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Through Our Eyes Project
The Through Our Eyes project puts cameras in the hands of the homeless and asks them to photograph their lives. 100 Fujifilm Quick Snap cameras was distributed to people in Spartanburg, South Carolina with three goals in mind. First, Through Our Eyes wanted to provide a message of hope to the photographers. Second, they wanted the photographers to experience the joy that comes from creating art. And third, they wanted the photographers to have a voice about the problem of homelessness in our city.
Jason Williamson, creator of the project, and his team just completed their third homeless project. A team of judges selected the top 20 photos out of over 800. The finalists will be on display at a gallery during the month of August. The community will place money in lockboxes next to their favorite images. The top three with the most money will receive prizes specific to their needs and all the funds will be given to organizations that support the homeless.
Through Our Eyes is publishing their photo book and using Indiegogo as a platform for funding. The campaign will end on August 30th.
Here is a link to Indiegogo campaign will be starting on August 1: https://igg.me/at/through-our-eyes
Website is www.throughoureyesproject.com and @throughoureyesproject on Facebook and Instagram.
The Top 20 Photographs
The eyes behind the lens
1 - Trisha McMillan ~ Photo description: (library) ~ Title: The Seekers
Why: "It was an atmosphere that was full of excitement. I was standing in a middle aisle and it just caught my eye for some reason."
2 - Candice Fowler ~ Photo description: (chair) ~ Title: Rest Your Bones
Why: “I thought it was funny to think about how many bottoms had sat in that chair. Where we hang out, it’s being thoroughly used.”
3 - Teressa Blanton ~ Photo description: (under truck) ~ Title: Between a Truck and a Hard Place
Why: “I was feeling bad that people have to live under a truck like that. At the mission, we’ve got food, water, shelter and I’m grateful that I have a place to live that’s not like this.”
4 - Teressa Blanton ~ Photo description: (clothes tree) ~ Title: Magnolia Tree
Why: “I was scared that I was walking up on someone. It made me cry to see it. It’s what people call home.”
5 – T. Jones ~ Photo description: (girl on bench) ~ Title: Joy
Why: “My daughter just seemed happy regardless of the situation we’re in. I teach her to be grateful for what she has and not to worry about what we don’t have.”
6 - Donald Edwards ~ Photo description: (Selfie w/ sunglasses) ~ Title: Pain Free
Why: “I was going through a lot. Sometimes you have to go through things in order to get closer to God.”
7 - Melissa Basden ~ Photo description: (storm) ~ Title: Through the Storm
Why: “I was thinking about the day when we became homeless. I knew when we laid down at the end of the day, we could still count on God to care for us.”
8 – Sha’ Quila Ellis ~ Photo description: (beds) ~ Title: Hope for a Brighter Day
Why: “I wanted to show people what it’s like being at SPIHN and going from church to church to stay.”
9 - Roddrick Miller ~ Photo description: (Chris & dog) ~ Title: Puppy Love
Why: “Chris is more of a cat person, but he was getting along so well with Diamond.”
10 - Roddrick Miller ~ Photo description: (dog) ~ Title: Dog Days of Summer
Why: “Diamond was a rescue dog. Her owners kicked her out of a moving car and my friend Chris and I have been taking care of her for a month. The local pet store gave us 20lbs of food for her.”
11 - Malinda Clark ~ Photo description: (dog & junkyard) ~ Title: Wanting to Feel Loved
Why: "The man’s family lives in a house, but the man lives in the shed. No matter what you do in your life, your family should forgive you."
12 - Steven Dailey ~ Photo description: (light) ~ Title: It’s Disgusting
Why: “This is a light in my one room apartment and there’s roaches in the light. I’ve been in there for about six months. These roaches are even swimming in the toilet.”
13 - Debra Heanu ~ Photo description: (change) ~ Title: Change For a Donut
Why: “Oh! I had to get a doughnut! This was my reward for working hard. I hadn’t been working for 20 years, but I am working again. My abilities are much greater than my disabilities.”
14 - Tonya Lee ~ Photo description: (shoes) ~ Title: A Walk in Our Shoes
Why: “I was walking up the road and that’s what I saw. It was truly not planned, but it’s how a lot of people get around.”
15 - Titania Stephens Jones ~ Photo description: (abandoned house) ~ Title: A Place of Refuge
Why: “I took this because it represents where homeless people sleep. I’m not homeless right now, but I have been through hard times. You can see that people have been there recently. God is our refuge in time of need.”
16 - Titania Stephens Jones ~ Photo description: (car wash) ~ Title: Living Under the Weather
Why: “We took our car to get washed at this car wash and met the man that stays there. I bought him some food and left it for him and the blanket on his bed.”
17 - Joseph Mowers ~ Photo description: (notebook) ~ Title: A Little Bit of Me
Why: “I want to show what happened to me. I had nowhere else to go, so I drove my beat up Sidekick here. I want to show people that even though I’m at a shelter, I can still have a sense of humor and there’s something to laugh about. I might not have a home right now, but there’s more to me than just that.”
18 - Marvin Landrum ~ Photo description: (guys sleeping) ~ Title: You’ve Gotta Start Somewhere.
Why: “They need some help, a place to stay, a job. You’ve got to have a start in order to finish. Why not start from the ground up?”
19 - Marvin Landrum ~ Photo description: (bw portrait) ~ Title: Time
Why: “We were sitting there having a drink and it was spur of the moment. I said, ‘let me take your picture.’ Time is all we have. If you’re going to take the time to pose, I’m going to take the photo.”
20 - Marvin Landrum ~ Photo description: (woman sleeping) ~ Title: Sick and Tired.
Why: “She’s diabetic. I just gave her some test tubes. She’s sick and tired of being homeless. I’m not homeless, but these are my friends.”