You can tell a lot from a face

A few years ago, I used to follow a photo blog called The Snowsuit Effort. It featured photographs of the faces of street people; most lived in Detroit, as I recall. And then it stopped, without explanation, on February 5, 2007.

The web site still exists though. Have a look at these images. Try starting here with the last one and working your way backward. Each one is accompanied by a brief biographical note. 

Not all information about emotions has to be put into words. Sometimes it is best to be silent and watchful. 

These are real people. 

These faces speak the truth about their lives. 

One thought on “You can tell a lot from a face

  1. This is an amazing project. I would really like to find out why the blog stopped. The most striking faces for me are: is http://snowsuit.net/51/ and http://snowsuit.net/436/. Rick’s face, as you say Richard, speaks volumes, but the caption below the photograph actually endeared him to me-he takes responsibility for his actions and his life. This is very noble in my opinion.

    Frank on the other hand clearly has a disability and the emotions stirred are different. Both of these photographs reflect my prejudices and assumptions. Pity and sympathy are the first two emotions I could easily identify-feeling that “the object (in this case Rick and Frank in particular) does not deserve such substantial misfortune,” and the fear that myself or someone I love “may suffer such misfortune” at some point in our lives (Ben-Ze’ev 2000). The people in these photos also appear to feel no shame in their situation. I would assume this because if either Rick or Frank were ashamed of their situation that they would not have agreed to be photographed.

    That being said I also found myself feeling that perhaps the photographer took advantage of these people. Very often those living on the streets are mentally ill (as Joanne’s caption clearly illustrates http://snowsuit.net/34/) or vulnerable in some other way (as Frank’s disability can be seen) and so was this photographer taking advantage of this vulnerable population in order to be awarded the photobloggies award? It would be great to get closure on the photoblog but perhaps this is not how it is done. I visited a few more of the blogs that were listed on the page and some had stopped just as abruptly as The Snowsuit Effort. The photos leave more questions than answers and provide an opportunity for self-reflection.

    Thank you for sharing this Richard. Provides some inspiration for thought, for reflection, and for writing as well.

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