The best portrait photography is about connection; it’s about breaking through social and cultural barriers that divide us and searching for something universally human within another’s eyes. And yet, we are surrounded by photographs of homeless people that portray them as less than human; too often, they are shot without dignity or respect. These images fail to recognize the homeless as individuals with stories as complex and unknowable as our own.
When the photographer Rosie Holtom volunteered at London’s Shelter from the Storm, she found that the homeless people she worked with were mostly individuals who were put in horrific situations despite their best efforts; many homeless people are in fact victims of sex trafficking. Holtom felt that “the misery photography [of the homeless] we get bombarded with” degrades and inaccurately represents the homeless, so she set out to change the way the public views and empathizes with them.
In her incredible series of black and white portraits, the photographer reveals the respectability and individual strength of character present in her homeless sitters. In lighting, framing, and printed tones akin to those found in editorial or celebrity portraiture, each image captures the humanity within a homeless individual, reminding us that these human beings defy stereotype and stigma.
Thanks to My Modern Met and Lost At E Minor
Images via My Modern Met
The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.