A Face to Reframe is an organization out of Fort Collins that uses photography to empower marginalized populations by giving them cameras in order to capture their world -- as they see it, not as others do. Last week, the cameras were in the hands of five homeless youth in Denver, and tonight, their work will be on display.
The photographers were identified through Prax(us), a Denver organization that supports youth who are at risk of being exploited for sex or labor.
"Usually, we assign a role to our youth and our participants, and this time, we really wanted to give them all the power to make the decisions and really show who they were," says Lianna Marciniec, a community outreach worker with Prax(us).
The youth took photos over two days. The first day, they captured images that reflect who they are as individuals. The next day, organizers asked them to "brainstorm a common message they'd like to send to a larger audience," says Beth Bruno of A Face to Reframe.
But that wasn't easy, Bruno says. The youth, she says, explained that everyone's experience on the streets is different. "They did kind of come up with somewhat of a photo essay," she notes, "but really what it is is an expression of individuality."
One of the first images in the essay is a photo of a sculpture of steel boots, which Bruno says the youth took to represent that most people don't understand what it's like to walk in their shoes. "That's kind of the theme," she says. "Each of our individual lives and our daily struggles is individual and unique to who we are. Our goals in life are different."
From 7 to 9 p.m. tonight at Gypsy House Cafe, 1279 Marion Street, the photos will be on display in an exhibit called "Uncovering Faces." Some of the youth may be there, as well. For a preview, check out the shots below, complete with captions written by the youth.
More from our Art archives: "Cartoon yard-art garden at Pop's Garage in Lakewood: Kenny Be's Yard Arteology."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.