through our eyes project: how the homeless see

Inspired by Cafe Art in London, Spartanburg, SC gave 100 disposable Fujifilm cameras to people who lived on the street, in a local shelter or were otherwise affected by homelessness. Their goal? To tackle homelessness in a different way by teaching and enlightening people of what the world of homelessness really is. After the cameras were returned, the Through Our Eyes Project picked the top 20 pictures to be put on auction at the end of the month. Proceeds will go to local organizations helping with the cause.

Below are the twenty pictures along with the name of the Artists and a blurb provided by each of them. Scroll over them to read.

  The Struggle  by Allen Johnson   “My friend was having a problem and was on the phone, I just happened to catch it. We’re here at the shelter, but it ain’t the end. We’re just going through it. We’ve got a purpose, you just have to go for it and it will come for you.”

The Struggle by Allen Johnson

“My friend was having a problem and was on the phone, I just happened to catch it. We’re here at the shelter, but it ain’t the end. We’re just going through it. We’ve got a purpose, you just have to go for it and it will come for you.”

  Pain  by Allen Johnson   “This represented the pain and the bad decisions I used to make in the past. This photo means a lot because it reminds me that if I get in a good place, I want to help people. I never cared about if someone saw me laying there, there were no rules. I respect myself a lot more now. There’s help out there, you just have to go to it.”

Pain by Allen Johnson

“This represented the pain and the bad decisions I used to make in the past. This photo means a lot because it reminds me that if I get in a good place, I want to help people. I never cared about if someone saw me laying there, there were no rules. I respect myself a lot more now. There’s help out there, you just have to go to it.”

  The Love is Good  by Annette Barnett   “We had a prayer time out back at the mission one night and I came up with the idea for the photo. We are all family here. I don’t see colors or nationalities; we are all equal. And the love. The love is good.” 

The Love is Good by Annette Barnett

“We had a prayer time out back at the mission one night and I came up with the idea for the photo. We are all family here. I don’t see colors or nationalities; we are all equal. And the love. The love is good.” 

  Home  by Annette Barnett   “This was home to me and a lot of people. When I took the picture, I was wondering who slept there the night before and if they were ok the next day. I was wondering if there were kids or animals involved because they don’t have a voice.”

Home by Annette Barnett

“This was home to me and a lot of people. When I took the picture, I was wondering who slept there the night before and if they were ok the next day. I was wondering if there were kids or animals involved because they don’t have a voice.”

  Out of Nowhere  by Ray Kelly   “Many homeless people have multiple spots, this is one of them. They might have a place they stay on one side of town and another somewhere else. This will let people know that with the homeless rate in Spartanburg - people have to survive the best way they can. If that means sleeping under a truck or in a car, or a mattress in the woods, so be it.”

Out of Nowhere by Ray Kelly

“Many homeless people have multiple spots, this is one of them. They might have a place they stay on one side of town and another somewhere else. This will let people know that with the homeless rate in Spartanburg - people have to survive the best way they can. If that means sleeping under a truck or in a car, or a mattress in the woods, so be it.”

  Hatred  by Ray Kelly   “Someone set this place on fire because they got jealous that someone else stayed in there.”

Hatred by Ray Kelly

“Someone set this place on fire because they got jealous that someone else stayed in there.”

  Hangin' Out  by Ray Kelly   “This man is homeless. He didn’t want his face in the picture. He was just hangin’ out because that’s what homeless people do. They hang out and wait for food or for a place to open. They wait for something to happen.”

Hangin' Out by Ray Kelly

“This man is homeless. He didn’t want his face in the picture. He was just hangin’ out because that’s what homeless people do. They hang out and wait for food or for a place to open. They wait for something to happen.”

  The Light of My Daughter by David Minch     “   She’s my world. She’s everything. And she’s how I got through a dismal situation. She kept me going when I didn’t necessarily think I should.”

The Light of My Daughter by David Minch

She’s my world. She’s everything. And she’s how I got through a dismal situation. She kept me going when I didn’t necessarily think I should.”

  The Darkness of the Abyss  by David Minch   “I spent the night under the bridge one time. I didn’t want to go anywhere near that stuff though. I didn’t know if I’d sit on a needle or something. I didn’t want to go to sleep because I didn’t want to freeze. The rafters were used as shelves for hair products, shoes, anything. I bet so many people have never seen anything like this. Most people would never look there because they’re afraid of what they would see or they don’t want to see it at all.”

The Darkness of the Abyss by David Minch

“I spent the night under the bridge one time. I didn’t want to go anywhere near that stuff though. I didn’t know if I’d sit on a needle or something. I didn’t want to go to sleep because I didn’t want to freeze. The rafters were used as shelves for hair products, shoes, anything. I bet so many people have never seen anything like this. Most people would never look there because they’re afraid of what they would see or they don’t want to see it at all.”

