RIVER NORTH — Homeless Chicagoans see the city in a way many others never do. This weekend, you can see Chicago through their eyes at a new photo exhibit.
Catholic Charities, 721 N. LaSalle St., will showcase the work of more than 50 photographers who are homeless or at risk of homelessness at its 15th annual After Supper Visions exhibit. The opening reception is from 5-7 p.m. Friday and the show will continue from 1-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Photo taken by Deborah
"It’s an amazing event and a chance to break down the barriers and walls that so many of us have put up and really see the homeless artists as individuals" Catholic Charities spokeswoman Kristine Kappel said.
The artists begin as guests of Catholic Charities supper program, which serves meals to approximately 130 people on weekdays. On Tuesday nights after dinner, local photographers lead a program on photography for any interested guests.
From September through January, participants of the After Suppers Visions program are given disposable cameras and encouraged to capture images that represent their unique points of view around the city. They then choose three to five of their best photos to be displayed at the exhibit.
Photo taken by Mike B.
Those who attend the event this weekend will be able to meet the photographers and buy prints, notecards or magnets of the images. Items can also be bought online. The artists will be able to use the profits to pay for security deposits, utility bills, food or even digital cameras to continue their photography.
Mike B., one of the artists, has gone on to earn paid photography assignments after participating in the After Supper Visions program.
Photo taken by Vernon
The volunteer-run program was started by a social worker who wanted to give participants an artistic outlet and show their perspective of the city.
“I like to take pictures of the places I used to stay at when I was homeless," said James, one of the photographers. "These photos remind me of my past, and the After Supper Visions Program is helping me move forward to a better place.”
Photo taken by Neal
“The reason why I take pictures is because it makes me feel good about myself," said Sandra, another photographer. "I need something positive to do. Photography is a nice thing to do, indoors and outdoors. Just holding a camera makes me feel special.”