Homeless are Now, Part of the Art

By Brent M. Jones


Street art has become common and the walls of buildings may be a new venue for modern art.  The same photographers that capture street art often include in their pictures the street people.  Art and photography can inform us and tell us what is being felt.  If the homeless have blended into and become part of the art have they lost their humanness? Did the photographer take it from them?

Colette Brooks wrote the book, “In the City: Random Acts of Awareness”, She said, “that a city person is one who doesn't feel the need to finish a jigsaw puzzle, who relishes jagged edges and orphaned curves, stray bits of data, stories parsed from sentences half overheard on the streets”. She likely just meant those folks walking the sidewalks, going and coming all surrounded with people but no real connections to anyone. 

Is the homeless man now part of the street art less important as a human because he has been captured as part of the painting above? Is he still real and an individual? Will the art outlive him? Will it have more connections? Was his existence just a way for the photographer to tell us what he saw?  Did we take his "humanness" away from him by making him part of the picture?

The question were left with: do we see the homeless? The answer is not easy but the question is what is important.