California Polytechnic State University, Pomona
Anchell Scholarship for Documentary Photography
In the month of May, 2016 I decided to go out in Pomona, California to photograph the homeless people that reside in the streets of the city. I was inspired to take on this project because I have had individuals come up to me asking for some spare change or a bite to eat and many of them tell me their stories as we wait for their food. Their live stories are truly amazing and because of their status in society many people do not listen, help or they avoid this individuals. My objective in photographing them was to capture the faces at are behind these incredible stories. Little did I know that I was in for more than I bargained for.
It is funny, when you’re not looking for something you do not notice it but once you make it your objective you see it everywhere. Before beginning this project, I felt that I didn’t notice many homeless people out in the streets but once I began photographing I saw how many unfortunate people in Pomona are without a home. Approaching each individual was challenging. Many of them were just doing their daily routine. I left a bit intrusive going up to them and asking them to take pictures of them. Many also had mixed reactions on my motives for taking their pictures. I would get sharp Noes, to hesitant Yeses to I don’t care nods. Every single person had a unique response to the question increasing my unsureness on whether I should approach and individual or not.
I captured the photographs I wanted and I was able to hear their stories that were really inspiring. This project really changed my perspective of photograph and my perspective of homelessness. Some people I talked to did not mind living in the streets and said they were doing fine. Others were out on the streets for only three weeks and said that it was hell already. The overall message they gave me was to appreciate what you have because you never know when you could be in the same situation.