publicart fineart

Naming the Homeless
1998

This is a project in which 28 homeless people had their pictures taken where they lived or liked to hang out and again after they had been made over to look like fashion models. There was no satire intended. Rather, the idea was to show these people at their peak. Further, I felt it would be so much easier for the rest of us to care about people, and harder to forget them, once we knew their names.

I still believe that, but I have now also to consider the view from the other side. Lawrence Green, the first model who called me after his case worker told him about the project, was upset by the idea that his name might be linked to homelessness indefinitely. "What happens after I get a job?" he wanted to know. "I'll write 'Happily Employed'," I promised. But that was a flip answer. These peoples' lives are fluid, while the pictures capture and keep a 60th of a second or less. Still, these pictures compare and contrast the documented life to the invented one - the one that might be.

Download Full Statement