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About the artwork

The monochrome portraits made by British photographer Lee Jeffries represent homeless people that he captures as he roams the streets of Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, London, Paris, and Rome. The black-and-white treatment strengthens the contrasts of the frontal images of the "Homeless" series that the photograph Pierre belongs to. Reflecting a sense of violence, they capture the furrows of faces worn out by life, wrinkled, blackened and tired. "Irrespective of their age, homeless people have their past tattooed on their skin," he says. Without make-up or staging, with the exception of a basic reflector that can sometimes be glimpsed in the pupils of his models, Lee Jeffries manages to magnify these street sleepers, restoring their humanity through the prism of his lens. The masks fall, showing the damage, suffering and the passage of time. Just like the photographs by the American Irving Pen, his models appear to inhabit a world outside of space and time.

Interview

How was your passion for photography born?
I'm a romantic. I’ve spent the entirety of my adult life searching for something. In my 20’s and 30’s I hadn’t a clue what that was. It was only in my 40’s, when I first picked up a camera, that I ...

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The artist

Originally from the UK, Lee Jeffries lives in Manchester and endlessly roams big Western cities looking for the inhabitants of those streets, hoping to reveal their nobility. Previously an accountant, during the 2008 London marathon he spotted a young woman huddled in her sleeping bag close to Leicester Square. His vision of the homeless was shaken and Lee Jeffries couldn’t help but take a photograph. This tremendous encounter marked the beginning of an artistic and social undertaking: the homeless become his principal (and only) subjects. The humanist photographer explains that each image comes as a result of a long discussion. a privileged moment that establishes a connection which can be felt specifically in the subject’s gaze. “Emotion is in the eyes,” says Lee Jeffries, whose majestic black and white portraits help raise funds for the homeless and bear witness to the difficult life conditions of these isolated people, forgotten and broken by a life of suffering.  ... See more See less

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I feel their loneliness, despair and pain. More often than not, and whilst it may sound pretentious, I will find myself in tears for them. My images represent my final goodbye to a relationship built on authenticity

LEE JEFFRIES

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