Many years ago I met a photographer who wanted to come out with me and take images of the homeless. …and I had said no to quite a few before him, even some from NYC and Oakland as well as local, as I felt off about the requests. I felt they were exploitative and I did not want to do that to the folks on our streets.
But Khaaliq was different and I knew it instantly.. not sure why I just did. But I still tested him. I told him to come out for a ride with me and to not bring his camera and just give out backpacks.. just!
That was the test.. was he there to learn about helping the homeless or only document how and where they live and the places I find them?
By the end of that trip I knew he was the real thing and I could tell it had made an impact on him. He was affected and excited by the fact that giving out a supply-filled backpack does make an impact on the person it is gifted to AND the person giving it out.
Ding..it is truly two-fold. You can not be out on the streets, looking for people, searching in places you know they hid from public view to be safe, or finding them in busy locations either asking for help or trying to blend in and no feel something inside of yourself.
When you see first hand how people in our society are living in this day and age it gives you pause, it evokes empathy. It makes you grateful.
And I knew Khaaliq understood that…and that is why I was comfortable with him coming out with me many many times to document what BWB Detroit does for the Homeless.
These images for from a few years ago.. i have no idea where Khaaliq is these days but I am so thankful to him for what he captured.