‘Homeowners’ is a body of work that will explore the stories of those who are in the process of escaping homelessness and will seek to present their journeys toward secured housing through photography contributed by themselves. I aim to act within this work as the curator of a shared experience that is defined by the subjects alone, bringing the participatory role that defines socially-engaged photography to the forefront of the work.
I am taking this approach because too many projects that explore this community are often voyeuristic to an extent that is harmful to the people they aim to represent and are incredibly intrusive on the lives of those going through hardship.
I am interested in this subject matter as someone who grew up in a predominantly working-class area, seeing first-hand the effects of austerity, recession, and subsequent poverty on the community around me. I am motivated by the lack of honest, accurate representation of those escaping homelessness in contemporary art. Artists such as Anthony Luvera and Tony Mallon whose work challenges this intrusive notion of documentary photography are of significant influence to the work and my method of approach to working alongside this community.
This project offers me the chance to work with a community to bring to light the stories that are often neglected or misrepresented in photography and wider media, and the opportunity to be able to fairly represent a sensitive community in a way that benefits them. Through this body of work, I hope to have provided a platform to those with stories to be shared, to be able to better understand the concerns of those escaping homelessness. I will investigate this line of inquiry through active, two-way engagement in the photographic process with the subjects of the work, as well as engagement with other figures, varying from members of charities to councillors looking to support members of their community. To seek further knowledge on this subject matter I will approach those working closest with this community with the aim of gathering information from sources who are currently and actively involved, becoming more informed on the community and their concerns in the process.
I will know I have achieved the ambitions I set out with when I have fully realised a fluid and continuous platform through which future stories can be told, accurately, and by those who previously have had little representation. This platform and method of representation could be utilized as a routine for people who are often without, yet often in need of routine, which can provide voice and agency to those who have mostly been neglected and rejected a voice of their own in art and wider media.