LEE JEFFRIES

THAT MOMENT JUST BEFORE

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The artist

Born in the United Kingdom, Lee Jeffries lives in Manchester and constantly travels to major Western cities to meet people living in the streets, striving to capture their nobility. Formerly an accountant, it was during a marathon he undertook in London that he crossed paths with a young woman snuggled in her sleeping bag near Leicester Square. His perception of homeless people was radically transformed and Lee Jeffries couldn't resist photographing her. This wonderful encounter marked the start of his artistic and social approach: the homeless became his main subjects. This humanist photographer explains that each image is the result of long discussions with each individual, a privileged moment that allows him to establish a connection that is particularly palpable in their gaze. The emotion is in the eyes, explains Lee Jeffries, whose majestic black-and-white portraits enable him to collect funds to assist and bear witness to the difficult living conditions of these isolated individuals.  ... 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

About the artwork

The monochrome portraits made by British photographer Lee Jeffries represent homeless people who he captures as he roams the streets of Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, London, Paris, and Rome. The black-and-white treatment reinforces the contrasts of his frontal images. Reflecting a sense of violence, they capture the furrows of faces worn out by life, wrinkled, blackened and tired. Like this elderly couple who seem to have come a long way together, Lee Jeffries seeks to capture the emotions of the people that he meets in the street. Happiness, sadness, solitude, love ? all seems to show through in this photograph entitled That Moment Just Before . ? 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, he manages to magnify these street walkers, restoring their humanity. The masks fall, showing the damage, suffering, and the passage of time. Just like the photographs of the American Irving Pen, his subjects appear to inhabit a world outside of space and time.

Interview

<div class='question'>How was your passion for photography born?</div><div class='answer'>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, whe...

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Artwork details

Date photograph was taken

28 May 2018

Artwork subject

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