For a year, Brisbane “streetie” Johnny has woken up under the Kurilpa Bridge, unseen by most of the city, but a new project aimed at sharing the real stories of Brisbane's homeless could change that. Source: Catholic Leader.
Last month Johnny accepted the challenge to photograph Brisbane as he sees it – under the Kurilpa Bridge – on a disposable Kodak film camera.
It’s part of a competition being run by Brisbane “sanctuary” for the homeless, Catholic group Blind Eye Ministries, which operates a drop-in centre for the vulnerable in South Brisbane.
Volunteer Peter McMahon, who is also a photographer, saw a similar project operating in London and wondered if his homeless mates would take up the challenge in Brisbane.
After a brief training session, Johnny took his camera out on the streets to capture everything he sees under the bridge in a week.
“We all kind of turned into photographers after a little bit,” Johnny said.
“We just wanted to take photos of where we stay … we got a photo of us as a group.
“We know all sorts of little streeties so we went around and had a little photo with the food vans, sandwich van, and some of the people that give out food for us on a Saturday.
“Mainly (it was) just about where we’re staying.”
In one month Johnny and the public will see his photographs for the first time when they’re on display at the Blind Eye Centre.
Blind Eye Ministries director Roby Curtis admitted to being initially sceptical about whether his homeless friends at the centre would get involved.
“I was a bit cynical, to be honest,” Mr Curtis said. “So when we had the four orientation sessions where we spoke about the cameras, by the fourth one there were fifty cameras gone out with all details in the system in the database.
“I personally can’t wait to be inspired by these photos.”
Mr Curtis said outside the drop-in centre were “a whole lot of labels” but the upcoming photo exhibition would be a chance to see from the eyes of a homeless person.
“I love it when you hear the story behind the label because it’s often the story of misfortune, hardship, never having an opportunity from the beginning, never knowing love, whatever it may be,” he said.