Giving Homeless People a Voice
An exhibition of stunning photographs portraying the lives of eight Buckinghamshire residents who are homeless or have been homeless, will open at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury from Friday 20th January.
Alongside the photographs, each individual’s personal story has been sensitively captured in text and audio, highlighting the often complex circumstances that have led to these situations.
Multi award-winning photographer Craig Easton has been working with Aylesbury Homeless Action Group and Wycombe Homeless Connection, who were keen to share the powerful stories in a new way, putting the individuals at the heart of the work – all of whom have had a very difficult time during Covid-19. Craig was co-commissioned by AHAG, WHC and Buckinghamshire Culture to work with individuals to give them a voice and to raise awareness and encourage the public to view homeless people with greater insight and understanding.
Craig Easton’s work is deeply rooted in the documentary tradition. He shoots long-term documentary projects exploring issues around social policy, identity and a sense of place. Known for his intimate portraits and expansive landscape, his work regularly combines these elements with reportage approaches to storytelling, often working collaboratively with others to incorporate words, pictures and audio in a research-based practice that weaves a narrative between contemporary experience and history.
James Boultbee, CEO, Wycombe Homeless Connection and Aylesbury Homeless Action group explains “As well as providing support for people who are homeless, our charities also aim to share what we know about homelessness with local people who want to know more. Facts and figures are part of that but I think anyone who comes to see the exhibition will agree that it offers the chance for local people to look closer. These are the words and pictures of real people who wanted to share their stories with you and I think there is a great opportunity to form deeper understanding and connection with issues involved with homelessness here. WHC and AHAG do need your support to keep providing help but first we wanted to simply give people a chance to connect with the issue and Craig has done that so well”.
Buckinghamshire Culture Co-Chair, Julius Weinberg said “Art and culture has a unique way of speaking to people, raising awareness of the world around us and giving people a voice. This project has done just that. Working with Wycombe Homeless Connection and Aylesbury Homeless Action Group, Buckinghamshire Culture has been able to fundraise and support commissioning Craig, who has addressed this aim so successfully. We hope it will also inspire other organisations to work with cultural organisations to achieve their objectives in innovative and life-changing ways”.
As well as the exhibition, which continues until 19th February during Waterside Theatre’s opening hours, Craig has produced a newspaper of the images and stories which is available from AHAG and WHC for a suggested donation.
The Waterside Theatre have kindly supported the exhibition, which will then tour to Wycombe Arts Centre from 27th February.
The project has been funded by Rothschild Foundation as part of a larger project, aiming to support the cultural sector and their partners after the pandemic and encouraging organisations to use culture to contribute to fulfilling their agendas.