Photographer Takes Striking Portraits of The Homeless

Most photos of people experiencing homelessness are unflattering, but this photographer wants you to see them in a new light with his stylized portraits. 📾

Making Glamorous Portraits of NYC's Homeless

Empowering photographer Steve Fiehl is capturing New York's homeless in a different light. “I don't want anyone to feel anything. You have your own feelings and I will respect any kind of reactions to this. What I just hope is that people will look at people on the street because they used to meet homeless people on the street in a different way, that maybe they would try maybe to talk with them. They're not obliged to give them money but just saying hello, just considering them as human beings, I mean that would be a huge achievement for me.” Fiehl states in the interview.

His photo series, titled Resilient Souls, is a combination of documentary-style photography and striking, glamorous portraits. “There are a lot of photographs about homeless people in the street, but the thing is we see them in the street ⁠— dirty, with a lot of hair, old man, and sometimes lost, drugs, in a condition that makes us very distant from them because we see a homeless person. We don't see a human being. So, what I decided to do is going in those shelters and, especially in the programs of this leading NGO for homeless people here in New York called The Bowery Mission, is to go beyond this label and to discover who those people were. And, when you see them shaved with a shirt like you and me in fact, then suddenly the distance is not that far and you start talking with them and discover that they may be much wiser than you think they are and much wiser than you and me.” Fiehl concludes.

Before taking any photos, Fiehl immersed himself in the day-to-day life of The Bowery Mission — a downtown shelter that provides meals, beds, clothing, medical care to hundreds of those experiencing homelessness every year.