California-based artist Gregory Kloehn often repurposes the still completely-usable trash and street detritus that he finds in the streets. His ongoing project Homeless Homes takes this idea one step further, offering real aid by creating housing for the homeless in Oakland. Dubbed as “eclectic building materials for small but efficient mobile homes.” Kloehn and his volunteers recycle and reuse salvage to offer small, mobile house (they are on wheels), Mostly the size of a sofa or small room, these Homeless Homes offer a safe place and protection, and raise awareness to the needs of the homeless community. “Stuff people just throw away on the street can give someone a viable home,” Kloehn said in an interview with NBC News. “Does it have merit as a solution to homelessness? As far as giving people a shelter, yeah, definitely. Is it a solution to homelessness? It’s an answer. An attempt.”
Kloehn further describes his aims on the project’s website, “Our goal is to bring together imaginative people and discarded materials to make sturdy, innovative, mobile shelters for the homeless people. By sourcing our materials from illegal street dumping, commercial waste and excess household items, we strive to diminish money’s influence over the building process.”
The photographer Sarolta Bán’s new series of images of abandoned and sheltered animals stays true to its touchingly simple title: Help Dogs with Images. For homeless animals, visibility is often a dream; far too many go unseen and unrecognized, and through her vivid imaginings in Photoshop—brought to life by the dignified warmth and wisdom of furry faces—Bán, previously featured here, hopes to change all that. With a support network of over 105,000 followers, she invites people around the world to submit photographs, transforming them into complex and poignant works of art and activism.
What stands out in Help Dogs with Images is the artist’s honest and humane representations of animal yearning. A photograph of a white dog becomes a symbol of hope and light; his playful and expectant glance upwards illuminates a single white butterfly amidst a dark nighttime landscape. As a child might wish upon a shooting star, a dappled dog implores a bright moon, a celestial beacon of recognition that movingly shares his own black and white spots.
Bán’s work is so successful because its soulfulness never veers into saccharine or cutesy territory; each image is hopeful yet serious, its emotionality heightened by stark contrasts and high resolutions. In one desperately heartrending photograph, a dog and cat watch an hourglass begin to count down; each knows the gravity of his situation, and they are left within a darkly tinted frame, anticipating uncertain futures. Shining canine coats and piercing feline eyes entreat the viewer to consider the dignity, humanity, and thoughtfulness that each creature possesses. To get involved, be sure to visit the project’s Facebook page. (via My Modern Metropolis)
Lava Mae, a nonprofit project that seeks to provide the homeless with access to showers and toilets, commissioned artists and designers to create artsy toilets that were displayed along Market Street in San Francisco on November 21st, during the same week as World Toilet Day, for a project titled “C’mon, Give a Shit.” Though these names are snicker-worthy, this day is a UN recognized event that “aims to break the taboo around toilets and draw attention to the global sanitation challenge.” Through their public art toilet project, Lava Mae seeks to generate awareness about the sanitation problem surrounding the homeless. In May 2014, Lava Mae plans to roll out their first retro-fitted MUNI bus that will provide mobile showers and toilets to the homeless community in San Francisco.
Lava Mae founder Doniece Sandoval says, “We want to deliver dignity. We feel that if you don’t have access to hygiene you lose touch with your humanity.” Acknowledging that the mobile facilities will certainly not end homelessness, Sandoval is hopeful that the project provides a good starting point for addressing the homeless’ lack of access to basic human needs. “We’re creating a model for delivery of service that others can embrace, a forum that works like open source technology,” Sandoval says, “Our designs, our budgets, anything we can help bring to other communities.”
Photographer James Florio created the series Homeless in Orlando. Alternating between slides of text and black and white photographs. The series captures the home and life of a homeless couple, Robert and Heather. Robert and Heather live in the woods of Orlando, Florida. The words and images describe the events that led to their home among the urban forests of the über-developed tourist hub.
The series feels much more like a film with its strong and touching narrative. Using a minimal amount of words and elegant photographs, Florio presents Robert and Heather in a way that is surprisingly emotionally engaging. He shows how typically simple tasks such as taking a shower, can become absurdly challenging. Homeless in Orlando provides a rare insight and is especially affecting. The rest of the Robert and Heather’s story unfolds after the jump. You’ll want to see it through to the last image.
Photographer Justin Bettman‘s Bagel Project is much more than a series of well produced photographs. Bettman meets with homeless people throughout California and exchanges a bagel for a story. He then documents each story with a photograph.
Bettman admits, “The homeless in our cities are often forgotten, as after a while they become a part of the city themselves; blending in like streetlights and bus stops, or any of the other things we walk by hundreds of times a day.”
His images, though, reveal incredible depths of narrative in simple subtle facial expressions. He goes on to say, “I’ve been continually surprised by the fact that these people are content with their lives; if anything, they are happier to have a friend to talk to rather than the food provided.”
Bettman’s blog accompanies each photo with a story – an extremely interesting read that is difficult leaving.
Ari Saarto’sIN SITU documents the temporary structures and shelters that the homeless create. These primitive structures are reminders of how fragile life can be and highlights the instinctual need for man to have a place called home, regardless of how basic or unrefined it is.