Lee Jeffries Photographs Homeless Individuals in Skid Row

Lee Jeffries Photographs Homeless Individuals in Skid Row

Images have the ability to tell stories and often convey emotional messages that we cannot readily express through words. In the field of homelessness, pictures help us put a face behind the suffering experienced by those living on the streets. In this week’s blog, Lee Jeffries shares his photographs with us and tells us why he takes pictures of homeless individuals - including those living in Los Angeles' Skid Row.

"In 2008 I was in London to run a marathon. On the day before the race, I thought I would wander the city to take pictures. Near Leicester Square, I trained my 5D camera with a long, 70-200 lens on a young, homeless woman who was huddled in a sleeping bag among Chinese food containers. She spotted me and started shouting, drawing the attention of passersby. I could have just walked away in an embarrassed state, or I could have gone over and apologized to her. I chose the latter, crossed the street and sat with her. She was 18: her parents had died, leaving her without a home, and she now lived on the streets of London. The experience had a profound effect on me, sharpening the focus on the subject matter of my street photography—the homeless—and defining my approach to taking pictures. I don't want to exploit these people or steal photographs of them like so many other photographers who had seen the homeless as an easy target. In an effort to make intimate portraits, I try to connect with each person on an individual basis first.

I'm self-taught and self-funded, and use vacation time to travel to Skid Row in Los Angeles three times, as well as Las Vegas, New York, London, Paris and Rome, to continue my project. I have just completed a new chapter in Miami and will be coming to LA again at the end of this week.

I have chosen three images to illustrate my approach, all taken on Skid Row in LA. I look to capture the emotion of each subject through the intimacy of light and shadow."

Lee Jeffries is a photographer based in Manchester, England.

To view more Picture by Lee Jeffries visit his Flicker account. He can also be contacted via email at lee.jeffries@btinternet.com


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