Post 3b Exploring Visual Representation

– Maria Yanovsky 2016

One

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Illustration done for an article called “How Doing Good Can Help You Do Better” in an Investor Advisor Magazine. The artist is Joey Guidone as an illustrative commission. in 2015.

“When you do something for all the right reasons it seems to pay bigger dividends”- Nathan Bachrach.

There are quite a few articles that talk about the good deeds of others in relation to the homelessness crisis, this illustration is a perfect accompaniment for the gratitude this community often feels when people go out of their way to make their days better. It features a man in a day suit, bending down to cover a homeless main and his dog with an umbrella from the rain. Colour is used here to push the idea of kindness, warmth and hope as the section under which the man is shielded is a warm yellow in contrast to the surrounding shades of blue. It is interesting to see an animal being represented in this image as well, often articles only speak about a person, however, even on the streets of Sydney, there are many homeless people coupled with equally homeless pets, often keeping each other company. This image lacks any text including signs, however within the deeper thematic concern of this image, what is present speaks strongly. Coupled with the article, this image becomes less about the homeless person and more about the man in the suit who is “carrying out the good deed”. However once you read the article, it becomes apparent that what is not represented within these sorts images is the motivations and intentions behind the good deed. Despite the good intentions that this article is pushing, its place within an investors magazine is questionable as the article talks about the rewards of helping others shaking up the credibility of charitable actions. This idea comes through the report from post two, that examined stigma perpetuated by the belief people were doing a good deed, or the right thing. Causality and intention, becomes a topic of concern in this instance.

 

Two

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One of  the tents occupied by homeless people who live in Belmore Park Sydney – Photo By Adam Yip. Fund in a Daily Telegraph article “Moore is less for folk in greatest need: Belmore Park ten City a sorry part of Clover’s legacy” which talks about Clover Moore’s failure to respond to the forced removal of the Tent City because of a crisis state where Belmore park became a den of anti-social behaviour and a magnet for drug dealing by people willingly exploiting the homeless.

 

This image features a visual initiative by a homeless resident in response to the current issues in Belmore Park. Displaying various signs, covered in quotes and experts from the bible with mention of the human heart and judgment. This image is a direct representation of the thoughts and feelings of those who are experiencing street homelessness in Sydney who are being forcefully moved away from Belmore Park.  After reading several articles that explore stigma, this image resonates with the physiological, and journalistic explorations of one of the biggest issues as not just being the lack of Government intervention but the folly of human perception and lack of genuine empathy. As impassioned as hit image is, it only speaks on the behalf of some of the tent city residents of Belmore park and much less about the General Public that would have had to pass through there at the time. However on a braider scope, this image speaks of failure and the outward judgment of man, a concept widely explored in news articles directly and indirectly related to this issue.

Three

 

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Snapshot from an event organised by WISHIN (Women’s Information, Support and Housing in The North) to raise awareness about the escalating rise in homeless women- C. Deveny 2011

Presented within this image is a concept. The image is an outdoor installation of a home based from a car. The face is minimal with a small children set up, and some homely touches of a door side pot plant which leads the viewer to feel that it is from a female perspective. This image is representational of a large group of people known as the “hidden homeless” who don’t sleep on the street, but are still living in unstable and unsatisfactory living conditions such as cars, slums, couch surfing etc. This aspect of homelessness, is not explored within the media articles that focus on particular “visible” groups of homeless people. The image speaks volumes of the gravity of the situation, playing on the analogy of building a home within the confines of a small sedan. This image  is a depigment  of an aspect of homelessness that is rarely explored within the secondary sources, especially the media articles. This image builds to the complex definition of homelessness.

 

Four

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Cardboard Box Duvet Cover and Pillowcases. the Le Clochard Project by SZN is using profits from the sales of these cardboard-box-looking cotton duvet covers and pillow cases to raise money and awareness for homeless young people in the Netherlands – DIY Maven, 2008

This image is of cardboard boxes turned into pillow cases and duvet cover. In many articles, the importance of found objects is rarely discussed, as the discussions often go along the path of money, health, lack of shelter, social justice and hardship. Placing an every day object into something normally associated as warm and malleable to the contours of the human body,  creates a striking optical illusion with meaningful resonance.  On first glance this image appears to be a construction made out of cardboard. However imagery can be deceiving and upon further research Highly deceptive I discovered that it is an intriguing example of a creative initiative undertaken to raise money and more importantly, awareness for homeless people in the Netherlands.  The image extends the metaphor of a cardboard bed, a reality that many homeless people face.

Five

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This image is part of a three part advertising campaign run by Unicef China. Unlike many of the Australian articles, images such as this strongly push the notion of invisibility. Chinese boys were painted to blend in with the background to help remind the Chinese not to forget about the underprivileged children with what was back then, the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games. This image, even though from China, resonates similar themes found in many articles covered in my research. Invisibility, Isolation and being ignored are all articulated in the often impassioned writings of Authors on behalf of charities, or authors who are making a comment on the failures of their political leaders. Text within this image is used to help clarify the intention of this image, with the headline translating to “Don’t ignore me.”. The images are powerful and poignantly convey the topic of homeless children to its Chinese audiences.

“In just five days, UNICEF was able to raise funds totaling approximately USD 30,000 for the welfare of underprivileged children”-  JULY 5, 2008

Six

 

Photograph by John Donegan
Photograph by John Donegan done for a Sydney Portrait Exhibition for an event at Town Hall called Sydney Homeless Connect. This portrait along with Five others, were paired with poignant quotes about the state of homelessness in Sydney and about being homeless.

 

“I’ve been homeless for about six months. My son comes down to see me and he stays in a motel with his mum, but it’s a bit hard. Luckily I still get to see him and spend a few hours together. I have type two bi-polar, part schizophrenia and OCD, and I came to the city because I thought there would much better support for my mental health here. I’m on a disability support pension but you can’t make ends meet. Hopefully I’ll find a flat and I won’t let it go.”

