I’m originally from Youghal, County Cork, but I have moved up to Dublin to study photography. Without doubt, the type of image in which I have the most interest is historically documentary and I am especially interested in contemporary documentary photographers.
I want to acknowledge the people who remain anonymous that I met and photographed and my thanks to everyone who supported and advised me in the development of my ideas and how to approach this subject sensitively.
Dillon, S. (2017) Homemade, Available at: (Accessed:___).
The main organisations that mainly campaign for homelessness in Ireland are Focus Ireland and the Simon Community. The most recent organised activism in Dublin has involved the occupation of Apollo House, a vacated office building in the city centre. Defiant and resisting a court order to leave the premises, the urgency of the occupation was expressed in statements that they would continue “kicking in doors” to get the homelessness crisis solved.” But since Christmas, and the departure of the last person taking shelter in Apollo house the organisers call to action is no longer in the public consciousness. I believe if we all come together, something will be done about the homeless crisis in Ireland. The type of photography that has been used to campaign to resolve homelessness and explain the circumstances leading to homelessness in Ireland has been very striking. Many organisations use images of children to remind people that it's not just adults who are affected.
I found it very interesting to go back into my archive and look at all the photographs that I have taken and see if anything more has been done about the homeless crisis since I started to take these photographs at the end of last year. I decided recently to go out and walk the same route, to see if there was less people sleeping on the streets. Nothing had changed. There may be more. What I have learned about myself as a photographer is that it is not as easy as it seems to go out and 'just photograph' what you want. When photographing people, the photographer inevitably subjects a person to a certain point of view, depicting a whole life and all its nuances through the lens. I am also aware that there may be a security issue as well as a privacy issue for the people concerned who may need to keep the whereabouts of ‘their space’ unknown. To report, to adopt the photojournalist style, is very difficult in this case.
It seems now that every time we turn a corner in Dublin there is a homeless person seated on the side of the pavement, along the railings, by the bridge or in the doorway. Over the past year, the crisis of homelessness and the crises in the homeless services have been the subject of more public debate than ever. I wanted to think more deeply about this issue, because I believe that everyone has the right to have a roof over his or her head. It struck me when the international refugee crisis occurred how we responded to the need of people in other countries, while we have still not resolved the matter of homelessness that is not new but continues on and on. As much as this issues has received extra attention in the last 12 months, there is no question for me but that homelessness needs to be addressed even more until something is done about it. In November 2016 there were officially 6985 homeless people in Ireland. This was including adults and families, including children. The number of families who became homeless increased by 40% since 2015. There were 2,549 homeless children in Ireland and 1,205 homeless families living in emergency accommodation.
Taking to the the streets of Dublin at around eight o’clock on a Tuesday morning, I couldn’t believe the amount of homeless people who were getting up and getting ready to move onto their next location for the day. I took a few photographs but none of them felt right. I was walking the back streets up to Aungier Street when I noticed a ‘homemade’ shelter with clothing on top. Rather than intrude on people's privacy, I thought that this was the perfect object to capture what I wanted to portray. This experience of finding many dilemmas attached to photographing people living on the street has made me think differently about these challenges.
You can spend the money on new housing for poor people and the homeless, or you can spend it on a football stadium or a golf course.
- Jello Biafra
"Eight o'clock on a Tuesday morning..."