Capturing Homelessness Through A Lens

SANE Seven has teamed up with leading Liverpool-based homeless charity The Whitechapel Centre, as part of a unique project which will challenge people’s misconceptions of homelessness.With the help from Grace Woods and Jocelyn Miller of Liverpool’s The Make Up Artist studio, the advertising photography company has developed a series of hard-hitting images to make viewers reflect on what they know about homelessness.The four images feature actors portraying a different affluent profession, such as a chef, florist and nurse, with a caption unveiling a hidden or unexpected problem that caused them to become homeless. These images will be released one by one throughout December.The message behind the campaign is that homelessness is not a choice that people make, it is often caused by a series of events out with their control – and even more shockingly it could happen to just about anyone.The Whitechapel Centre supports thousands of people in need across Merseyside every year. The number of people they help in the region has increased by 42% over the last four years. As well as offering shelter, blankets, food and warmth, it also offers guidance and advice to those who are on the verge of losing it all.Marius Janciauskas, Director of Sane Seven, said: “We felt it was necessary to voice such a huge social issue the best way we could – through the powerful language of visuals.Chef 4x6 textThe aim for this campaign was to create images to reinforce the key message which is that homelessness can happen to anyone at any point in their lives. We are so sucked in to our own worlds that we don’t notice what’s happening around us anymore and if we do, sadly enough most of us chose to ignore it. Could you imagine having nothing and being treated as a nobody?“Initially we talked about producing a positive campaign but then everything started to lean towards a more hard-hitting approach (showing what could happen rather than how things can get better).“I think one problem with a positive campaign is that it might make people think that success stories reflect the reverse in trend and that their attention is not required. It will be interesting to see if these images capture people’s attention making them re-think what they know about homelessness”Nurses, chefs, florists, hairdressers, the list goes on – no profession is immune to what life can throw at people and it’s important not to succumb to the stereotypes that can drive one’s false perception of homelessness.The pictures will be used on the Whitechapel Centre website and social media channels as well as the press.We often hear “Too lazy to work” or “only begging for money to feed the addiction” – the society is quick to jump to stereotypes when they see the increasing number of rough sleepers.“The statistics reveal that family breakdowns is the biggest cause of homelessness followed by addictions, unemployment and debt, mental health problems and other reasons” – said Ruth McCaughley, head of fundraising at The Whitechapel Centre.“Sane Seven has perfectly captured this in their pictures and we are very pleased with the end result. We hope that the images will help raise as much awareness of the issue surrounding homelessness and encourage support for the work we do within Liverpool to help those in need of support.”The not-for-profit campaign has been supported by Brian Shortall, Martin Dimitrov, Kevin Welsh and Charlotte Cumming who kindly gave their time to become the faces within the images. The talented Grace Woods and Jocelyn Miller from The Make Up Artist studio provided gratis photographic make-up.  A nurse Val Colvin and the owner of Amalia Italian restaurant Miguel Queipo have contributed by donating nurse’s and chef’s uniforms.Local businesses, such as Tricia Hogan from the Ropewalks GP, Peter and Fiona Sloan of Cook Street Coffee, Hazel Ellis of Blossoms Liverpool and Nick Bellinger of Zero Four Hairdressing, have also shown their support offering free location spaces for the shoots.For more information on donating to or volunteering at The Whitechapel Centre and their Christmas Appeal visit