  Prayer Bear  by Leslie Broome   "I was trying to take pictures of things I see on a daily basis and I really value him. It was a gift. Prayer is a big part of my life. He has a button that says, ‘now I lay me down to sleep,’ when you push it. I know my prayers are being answered. Anything outside of God’s will isn’t going to work anyway.”

Prayer Bear by Leslie Broome

"I was trying to take pictures of things I see on a daily basis and I really value him. It was a gift. Prayer is a big part of my life. He has a button that says, ‘now I lay me down to sleep,’ when you push it. I know my prayers are being answered. Anything outside of God’s will isn’t going to work anyway.”

  Journey  by Leslie Broome   “I go to the Journey church every Sunday. I get what I need there. I love Pastor Chris and he really loves the people. The Journey feeds me spiritually and I always feel so good after I leave. Chris always has exactly the message I need to hear each week.”

Journey by Leslie Broome

“I go to the Journey church every Sunday. I get what I need there. I love Pastor Chris and he really loves the people. The Journey feeds me spiritually and I always feel so good after I leave. Chris always has exactly the message I need to hear each week.”

  Our Freedom to be Homeless Fell Upon These Shoulders  by Stephanie Farmer    “   I have a lot of respect for older people and veterans. He and I spend time together and eat turkey neck bones. He’s got a creek outside his house that I like to spend time at. We have the freedoms today because of people like him. He didn’t have a choice but to be in the military and I respect his efforts and life.”

Our Freedom to be Homeless Fell Upon These Shoulders by Stephanie Farmer

I have a lot of respect for older people and veterans. He and I spend time together and eat turkey neck bones. He’s got a creek outside his house that I like to spend time at. We have the freedoms today because of people like him. He didn’t have a choice but to be in the military and I respect his efforts and life.”

  Moving In  by Mildred Johnson   “I knew her from another shelter. I was going to help her get her clothes out and thought I’d take her picture first. I was excited to have a friend here, but I felt bad because she didn’t have a choice but to come to the shelter.”

Moving In by Mildred Johnson

“I knew her from another shelter. I was going to help her get her clothes out and thought I’d take her picture first. I was excited to have a friend here, but I felt bad because she didn’t have a choice but to come to the shelter.”

  Doug  by Rumchanh Prak   “He was sitting under a tree in the shade and I saw the light coming in from behind him. He was in a good posture. The pictures says that you can just relax and be free.”

Doug by Rumchanh Prak

“He was sitting under a tree in the shade and I saw the light coming in from behind him. He was in a good posture. The pictures says that you can just relax and be free.”

  Young Lady  by Darell Hawkins    “   I took this photo because I thought she was a nice young lady. I think it’s very cool. I want other people to know that they can take the same pictures, do something interesting." 

Young Lady by Darell Hawkins

I took this photo because I thought she was a nice young lady. I think it’s very cool. I want other people to know that they can take the same pictures, do something interesting." 

  Trouble Free  by Donald Edwards   “I took it for the simple fact that if he saw his own picture, he’d have to stay out of trouble.” 

Trouble Free by Donald Edwards

“I took it for the simple fact that if he saw his own picture, he’d have to stay out of trouble.” 

  Cool Cat  by Donald Edwards   “He’s my friend and he will talk to anyone and help anyone out. I asked him if he would help me with the project and he wanted to help other people see what’s going on, too.”

Cool Cat by Donald Edwards

“He’s my friend and he will talk to anyone and help anyone out. I asked him if he would help me with the project and he wanted to help other people see what’s going on, too.”

  Happy As I Can Be  by Robert Aldridge   “I see her all the time and find her very interesting. I’ve spent time walking and talking with her. I want to know more about her. I want to know why she does the things she does and how she lives.”

Happy As I Can Be by Robert Aldridge

“I see her all the time and find her very interesting. I’ve spent time walking and talking with her. I want to know more about her. I want to know why she does the things she does and how she lives.”

  Beautiful Dresses  by Bobbie Nesbitt   “I love that white dress. It reminded me of when my sister got married.”

Beautiful Dresses by Bobbie Nesbitt

“I love that white dress. It reminded me of when my sister got married.”

  Cool Down  by Bobbie Nesbitt   “I go there often to eat ices when it’s hot."

Cool Down by Bobbie Nesbitt

“I go there often to eat ices when it’s hot."

This project is truly inspirational and important. The photographs themselves are beautiful and emotional. Check out their website and see how else you can help!

Samuel Hernandez