One of Us: Portraits and Personal Stories
A project by David Blumenkrantz
May 24th - October 28th, 2018
One of Us recognizes the dignity and individuality of people who are economically, socially, and psychologically disenfranchised. The exhibition presents portraits and personal stories of people who wished their faces to be seen and their voices to be heard. The images and stories, created collaboratively with their subjects, challenge us to recognize them as more than a faceless societal burden known as the homeless. One of Us desires to change the conversation surrounding homelessness. It arose out of a longstanding collaboration with Wade Trimmer, director of the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission. Along with many of the activists, social service providers, and others involved in seeking solutions, we share an interest in humanizing the homeless—a phrase that on reflection seems redundant and offensive, because it implies that the people encountered in this work were not unquestionably and obviously quite human already. So we want to remind the public of this simple fact of a shared humanity, and to nudge visitors toward enacting real, sustainable solutions. Taken collectively, the conversations recorded with more than 40 individuals represent a fairly comprehensive catalog of the causes and symptoms of homelessness, and the many obstacles that make it such a difficult situation to rise above. The most consistent message we heard was a longing for understanding and empathy from the general public and law enforcement. Each person’s story touches on this yearning in some way.