Voiceless Faces Project

what is the project?

The idea is to give voice to homeless people by interviewing, photographing, and writing their memories, thoughts, and life scenes. The project is a modest attempt to get to know them not only through the prism of their homelessness, bringing to light the humanity and wisdom that can be found in this highly diverse group of individuals.

what kind of writing?

The fragments are direct quotes and thoughts expressed during the interview with little processing. Some are written into a short story based on the words and details given in the interview. The goal is to respect the underlying text, preserve its elements, avoid distortions, and use all the details provided during the entire interview. Why process the raw interview at all? Given the discursive nature of a conversation, the details of one story or thought are often spread throughout the interview. Without any processing, important elements may go unnoticed, which is why completely untouched, spontaneous interviews are almost nonexistent. That said, the words and thoughts expressed by the person are often verbatim, as can be heard on the audio snippets.

what kind of interviews?

The interviews were conducted as a series of questions, but the individuals frequently led the conversation where they wished. Whenever appropriate, as many details as possible of certain memories, scenes, and thoughts were requested. Some answered, some left unspoken.

audio snippets

Only very small parts of the taped interviews are uploaded to the website. However, every interview is documented and saved in its entirety in our archives.

read all entries by the same person

At the end of each blog entry there is a link to all the entries relating to that person. You can also find a person under People. The number of entries for each individual reflects the length of the interview and the topics the person chose to talk about.

why faces?

There is something humanizing and equalizing in a face. It is also expressive, telling a story beyond a person’s body, clothes, and environment; a story that is often lost in the presence of these other elements.

If a person felt uncomfortable with a portrait, but agreed to other photos (e.g. hands, objects), then only those were taken.

consent

Diligent care was taken to explain the project and the uses of the interview, audio, and photos to the people who agreed to participate. Consent was asked before an interview, and then again at the end of it. Only people who felt comfortable with the idea both before and after were included in the project.

When a person felt more comfortable with a pseudonym, one was used.

where’s the project taking place?

In the San Francisco Bay Area.

what’s the timeline?

Currently there is no defined endpoint. We interview, document, then write, one scene at a time.