These homeless portraits where taken in New York in 1993 in collaboration with the American photographer Brian Woods. In the early 90’s there where many homeless people living in New York. Most of them preferred the anonymity of the big city over the greater US, where they would have been hassled and sent away by police more often.
Society does not want to see homeless people, but they are there, reminding us of the hardships of live that anyone can encounter in times of economic, social or personal uncertainty.
This ambivalent view society has on homeless people is reflected by the portraits’ formal quality. Two portraits where taken of each person. One of them with the portrayed looking straight into the camera, the other one as a side profile. This is the typical way mug shots are being taken when a criminal is arrested. On the other side the portraits are photographed in front of a black back drop, taking them out of the context of the street where the homeless live. As the beholder, one gets an uncanny feeling when looking at these portraits and sensing the hardship that carved itself into the faces and their expressions, but yet one is unable to determine what happened to these people in their lives. By taking them out of the street context, they are shown as the people they are, no matter which streets they are living on.