Rock Bottom City

a portrait of homelessness

human in distress

“Bleak, dark, and piercing cold, it was a night for the well-housed and fed to draw round the bright fire, and thank God they were at home; and for the homeless starving wretch to lay him down and die. Many hunger-worn outcasts close their eyes in our bare streets at such times, who, let their crimes have been what they may, can hardly open them in a more bitter world.”
Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

I think of the homeless often, because I am surrounded by them on my daily wanderings throughout the streets of Denver. I have heard the argument that it would be wise to avoid photographing the homeless because you are somehow exploiting their plight for your own personal gain. I take this into consideration while I am out photographing in the streets, but I just cannot ignore the feeling I get when I come across a homeless person. I am overcome with the urge to photograph what I see as interesting, colorful, ordinary or out of the ordinary, the truth and reality. If I choose to ignore what I see as real, as something that is a problem, what kind of person would I be?

If all I ever shared were pictures of the beautiful people, the ones with the most interesting fashion sense, the ones that are juxtaposed in amusing ways, the ones who stand out in a crowd for whatever reason, that wouldn’t be reality either. I want to share my reality. I don’t want to leave out any of the gory details. For those that think I would take a picture of a homeless person for personal gain, you are right, I am looking to better myself as a person, contribute something to society by raising awareness, and feeling better about myself as a human being in the process. I don’t make one dime off any of my photography, and I am in fact deep in the hole financially because of it. I always tell the guys that carry signs on the corner, that they should probably be lending me some money. I am unemployed, I know for a fact those guys make more than me!

The best way to help:


Doors | On Homelessness


4 thoughts on “Doors | On Homelessness

  1. I’m glad you want to share reality. To focus only on positive things is a distorted picture of the world. There is so much work to be done, and so much each of us can do…. Like my recent post about random acts of kindness. They don’t cost us much, but how much good they can do! Homelessness is everywhere. I wish there were an easy fix.


  2. You are a good man and that’s why you have these thoughts that make you face the desire to share a sad part of our world to raise awareness and the “fear” of getting misunderstood in the process.

    Please forgive my poor English skills.


  3. pi314chron says:

    Jeremy, your photos are, in a very real way, your ministry to the world by being IN the world. Your detractors would do well to experience the world as you experience it daily; then maybe they would understand. But I won’t hold my breath. They are hopelessly “black and white” moralizers who, for fear of doing something wrong, sit on the sidelines of life and do NOTHING at all. Just keep taking the shot the Universe gives you and let the naysayers stew in their own juice.

    Ron – Three Score and Twelve


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