Exhibit captures local homeless community on film

Oftentimes, the situations homeless individuals face are more diverse than people are aware of," said FareStart's Patricia Gray.

Through an ongoing photography exhibit titled Home, FareStart (which provides job training and placement for homeless men, women and youths in the Seattle area) and Fremont's Getty Images aim to raise awareness of issues the local homeless population faces.

"It's about getting multiple people from very different corners of the community to work on a mission together," Gray said.

The project will be unveiled Thursday, April 14, at a reception and presentation at the Henry Art Gallery on the University of Washington campus.

At this event, photographer Nicholas Prior will discuss the meaning of "Home," the responsibilities of having a home, the objectivity and sensitivity present in photographs, methods and ethics of representing the disadvantaged and the trouble with sympathy.

"One goal of this project is to go beyond stereotypes and reveal the broad scope of homelessness, to show that homelessness encompasses a group more diverse than most people consider," Prior said.

A collaborative effort

Getty Images, which provides imagery and film to communications professionals, hired Prior to depict the realities of homelessness in the Seattle area through his photos.

During the project, he spent a week visiting with the homeless community on the streets, in shelters and in transitional units.

"The disadvantaged are usually photographed by outsiders looking in," Prior said. "But such sympathy-inducing images also perpetuate the us-vs.-them myth.... Ultimately, I believe that stronger images are possible when we see the subjects not as homeless people, forever relegated to a place and a class safely and innocently outside our daily life and concern, but simply as people."

Prior earned his master's degree in photography and related media from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where he currently teaches. His work has been published and exhibited across the country.

"I was very honored to have been selected for this project," he said. "I was also very humbled by the kindness and generosity of the many homeless people we met over the course of the project. I hope that these photographs...honor the many homeless people who contributed their likeness."

"We try to develop projects that put the power of photography and imagery into the hands of the organizations that we support," said Peggy Willett, Getty Images' director of community and industry support, who acted as the project's facilitator. "It's turned out to be a nice collaboration."

A traveling exhibit

After its debut at the Henry Art Gallery, the exhibit, featuring 10 full-color photographs, will travel to company art spaces, public galleries and various art venues in the Seattle area through March 2006.

Currently, scheduled locations for the next six months include St. Mark's Cathedral, Friday, April 15, to April 30; Seattle City Hall in May; the 2100 Building in June; the Washington State Convention & Trade Center in July and August; and Bellevue City Hall in September.

The upcoming lecture and reception for the Home exhibit will take place Thursday, April 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Henry Art Gallery, 15th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 41st Street, in the University District.

Tickets are $20; all proceeds benefit FareStart. Tickets are available at www.FareStart.org or in the FareStart restaurant, 1902 Second Ave.

To view a selection of photographs in the Home exhibit, visit www. nicholasprior.com/gfs.html.

Jessica Davis covers arts and entertainment in North Seattle. She can be reached via e-mail at needitor@ nwlink.com.

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