We spent a few days with the Corvallis Daytime Drop-in Center, a resource hub to help connect people with services and resources around housing security. We set up our studio and asked, “What do you want people to know?” The goal is to craft an answer that is 25 words or less, so that the text fits on the person’s portrait. But of course there is so much more to say than that. So in between portraits, we hung out and we visited.
Some of the people who shared a story were clients. Some volunteers. Others staff. Sometimes I didn’t know which of those boxes a person fit into, but really, it didn’t matter.
The names below are changed.
Marcus had just rolled into town and was trying to figure out where to charge his cell phone. His car was older and he worried about running down the battery in it.
Amy was getting a wound dressed.
Sally talked about the times she had been harassed to keep moving, while resting from the weight of her pack and the blisters on her feet.
Sandra thanked me for “treating everyone the same.” Which made me quite certain, that wasn’t always her experience.
Randall was excited to share a quote, but didn’t want to be identifiable, so we agreed to do the portrait with his hand over his face.
And Carter announced quite firmly on the first day, that there was no chance he was going to be a part of the project. No way, no how. And on the third day, he showed up and said, “I think I’m ready now.”
How would you answer the question?
“What do you want people to know?”