Introduction Page


I am pleased that you made your way to Homelessimages.com. This is a photographic and videographic record of my experiences with the homeless that I met during my explorations of the streets of San Francisco. I have met with, interviewed, and in some cases came to know quite well, more than 275 homeless people thus far. I have kept records, releases and identifying images of each person. All photography and video was done with their explicit permission.

This experience with the homeless has been very meaningful for me. I have come to gain an understanding of the stresses and difficulties the homeless experience on a daily basis. I have gained an appreciation for the ingenuity that most display in going about their lives in a rather hostile environment. Let there be no mistake about it, life on the street is tough and fraught with danger. I was amazed by how very little complaining I heard. The complaint most heard was how terrible it feels to be responded to as if they simply didn't exist. Rather, many said that they would prefer that a passerby say something like 'go f**k yourself, you lazy bastard, get a job' rather than look away as they passed. However, most seemed to recognize that the looking away represented the public's disturbing conflict about the homeless situation.

During the hundreds of hours of exploration and hundreds of contacts, I was responded to in a hostile manner very, very infrequently. Almost universally, people were quite willing and often enthusiastic to tell their stories. Consistently I heard accounts of dysfunctional families of origin, untreated serious addiction and mental illness and a few bad breaks to many. Almost constantly I was reminded how fortunate most of us are having a place called home. Often the thought occurred to me that 'There but for the grace of God, go I'. Perhaps that should be the title for the project.

I am finished gathering more material for the moment but I have much more to install on the web site. My hope would be to encounter a documentary video producer or a possible publisher for the vast pool of photographic images in my collection.

I feel strongly that the homeless story needs to have more public exposure and understanding. If you, the viewer, are either of the above I would welcome your response.

In peace,
Chuck Ferris MD

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