that presents exciting, world-class cultural experiences to thousands of people for free each year in both indoor and outdoor public spaces at Brookfield Office Properties’ premier buildings in New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Houston, Toronto, Perth and Sydney.
08 Jul 2013PHOENICIA HOSTS PICTURE THIS EXHIBIT
Good news keeps coming our way! Picture This is now on display at the hot new venue, Phoenicia Specialty Foods in Discovery Green at 1001 Austin, downtown Houston through September 22nd. This is a unique opportunity for us to share the incredible photographs taken by SEARCH Homeless Services’ clients. The venue provides a more intimate space to enjoy the ambiance created by Phoenicia while guests can view the photos at their leisure.
15 May 2013CW39 News Interview At New Location Debut
08 May 2013New Exhibit Location – 1600 Smith Street
29 Apr 2013NPR Interview About Picture This
Houston’s local NPR station KUHF interviewed me about Picture This at the City Hall exhibit. Listen here: http://app1.kuhf.org/articles/1366987252-Exhibit-Shows-The-World-Through-The-Eyes-Of-The-Citys-Homeless.html
The Picture This Journey
Before working with HomeAid Houston, a 501 c 3 charity that builds transitional housing for Houston’s homeless, I photographed homeless individuals in and around downtown Houston. It is hard not to be touched by the people you see sleeping on the sidewalks or begging for money or food. Their faces inspired me to try and capture a moment in their lives through a photograph. When you study their faces, you understand there is a story there, one that you’ll probably never hear. Below are a few of those pictures.
The Picture This Journey would not be possible without the following contributors:
For information contact:
Creator of Picture This Project
9511 West Sam Houston Parkway North
Houston, TX 77064
Please submit questions or comments below: