Title: Homeless Souls
Publisher: Antrim House Books
Jake Anderson takes us into the heartland of the homeless. Traveling to tent cities, underpasses, and street corners in many of the nation’s cities, he lived with and came to know the men and women he depicts so movingly in a series of photographs reminiscent of Walker Evans’ work during the Great Depression.
Each photograph corresponds to a work created by the very person photographed.
“This has to be one of the best books on the plight of homeless people that I have ever seen—precisely because we hear from the people themselves, through their poems, statements and drawings. The photographs complete the picture, bearing witness to the courage and determination of those who have been banished from the so-called American dream.”
-Demetria Martinez, National Catholic Reporter
“This collection of photo essays puts a face on the homeless that insists that the viewer move beyond stereotypes of addiction and mental illness. With the decline of the middle class that has been taking place since the 1970’s, an alarming number of people are being reduced to homelessness. Jake’s book forces us to come to terms with what is happening in our society and, hopefully, to realize that it does not have to be the way it is. A wakeup call!”
-Professor James Hamm, Boston College Department of Anthropology
“The desperation of lives lived on cold, hard streets—that’s what Jacob Anderson has captured in these photographs taken as he walked the path of the American homeless. Jake has reached out a hand and focused his lens on subject matter that most of us work hard not to see. The photographs, rough, gritty and hiding nothing, are a brutally truthful study of the vulnerability of lives lived in public spaces: the cracked lips, pleas scrawled on cardboard, and the dull stare of the patient wait for the good will of a passerby.”
-Zoe Perry-Wood, Photographer
When the busy life pauses, beauty just might reveal itself.
Beginning my investigation, I felt sorry for these people. Poor, dirty, cold, homeless, overworked, unlucky, addicted, and hurting only begin to describe most people (though there are notable exceptions).
However, my attitude changed with exposure. I began to see individuals simply existing. No better or worse than the rest of us (we are all Human). These folk need genuine human relationships to grow. Just like everyone else.
P.S. While most homeless folk would rather have a home, its worth noting that many spiritual people throughout history went homeless voluntarily. From the flower children of the 1960’s, to the wandering ascetics of India, to the college road-trippers looking for a break, to the intrepid Siddhartha himself, the nomadic lifestyle appeals to many free-thinkers. To them, “homeless” is not a word of pain and destitution, but an expression of freedom and living. Although a minority, many of the “homeless” folk I came across were of this nature.
If you are inspired to make a donation, I highly suggest the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty; they are working to change laws and create lasting, systemic change.
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