The “Lost” Homeless Project Photos…and continuing the project in 2016 By Steve Huff

The “Lost” Homeless Project Photos…and continuing the project in 2016

By Steve Huff

HOMELESS in America. 

Most of you have seen this one of Rodney. A man who was injured from a beating, lost and trying to find his assisted living facility. 

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Sep 1st 2016

As I was going through old Hard Drives yesterday (that I found while doing some end of summer cleaning) I found some old shots I took with an original Canon 5D when I was continuing my Homeless Project that was started with a Leica MP film camera. I have not seen them since the year I shot them, which was 2008. Shooting with a digital DSLR was such a different experience than using the MP. It was larger, more noticeable, louder and made me much more noticed as a photographer.

I remember shooting these photos like it was yesterday though. Approaching the homeless as I went on walks throughout my then neighborhood in central Phoenix. I would chat with them, some for an hour or more. I would buy them food, give them water or soft drinks and even blankets or a jacket in the winter time. It was a great year personally for me as I was able to break out of my shell, dropping my fear of approaching people. I can say that the year I was doing this project I never once had a negative experience. Everyone was nice, welcoming and happy that I was paying attention to them, helping them and all were thrilled to have their photo taken, like this guy…

As I walked in the morning I saw this guy at a red light ready to cross the street. He was full of energy and started conversation with me. We crossed the street and ended up in a parking lot talking. He was proud of the fact that he learned how to pop a wheelie with his wheelchair and wanted to show me. After a lengthy chat I moved on but it was a great day meeting him. Today, I can not recall his name (it was 8 years ago) but it was shot with a Canon 5D. I know I owned the 24, 50 and 85 L at the time. 

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Giving me the thumbs up. He seems so happy considering his life situation. 

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He wanted me to take a photo with his hat off as well…

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As I continued my walk I ended up near a McDonalds where I saw this man outside looking for some food. I went in, grabbed him a meal and we chatted for only a few moments. Ricky was shy, and one moment he wanted me to snap his photo and the next he became very shy of the camera. After these shots he started digging into his meal, and I shook his hand and went on my way…

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Since moving out of the city many years ago I see much less of the homeless who roam the streets but Debby and I are planning on putting together food baskets and handing them out to the homeless we see in Phoenix in the next few weeks. Not only is it a feel good thing to do for us, it truly helps those on the street who have NOTHING. No home, no money, and most are out of chances in life. Any help we can give them gives them some peace for a few moments, and that is only a positive IMO. Most walk by them, without looking at them. Some give them a dollar or two. Some fear these people who roam the streets. I see them as human beings who need help, and all were so kind to me, a guy walking up to them with camera in hand. I look forward to continuing this project this year.

You can see all of  the old film shots from this time HERE. 

11 Comments

  1. That picture of Rodney makes me wonder why we would ever shoot anything but TriX and Leica glass. (Those of us with a 100 rolls in the freezer anyway 😉 )

  2. wowow ! Your photos are full of humanism !
    I live in Bogota , a city where the government does n´t know how to manage the homeless problem.
    I am actually working in a project to create a street paper based on the vision, that homeless people have developed a kind of “urban wisdom”, that normal citizens lack of.
    Hope that one of those days you will be inspired to visit our homeless colombian friends!

  3. Wow, that first pic is really awesome, is it one of the leica / tri-x pictures? It’s the best (imo) of all pictures I’ve seen from you! I admire your courage communicating and helping the homeless.

  4. I have done a little bit of work like this myself. I have some friends among the homeless here in Dublin Ireland.
    Basically I have found them to be fundamentally good people who have been dealt some bad cards by life.
    I think one of the best things we can do is simply acknowledge them as fellow human beings.
    How ?Just say hello !

  5. These are some amazing images and made me a bit emotional looking into these faces. But what makes them really special are the stories and human context you provide. I’ve seen people post photos of homeless people with no name or context, and it always makes me feel like they’re using them like zoo animals, just something to photograph. I really like how you acknowledge their humanity and it shows in their expressions that they like it as well.

  6. Good on you for taking personal action, Steve, private action is a powerful thing even if the root causes are not immediately fixed, but whatever happened to 8 years of Hope and Change?

  7. I live in a neighbourhood in Downtown Toronto that has many homeless and street people drug users etc it’s a plague of our times and probably shouldn’t be as bad as it is and only seems to be getting worse glad to hear
    Your going out too shoot again and continue exposing the world to this what camera will you be shooting with?

  8. You’re earning good karma, Steve–so keep up the good work I must confess this caught me off guard. So unlike what I’ve heard of the materialistic side of America. I too wish the best for you, Debby and Brandon.

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