Capturing the homeless

Natalie Blom will exhibit the best of her images. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Natalie Blom will exhibit the best of her images. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

The 26-year-old said the issue of homelessness was often viewed as a distant problem that didn’t occur in Perth, despite many people without a place to call home.

In an effort to raise the issue of youth homelessness, Ms Blom used her six years of experience as a photographer to mentor a young homeless person through the Home is Where My Heart Is (HIWMHI) project. Co-ordinated by the Youth Affairs Council of WA and Propel Youth Arts WA, the project paired eight emerging photographers with young people who had experienced homelessness to capture images that represented ‘home’ to them.

Ms Blom said the young people’s experience of being homeless was diverse, with some living on the streets, in government housing or going through rehabilitation.

‘These youth have seen and lived through hardships that many of us will never have to go through,’ she said.

‘Its a bittersweet feeling when a story is shared with you, because you are saddened by the fact such things had to be experienced by someone so young, and at the same time are grateful they are willing to share the story with you, and the viewers of HIWMHI.’

Ms Blom said she was humbled to have been a mentor, gaining just as much from the experience as the young person.

‘I felt grateful that I have had such a fortunate life and have not had to endure the difficulties so many others do,’ she said.

‘Sometimes the concept of homelessness and poverty seems like something distant that doesn’t happen here, but it does and this fact is driven home by my meetings and discussions with my young person.

‘Homelessness is happening right here, right now.’

Each youth will showcase four of their best images in the HIWMHI exhibition in Northbridge from August 9-18.