On Friday 24th February 2017 Mark Harvey from iD.8 Photography and Tim Renshaw the CEO of the Cathedral Archer Project hosted a packed symposium at the Workstation in Sheffield.
The symposium explored the use of visual images representing the issue of homelessness and the perceptions given to viewers of the images.
Over the last 4 years, Mark has specialised in working with homeless people in Sheffield. He has used images to challenge the visual narratives that accompany the layered complexities of homelessness.
The session covered the key questions that have emerged during Mark’s residency at Bank Street Arts in Sheffield and his ongoing work with the Cathedral Archer Project.
Throughout his residency, Mark has overseen projects that have put cameras into the hands of the homeless people he photographs. This has allowed them to document their own experiences and offer new representations of homelessness
Images taken by Mark and his group were on display within the Workstation. They have also been featured in a series of exhibitions, ‘Baggage’, ‘Street View’ and ‘Pop-up Studio’ around the city of Sheffield including at the Peace Gardens.
His latest project ‘A Box for a Bed’ explores the notion that rough sleepers are becoming invisible around our cities as people go about their daily lives. Typical images used in the media and charity appeals tend to reinforce the common perceptions of homeless people.
At the conclusion of the session there was an extensive question and answer session that led to a healthy debate. Members of Mark’s photography group made passionate contributions to the debate, giving real insight to the daily issues that they face living on the streets.
Representation of homeless people in the media is a complex issue. No definitive conclusions were reached, however there was a general consensus that photographers could work with charities to capture more representative images for use in marketing, publicity and appeals.
An exhibition of Mark’s work was held at Bank Street Arts in Sheffield from the 27th February – 11th March.