As soon as you step out and focus on someone other than yourself, it opens up a whole other world.”

Neil Shigley

Portraits of the Homeless. Helping people find humanity.

They are to most of us, invisible. They are the homeless.

It began with one portrait of Willie, a Vietnam veteran.

In 2005, I set out on a journey to capture the incredible character that life on the streets has allotted the homeless in their daily struggle for survival on downtown city streets.

What I found was unexpected-that beauty, dignity, strength and a desire to connect were present in each person I encountered, resting just beneath the surface.

This was when my endeavor to bring awareness to the issue of homelessness on the streets of San Diego became my passion project.

The ‘Invisible People Project’ is a powerful intersection of art and society. While each portrait is artistic, they present an opportunity for others to witness the reality of a stranger’s existence.

This artwork highlights a population that experiences gross inequities, exclusion and lack of access to critical services such as dental, medical and psychological care as well as housing, which in turn prolongs homelessness (unless they connect with a service provider). They also face physical danger, especially women. 

My pursuit is aimed at telling stories through these portraits to help others truly see the homeless demographic as human beings. I want to create awareness and influence change whether it’s on an individual or societal level. After all, we’re all in this together.