Struggling in America is comprised of photographs and interviews with families and individuals facing severe financial hardship, poverty, and homelessness.
I have been partnering with food pantries, homeless shelters, and soup kitchens to photograph and interview individuals and families who are struggling every day to get by in this country. I have been traveling through parts of the United States, photographing and interviewing people. My goal is to gather more photographs and interviews throughout the country, resulting in a book and an exhibition. I have also been photographing and interviewing the volunteer workers at these agencies.
I feel that food banks, pantries, and soup kitchens represent a community meeting ground where people in need of help and volunteers who are willing to give of their time and resources, come together in a synergistic way. In my experience, the people who volunteer to help others in this way represent the best qualities of the American spirit.
Most people in this country are insulated from the level of economic challenges and poverty that countless families and individuals deal with. Many Americans have preconceptions of who these people are. I am certain this is an issue many more people would be concerned about and sympathetic to, if they were more aware of the circumstances that resulted in people living with this challenging reality.
A brief interview accompanies each photograph with a description of each person's situation in their own words.
I have been providing photographs to the homeless shelters, food banks, and other agencies in exchange for their assistance in connecting me with people who are willing to be part of this project. The photographs I have provided have been used in annual reports, websites, and for large photographic displays in the agencies' lobbies and offices.
My work on this project has reminded me that given different life circumstances, these photographs could just as easily be of me, my family, or close friends. My goal in creating this body of work is to spark that realization in others and inspire them to take action on this issue.
“My intention is to utilize the power of photography to help change the world for the better ”
~ Owen Kahn