Featuring photographs and text by artist and educator David Blumenkrantz, along with works by four photographers who have lived experience with homelessness: Bobby Buck, Cleta Felix-West, Lelund Hollins and Ian Storm.
This group showing was put together as an expression of a growing frustration with the slow pace of reform and change that leaves the well-being of thousands of Angelenos in a state of limbo, and to an alarming death toll. The latest homeless count reveals a 9% increase in homelessness in LA County and 10%.
Blumenkrantz, who spent several years advocating and documenting the lives of street children and urban slum dwellers in Nairobi, Kenya before returning to the USA, began photographing life on Skid Row back in the 1990s, though the majority of what will be on display here is from his more recent One of Us project, a collection of portraits and interviews with people experiencing homelessness and those working on solutions, and candid street photography created from 2016 to the present. The motivation behind this work was the desire to remove the filter of media interpretation and let the people most closely affected by the crisis to have their say.
The photographs by Buck, Felix-West, Hollins and Storm were made in 2019 as part of the How We See It project, a participatory photography project that encouraged personal expression and creativity, organized by Blumenkrantz in his role as a professor in the Journalism Department at California State University, Northridge, a project that was derailed by the pandemic. The photographs from both One of Us and How We See It have previously been displayed at the Museum of Social Justice, and in the case of One of Us, at Los Angeles City Hall.
Both the How We See It project and “Enough is (never) Enough” were organized as “service-learning” courses funded by the CSUN Office of Community Engagement. How We See It was part of an Advocacy Media for Nonprofits class, while this current exhibition is the forerunner of an investigative reporting class, during which the students are spending the current semester attempting to investigate and make sense of the Gordian Knot that is our ongoing, festering and often toxic homelessness crisis.
The exhibit opens on Saturday, September 16th at 5pm.
On October 14th there will be a photographers’ talk by all of the artists on display, and on November 11th, the investigative reporting students will make multimedia presentations on their findings.