Members' Online Gallery's Portfolio Competition September 2010

Emerging Artist

Bob Levy from Houston, Texas
Who Are The Homeless?
To view a gallery of the Exhibit.

We come across the homeless on our street corners, outside grocery stores, under bridges and in the parks. Most of us try to avoid an encounter and walk past a bit faster than we had walked before. If we have a thought, it is one of disgust or sympathy, or perhaps we remain absorbed in our own world. What we do not see in such moments is what brought us to meet that person under that bridge, at that street corner, and how much we may have in common.
I was trained as a chemical engineer and retired from a career in the petroleum industry. In my retirement years, through study of Jungian psychology, I have been encountering myself and the world in new, unanticipated ways. Photography and homeless people have become part of this. I began photographing the homeless in a quest to capture aspects of personal and cultural shadow. At the outset I saw them as the detritus of society, rejected, downtrodden and unable to function successfully on their own. The homeless have changed me. Their compassion, their intelligence, their hope and courage, their sincerity and dignity - these exploded my stereotype of who the homeless are and shifted my view of who I am.

In these photographs, I bring homeless people to meet the viewer. Veterans, housewives, ex-cons, and businessmen—they reveal themselves—and, in so doing, us to our selves. We carry homelessness inside us, all those darkened corners of our personalities that we refuse to visit. We share in its violence, pathos, heartache and exhilaration. We all walk hand in hand with fate. No one is ever completely at home on this planet. Everything is on loan.

It is my hope that these images can begin to break down the prejudice and discrimination against homelessness that is so common in our society.

These portraits, which now number over 300, were taken over the past 3 years of clients at The Beacon, a homeless center operated by Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Houston. All subjects were willing participants and were offered prints of their images.

Mid-Career Artist

Laura Noel

Laura Noel from Atlanta, GA
The Space Between
To view a gallery of the Exhibit.

A repository is a place where things are put or kept.

I see the modest suburban ranch house I once shared with my former husband as a repository for all the emotions and failures and successes and bits of everyday life and larger aspirations we either shared with each other or scorned.

These photographs were taken as we both moved out of the house separately in 2006; he first, followed by my son and myself several months later.

These images are meant to be an elegy for the end of the relationship, but hopefully the photographs capture the greater process of loss and recovery everyone experiences at some point.