British photographer Lee Jeffries’ portraits of the homeless are darkly beautiful and deeply sad.
Jeffries’ photographs remind me of the brilliant Walker Evans who chronicled the Great Depression in similarly compassionate and heartrending style.
Jeffries, an accountant by profession, describes the moment he became inspired to dedicate himself to photographing the homeless:
My involvement with the homeless started after an encounter with a young girl in London. She was huddled under a sleeping bag in a doorway in Leicester Square and took offense as I stole a photo from a distance. I was tempted to turn around and leave but something prompted me to go talk to her instead. Her story broke my heart, and changed the way I perceived the homeless. Most of my images are of people I have met on the street, whether in the UK, Europe or the US. The situations presented themselves, and I’ve made an effort to get to know each of the subjects before asking their permission to take their portrait.
In the few years I’ve been doing photography, it has taught me to really ‘see’ people in their everyday environment and to not take the familiar for granted. You have to be aware of what’s going on around you in order to be ready for those decisive moments, to pick up on the subtle and not just the obvious.”
Visit Alafoto.com to view the photographs in larger format. They are stunning.