This photograph was lit with only a pocket flashlight. The interior was completely dark and the camera shutter was locked open. I painted each object with my flashlight, adding highlights or shadows where necessary. The finished photo is a blend of ten separate exposures taken as I moved around the small space.
The items were left there by various homeless people that have used this space as a temporary place to sleep. In the area behind the camera was an old sleeping bag and a pair of hi-tops.
The only thing taken were photos; the only thing left were footprints.
I spent quite a bit of time being still and trying to get a sense of what it must be like for the homeless – regular people, like you and I – who are down on their luck, surviving a job loss, battling the demons of addiction.
I imagined the past few Ohio winters and what it must’ve been like to hole up in an aluminum and plywood box with broken out windows and broken down dreams. All the while 0° temps slowly sucking the life and hope out of someone.
I didn’t do a very good job – imagining. My lofty perch full of food, furniture, heat and a not-really-my-issue-’cause-I-got-my-own-problems-to-deal-with kept clouding my vision. My previous work with the homeless a distant memory.
God knows every soul that has passed through this trailer; every story behind each item left on the shelf. May He make sure a few of them don’t have to revisit this dump again…