Teaching Photography to Homeless and Recovering Addicts | Tina Case Photography
It started in 2013 that I began to notice whenever I would exit an off ramp or walk downtown I would encounter homeless people. Most passersby would turn the other way and pretend not to notice. But I began to wonder, what's their story? Each homeless person has a story, how could I find out what their stories are?
During this time I received a newsletter from Mike Wasserman, a Santa Clara County Supervisor. Through that newsletter I learned about a program called Destination Home that aimed to permanently house 1000 of the most chronically homeless on the streets of San Jose over the course of 3 years. I was introduced to Jennifer Loving (what a fitting last name), director of the program. Since then I have taken photos of the homeless and captured their stories. I have learned that the majority of them have a strong faith in God and a huge love of community. Many of their stories were about broken homes where a pivotal adult in their life left, died or forgot about them. As they became adults, they were laid off from their jobs, became seriously ill or succumbed to drugs or alcohol. Without a guiding force in their lives and the love of a parental figure they lost their way. [Photo below by Jennifer Loving]
Plenty of photographers have taken incredibly moving photos of the homeless. Several of the most inspirational to me are Lee Jeffries, Invisible People and the incredible The Homeless Paradise. Each of these have given me inspiration and the realization that the homeless, destitute and recovering addicts need a voice to help them be heard. Then perhaps we won't think of them as invisible. [Photo below by Jennifer Loving]
With that in mind, I began to think about creating a pilot class to teach photography - to capture what they see, not what I see. I was lucky to be introduced by Jennifer Loving to The Recovery Cafe. There I met with the program director, Lisa. Together we created a 10 week class teaching photography.
To check out the images that these folks have begun to take with donated iPhone 4Ss, check out our Instagram account https://www.instagram.com/throughmyeyes.sjstreets/
A BIG thank you to Bay Photo Labs who made a wonderful donation for the prints that were on display for our first graduation! The students treasured their work and were proud to have it displayed for all to see. [Photos below courtesy of Lisa Wilmes, Recovery Cafe San Jose]
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