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Nightsafe News

“Our Place: Portraits & Places”

Blackburn with Darwen’s Young Homeless Tell Their Stories & Experience of Homelessness Through Their Own Photography

The Blackburn based Homeless Charity “Nightsafe” launched their photography exhibition at Blackburn Cathedral on Thursday 31st July 2014 prior to the exhibition touring venues across Blackburn with Darwen. The next exhibition will be in Blackburn Library in October. We then plan to take the exhibition further afield in the UK. Above is an example of the work to be exhibited.

Young Photographers:
In February 2014 some 16-24 year old service users of the homeless charity “Nightsafe” wanted to highlight the plight of the homeless in a manner not seen before. These young people decided that they would tell their story using 3 things readily available to them; a bench, a camera & their creativity. Utilising famous locations within Blackburn & Darwen including Ewood Park, Blackburn Cathedral & Darwen Tower the young people carried the bench & donated camera equipment & were supported by a professional photographer from the Alternative Futures Group, a partner agency of Nightsafe, who kindly agreed to give up his time without charge. These young people soon learnt the art of photography. The result is a series of spectacular shots with one common thread running throughout – an invisible youth on a park bench.

The young people chose settings in familiar and attractive locations in the Blackburn & Darwen area. They believe that placing a homeless youth on a bench in these locations helps illustrate just how invisible, alone & excluded they feel from both society & the nicer things in general that life has to offer. Our young people took all of the portrait shots & most of the outdoor shots. The photographer supported the young people in deciding the locations, selecting the photographs for the exhibition & the cutting, mounting & framing of the photographs. As a result the young people have learned not only a great deal about photography but also a lot about themselves along the way. The young people now have a chance to experience something most of them have never experienced before; having their hard work, creativity & talent celebrated.

Also included in the exhibition are studio portraits of the young people involved along with shots of some of our ex-service users. These photographs are of young people looking just like any other young person, illustrating how the homeless youth of today are no different from any other young person of their generation, apart, of course, from having nowhere to live. They dress the same, behave the same, look the same & dream the same. Sadly they are rarely treated the same. This exhibition is a great opportunity for these young people to experience the joy of feeling valued.

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