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Got Caught Up Out There: Photographs by Homeless Women

A Project of Venice Arts | In collaboration with OPCC

When we learned that the Los Angeles County Arts Commission was planning to pilot a project for people who are homeless, we knew immediately that we wanted to work with our neighbor in Santa Monica, OPCC, and with women from their extraordinary program, Daybreak. We couldn’t imagine a better chance to bring the power of storytelling, through photography and film, to women living through such a challenging time in their lives. We also saw it as an opportunity to help lift up the voices of people living at the margins of our society and, in some small way, to restore some of the dignity lost to those suffering from mental illness or whose misfortunes have led them to a life on the streets.

Learning photography involves not just understanding how to use the camera and compose a compelling shot but, also, how to give and receive feedback and learn to read the meaning of an image. In a project where the photographers document their own lives common learning practices—such as the process of image review and editing—offer an opportunity for reflection, storytelling, discovery, and catharsis. We were fairly certain that this process, and the simple act of engaging in their own creativity, would have a positive impact on the women. We had no idea just how profound it would be. They formed a bond with one another and with their photography team, who were moved and honored to be allowed into their lives. Several of the women talked about how the project helped them to feel better about themselves and their futures; one found that she had a natural eye and a real passion for photography and enrolled in a college photography program.

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View the Exhibit

Past Exhibits:

Sam Francis Gallery at Crossroads School
September 8 - 25, 2009

Venice Arts Gallery
July 25 - August 31, 2009

Los Angeles County Arts Commission
Supported by
and the
LA County Investment Fund
Los Angeles County Investment Fund