The Connection runs a photography workshop which provides disposable cameras and encourages people to express themselves, and share their experiences through photography.
Phillip has been involved in the project and started taking photos of homelessness. He has experienced homelessness himself, so each of his pictures tells a story, and provides a unique insight into the dangers and harsh reality of life on the streets of London.
Phillip says: “When you go around carrying a camera you want to take pictures of everything – you get into another world and I was chasing the thrill of trying to get the best picture all the time which I enjoyed. You can come up with a lot of interesting things – pictures show you something you are not aware of. I have been homeless myself and when I look at these pictures I see just how deep the homeless problem is. When I saw homelessness from these pictures, it brought back a sense of what my life has turned into. That made me rethink and challenge myself again and again about my homeless situation.”
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The street is not a good place for girls or women. I still remember one day I woke up there was someone sleeping next to me and I saw it was just a little girl. I could tell she was homeless but she was afraid to sleep by herself so she came and slept by me. But, I woke before her and when she woke she jumped and I could tell she was scared and I tried to make it easy for her, I asked if she was ok.
Near Embankment station there are some beautiful gardens where they take out the deck chairs for the summer period. They host some music events and people sit in those chairs and enjoy the entertainment. During lunchtime office workers sit there and dive on their sandwich. But early in the morning, before all that, when the park opens you’ll find homeless people lying in those chairs. Most of them didn’t sleep all night so sleep there during the morning.
This is an extraordinary picture because some people can sleep with nothing no matter how cold it is – and I don’t know whether they do fall asleep. It’s very early in the morning – there are 2 worlds: city life and homelessness. The guy on the other side of that window is doing business while the man sleeps outside.
This guy is sleeping outside the opera house in Covent Garden –next to him there is a can of lager. I do not drink. I have a lot of people who would drink – to get them to sleep. You can’t sleep sober. Drinking alcohol and homelessness is tied together. The bad thing that I’ve noticed is that drinking destroys them.
I took this photo of a guy sleeping next to the road because if he rolls at night he will be run over by a car. But, there’s a reason he sleeps there – there’s a fan by the restaurant so it blows out hot air, but on the other side it’s a road. It’s a dangerous situation but when you are on the street most things don’t matter, it’s what you need at that moment and if you need warmth then you don’t consider anything else. Now looking at it I can see the dangers are obvious.