A while back, I came across this video that really stuck with me. It shows homeless people holding signs, but, rather than begging for money, the signs share something about the sign-holder’s life.
Looking a little deeper, this was a project put together by Rethink Homelessness in Orlando, FL. The photographers asked the people to write a sentence that describes themselves. The results buck stereotypes and give a voice to people who are largely silenced by society.
What I find interesting about this project is how it contrasts with other projects that collect homeless people’s signs. Whereas the former attempts (imperfectly) to capture the actual voice of a human behind the sign, the latter co-opts the symbol of the homelessness.
The project itself raises a lot of questions that are pertinent to this course: What sort of stories did the subjects of the photographs want to share? Why do you think they chose these particular stories? How are they trying to write themselves? What do they want us to know about their lives? Does this give them a voice? Is it an effective memoir?
What do you think about this project? Share your thoughts in the comments!