Homeless eye’s view of street life
Equipped only with disposable cameras and the clothes on his back, a homeless Auckland man has captured a very different view of city life.
Rough Sleeper is an exhibition of photos taken by former homeless man Gary, and will feature at the Auckland Festival of Photography, which opens on Friday.
The shots were taken on simple disposable cameras on his daily travels around the central city.
With no photographic experience, Gary says he simply started by taking pictures of buildings and the people.
He says there is meaning behind each one.
“There’s a story to each photo,” he says.
“Each building has an association with me.”
For example, his favourite shot of his shadow outside St Patrick’s Cathedral symbolised a turning point for him.
“It showed me something,” he says. “It has a relevance to my future and how I want to be seen.”
Another shot, of a man’s back as he crosses the busy intersection of Queen St and Victoria St, is one of the many human observations Gary enjoyed making.
“I would just look at people, in particular how they walked.
“This was just a wonderful scene of human reaction and body language.”
Although he has had intermittent periods of work, Gary has been homeless for most of the past 13 years.
He featured on TV3’s 60 Minutes programme last year in which he bravely spoke about his homeless lifestyle and the gambling problems that started it.
Now he says he is trying to get resettled, living in a small flat in Mt Eden and volunteering two days a week at the Auckland City Mission.
He plans to attend the opening of the festival on Friday where he’ll see his photos displayed as a collection for the first time.
Now in its sixth year, the Auckland Festival of Photography will feature 64 exhibitions spread throughout the city.
This year’s highlight is the Magnum Night Lights exhibition, which will see the work of five photographers from the renowned Magnum Photography Agency projected on to city buildings.
Festival organiser Julia Durkin says scoring the Magnum exhibition was a huge coup and says the free festival is the perfect way to experience some of New Zealand’s top artists and culture.
“It will be the perfect tonic in these cash-strapped times,” she says.
For information on the exhibitions at this year’s festival, which runs until June 21, visit www.photography festival.org.nz.
Life’s lens: Gary’s photos of life on the streets are at the Auckland Festival of Photography.