A large number of articles that can be read on the issue of homelessness often feature the stories of triumph and tribulation of a member of the homeless community. Their plight is to often break social stigma and show that circumstances aside, they are average people, no different than the homeless community with some sort of extenuating circumstance which has helped in leading their lives astray. Portrait photography such as this attempt to break social stigma that  according to John R. Belcher and Bruce R. Deforge “occurs in situations where there is unequal social, economic, and political power and there is an opportunity to label, stereotype, separate (us versus them), lose status, and discriminate.” It may not show the full story, however  it paints a picture that this demographic of people is no different from other demographics with a father who is in the embrace of his beaming son, levelling the playing field of interpretation.

 

Seven

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“Homeless” by Joan Cornella  a Spanish illustrator famous for his unsettling surreal humor.

 

Black humour plays a critical roll within Cornella’s work creating a sickly sweet adaptation of a social issue such as homelessness with a dark, mutilated twist which scarily enough reflects how members of the homeless community feel when harassed on the street by Belmore Park security guards or through the persistent “under the rug” sweeping of their issues by the Australian Govenrment. The comic features a homeless man with a nosebleed, who calls out for help to only have a group of smiling men add sail to his wounds by partaking in “stacks on”, where the men lunge over each other sandwhiching the homeless man with the ground beneath. Cornella uses absurdity to highlight general human stupidity to expose and ridicule social issues. His work lacks any form of political correctness, therefor it is safe to say that this opinion can not be expressed (especially to this extent) within any sort of media article.

 

Eight

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Photograph taken by Andrew Baldacchino  for an article titled “Living rough; winter is coming”- 2015.

 

Many articles that discuss the trials and tribulations that homeless people face in the plight for a call to action donation on the Streets of Sydney, Melbourne and even Adelaide will feature imagery such as this. Poignant as is with only the image of a homeless person presumably sitting still for hours, hoping for passers by to give him some coins, this image becomes more evocative with the blurred images of people bustling around him on a busy George street crossing. The scene is rather miserable with a wet, grey sheen of bad winter weather coupled by the ignored, invisible feeling coming across though the mans strikingly still contrasting form.

Nine

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Homeless portrait series by Lee Jeffries

“I need to see some kind of emotion in my subjects,” Jeffries says. “I specifically look at people’s eyes—when I see it, I recognize it and feel it—and I repeat the process over and over again.”- Jeffries Jan. 26, 2012

Evocative images such as this portriat by Lee Jeffries is a visual art-form which media articles found online when discussing the topic of homelessness, would only dream to replicate. The images do not show much more than just the portrait of a homeless individual, but even with this example, it is clear that the photographer aimed to capture the raw emotion, through expert camera work and tasteful photo editing to draw out the emotion of his subject matter. High use of contrast helps bring out the rugged nature of the subject, not only making the details practically crystal clear but adding a dark dark, urban grit though the black and white.  Articles of course, attempt to replicate the confused, desolate, raw emotive quality within their testimonials, interviews and accompanied photo journalism. However, artistic photojournalism such as the caliber that this image is a part of, dig deeper through the reflection of the artist behind the lens who sophisticatedly frames his story.

 

Ten

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Simple black and white illustration done by graphic designer Christopher Delorenzo.

 

“His simple monochrome drawings manages to convey a rich narrative in black, white and charm.”

Something that I have not yet come across in my research of media articles, are people posing as homeless to reap the rewards of charitable human behaviors. After finding this image, I came across numerous articles that explored (namely back packers) taking advantage of services designed specifically for the homeless. Simple and clean, this image features a potentially young man mimicking the use of a sign that a homeless person would normally use in the hopes to get an Iphone. Funnily enough this illustrator has captured the trend of the “hobo look” which this figure seems to be pulling off quite well, with his unshaven beard, beanie and from interpretation either stained or ripped clothes, cleverly contrasted with his stripped shopping bag, cup of Starbucks coffee and the use of word “home” on the signage.

 

The power of imagery is unmistakable. Powerful, well constructed, raw and authentic visuals evoke and resonate emotions, driving a deeper engagement and more profound change in behavior within one glance. With a limited amount of words the proliferation of images can quickly convey many stories.

However, the understanding of these stories should be kept in mind while looking and analysing any image source. Similar to the examples explored above, imagery like writing can be tailored to serve a particular purpose as either truth or farce/propaganda. When looking at an image it is important to analayse it for its visual devices to evaluate weather or not the ideas and perceptions will lead down an ethical path and that the source or subsequent creator is creating content for social justice . Context is an incredibly important asset and can completely change the meaning and perception of any image.



References

  1. Guidone, J. December 2015, How doing good can help you do better, Investment Advisor magazine.
  2. Yip, A. February 22, 2016 12:00am, One of the tents for the homeless who live in Belmore Park, The Daily Telegraph.
  3. Unkown 2010, Homeless Women, .
  4. DIY Maven Sep 29, 2008, Cardboard Box Duvet Cover & Pillowcases, .
  5. Ogilvy & Mather, Shanghai, China Posted by Marc van Gurp on 22 November 2008 in Poverty, Unicef China: Don’t Ignore me, .
  6. Donegan, J. 28 Jul 2015, 11:34am, Portraits of Sydney’s homeless community, .
  7. Cornella, J. Unkown, Homeless, Wide Walls.
  8. Baldacchino, A. May 20, 2015, Photograph for
    Living rough: winter is coming,
    Sydney Tafe Media.
  9. Lee, J. April 9, 2012, Homeless, Flikr.
  10. DELORENZO, C. Unkown, Untitled,