Art intersects with social justice to create change on monumental levels. Alluring portraits capturing homeless youth in Massachusetts
"Invisible Faces" is a portraiture series that seeks to expose the many faces of youth homelessness in Massachusetts. Before society can begin to solve social problems such as youth homelessness, we must first recognize the humanity, resilience, and strength of those who experience such situations.
Where will I sleep tonight? A question asked by over 14,000 youth ages 14-24 without a safe and secure home every day in Massachusetts. Over 25% identify as GLBTQ and have become the fastest growing demographics within this population. The average age of a person experiencing homelessness in Massachusetts is just 8 years old! This project strives not to single out any one group of homeless youth, but instead attempts to raise awareness of the entire youth homeless epidemic by first making the community aware of these faces and then by raising money to help bring them off the street.
Harvard and MIT provide some of the many backdrops within Massachusetts where these kids coexist in the shadows of the wealthiest landmarks in our state. Many of these young adults spend their entire life being ignored by society. The damage this does to one’s mind, identity and sense of self often contributes to a deep sense of worthlessness and can inhibit their motivation and ability to change.
Capturing their strength and resilience on film not only helps society understand who these homeless youth are, it allows the youth to see themselves in another light. Instead of merely someone who struggles to find safety, sleep, and other basic needs, it allows the young person to see themselves as the strong, passionate, soulful and powerful person who is captured in these images.
Being given support from Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless and numerous homeless youth programs like Youth On Fire has made this portrait series possible. The project began in March of 2012 and will last throughout the summer of 2013.
The series looks to collect 140 portraits utilizing both exterior and professional studio lighting. Using both a Nikon D3s 35mm DSLR and a Medium Format camera I will be using a mixed methods printing process, combining Hahnemuhle Fine Art German Paper and a metallic printing process to create an intense print collection. Prints will range in size from 16x20" to 40x60" and be printed in both color and black and white formats.
As an artist, my responsibility is to convey the power of their message through one image. To make every viewer feel the same richness of emotion that I felt sitting with them in hearing their story. What I have learned from each person is both unique and unfathomable. The photograph must vocalize the real world - lived experience that is their message in order to effectively begin to change societies viewpoint on youth homelessness, or these faces will forever remain invisible.
The money will go directly to the youth homeless programs that I collaborate with to fulfill this project, provide stipends for the kids and to help fund the exhibition and printing cost while allowing this work to continue. A gallery showing will display all the images and give the youth a night to celebrate and see their faces in style!
The youth involved will be given copies of all the prints to use on social media outlets so they can stay in contact with their families and loved ones. For some this may be the first contact they have in opening up communication that has been severed for years.
I started this project because I believe everyone can make a difference within the world by using their own talents and unique skill sets - I am a photographer, and feel what better way to change societies society’s opinion than through a photograph?
Seeing these photographs will change the hearts of anyone who views them, and the future of these children! Thank you for your support in making a difference in these kids life!
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Meeting the funding goal, Kickstarter is a all of nothing funding process. If the goal of $27,000 if not met on December 29th no money will be exchanged and no donors will be charged. This project will not continue, sadly the youth homeless projects will not get their funding and the exhibit will not be funded. This is why your support is so greatly needed!
Finding a realistic gallery space that is both affordable and within close proximity so the kids involved in this project can be participate in the opening night and other events of the exhibit. This is a crucial step to them seeing their faces within society and being valued as a member in the community.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.