Visual Images of Homelessness: Changing Representation or Perpetuating the Stereotype?
Posted 1 March 2017 about ID.8 Photography.
Mark Harvey's jam packed symposium kicked off on Friday morning with a discussion on the relevance of using visual images to discuss homelessness, and the issues of constructed realities this brings about. With every seat taken, the Workstation's Creative Lounge was packed with people, including the photographers who collaborated on Mark's latest exhibition, regular users of the Cathedral Archer Project who have taken part in all his photography projects, and a whole host of non-profit workers from around the city.
Together with Tim Renshaw, the CEO of the Cathedral Archer Project, Mark explained the background behind each of his projects, all of which are currently exhibited within the Workstation reception. Something which really came through from his words was how much of a collaborative voice resonates in his work, especially in his description of Street View - "in the press, rough sleepers are invisible: it's Us and Them. Street View made me start to realise their lifestyles weren't so different from mine."
Mark's latest work, A Box for a Bed, tackles this notion of invisibility by capturing the struggles faced by the homeless, without portraying the rough sleepers themselves. The first image from this photo series brought about a lively discussion on the extent to which creative outputs can bring about social change - how much can moving away from stereotype help us to understand individual complexities within the wider picture of homelessness?
The range of debate and questions raised in each session shed new light on the way we talk about social issues, and I'm excited to see A Box for a Bed in its entirety.
The exhibition will be running from the 27th February - 11th March at Bank Street Arts, and Mark's earlier projects will be on show in the Workstation reception until Friday.
Find out more about Mark Harvey here.