Where We stand, is a show about giving voice to often-marginalized members of society. This is a showcase of work done by Anna Gaby-Trotz, Boyle Street Community Services artist in residence, and artists at Boyle Street. It highlights the strength and fragility found in the people who make Boyle Street Community Services a true community centre.
The difference between taking a photograph and photographing a person is huge. I chose to photograph the community in as much detail as I could with a plain background to allow the subject to be the focus of each image. I want these portraits to reflect the strong and resilient people I have met at Boyle Street. I want them to speak about the struggles and triumphs of the people who use the services of Boyle Street and who work here.
The title of each of these photographs is a six-word biography that each person was asked to write after being photographed. The biographies give the subjects in these images the chance to shape how the viewer sees them. All participants in this project were aware that this work would be exhibited in a gallery space. These are not anonymous portraits of the homeless, nearly homeless, or staff who work with the homeless. They are portraits of people who are survivors. They are portraits of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and friends. These are portraits of some of the strongest people I have ever met. They are photographs taken from the margins of society in the hopes that viewers will see themselves reflected in these portraits.
I am most grateful to Boyle Street Community Services for allowing me to make this work. I am also thankful to the Edmonton Arts Council for the support they gave. Finally, I would like to thank Marika Chandler for her help gathering the six work biographies.