This week marked the second public showing of “Through the Eyes of the Homeless,” at New York City Hall’s Rotunda. Inspired by a similar recent effort in Paris, the project enlisted five professional photographers to work with 14 homeless or recently homeless individuals, teaching them how to use a camera and helping them select and title the resulting work.
One of the participants, Edwin, holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Lehman College and recently moved into transitional housing in the Bronx. Another, Reginald (pictured), is a native of the U.S. Virigin Islands and is currently working on a book about his epic life trajectory.
After earning a Master’s degree in counseling psychology from Harvard and working on his doctorate, Reginald was drawn back to the Virgin Islands by the death of his father. He worked as a sportscaster for CBS affiliate WBNB-TV and later served in the U.S. Army, seeing combat duty in Grenada:
Following his tour of duty, Reggie was hired by Project Return Foundation Inc., where he rose through the ranks to become their senior director for substance abuse services. As life is filled with many twists and turns, Reggie did a stint in prison for five years, became addicted to crack cocaine and had periods of homelessness from 2009 to the present.
He currently is receiving housing through Urban Pathways and case management services through BRC. Reggie is also in the final stages of his memoir entitled, Up from My Ashes, Saved by His Grace: From Harlem to Harvard to Homelessness, A True Story.
“Through the Eyes of the Homeless” was guided by the NYC Department of Homeless Services and non-profit Heart Gallery NYC, which does similar work with foster children. The project’s highly qualified mentor photographers were Heidi Gutman, Michael Weschler, Aliya Naumoff, Daniel Rosenthal and Deborah Feingold.