de Saisset Museum

South Bay's free museum of art and history

The Changing Face of Homelessness: A Collection of Portraits by Santa Clara University Photography Students

July 29 - November 6, 2011

Moreno & Fuhrman

When a photograph is created from a place of empathy, compassion, and consciousness, it's not only a beautiful piece of art, but has the ability to provoke awareness in a viewer and to help bring positive change to our society.

                                                        — Renee Billingslea, Lecturer, Santa Clara University


The Changing Face of Homelessness features a collection of portraits created by Santa Clara University students who enrolled in the course Exploring Society through Photography, taught by Renee Billingslea from 2006-2011. In addition to learning camera function and examining ethics in photography, students visited local shelters and got to know individuals and families experiencing extreme poverty. Midway through the quarter, students held a "portrait day" and everyone living in the inn was invited to have their portrait taken free of charge. Later, they were given copies of the photographs.

Students haven taken great care to ensure that individuals are shown in a positive light as a continuing process of breaking down stereotypes perpetuated by our society. Oftentimes, the difference between the homeless population and ourselves is circumstance.

Images: Photograph by Katie Moreno (left). Photograph by Jacki Fuhrman (right).