This summer, several homeless New Yorkers were each given a camera and told to shoot "that which they hoped others might see." Their arresting photographs are currently displayed at the Bowery Mission under the title: "Through My Lens: A Photographic Survey from Society's Margins."

Jason Storbakken, the director of chapel and compassionate care at the Mission, curated the show. He elaborates:

When the cameras were returned, the film was developed into a digital format. The photographer and I then sat and each person walked me through their photographs. The photographer told me the story of each photo and I wrote down their words. They then had the opportunity to edit the photo (e.g., crop the image, change the color or contrast, etc.). Thus, they had full creative control over these images and the stories they tell.

Through this project the photographer is an active participant, an artist, a documentarian, they become both object and subject as they decide. Through this project we attempt to subvert the invisibilization and objectification of the underclass, outcast, oppressed, homeless, hungry, hurting, poor but often hope-filled by allowing others to view life “through my lens.”

The photos are available for viewing on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. until January 17th as part of the Mission's Lower East Side Art Drive, a fundraiser that will assist the Mission in their goal of helping those in need.

You can make a donation here.