New photo book shines light on Sydney's homeless

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A new photographic book is seeking to shine a light on Sydney's homeless community, while also showing the lives of those affected by homelessness with dignity, identity and voice.

Featuring images captured by Sydney photographer and human rights lawyer Livingston Armytage, the images in Homeless: Hidden in Plain Sight took Armytage more than a year to capture.

This included four to five months meeting and talking with homeless people across Sydney, 'rough sleeping’ on the streets of Newtown, doing late night shoots, and after midnight, taking the night trains for the last stragglers home beyond Wollongong, while also returning with the early risers the following morning.

Image: Livingstone Armytage
Image: Livingston Armytage

He says the images in the collection offer compassionate insights for the viewer and the opportunity to see people affected by homelessness with 'fresh eyes'.

"In these photographs, I focus on the spaces occupied by the homeless on city streets, in parks, stations and trains. They are starkly public," he says.

"The stories of the homeless are many. Child abuse, severe injury, psychosis are common. There is often substance abuse though it is usually a symptom, rarely the cause. There is always poverty, then trauma."

Image: Livingstone Armytage
Image: Livingston Armytage

“One bad knock too many, and a life’s balance can be shattered. It’s a frightening prospect."

"All that separates them from us is about two pay-packets.”

For the series, Armytage says he captured more than 5,000 images, with about 100 being selected for publication.

He says Homeless asks us to stop and consider the diverse faces and stories of homelessness, and what we can do to ensure everyone has a place to call home.

The 112-page book is available now in North American (US, Canada, Mexico) at Chatwin Books and in Europe and Australia via T&G Publishing.

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