Acknowledged

For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Jeffers
(415) 557-4282; mjeffers@sfpl.org

January 19, 2012

Acknowledged

Portraits by Joe Ramos for Project Homeless Connect

The San Francisco Public Library is pleased to present the exhibition, Acknowledged, featuring portraits of Project Homeless Connect clients taken by San Francisco photographer Joe Ramos. The photographs are on view January 28-March 25, in the San Francisco Main Library’s Jewett Gallery, 100 Larkin St.

Ramos began photographing the clients of Project Homeless Connect* in 2006, with his goal to give a personal face and voice to homelessness. All of the individuals that Ramos photographed agreed to have their pictures taken and were later given copies of the portraits.

Photo of EthelAn example includes the portrait Ethel. A descendant of Abraham Lincoln and also part Native American, Ethel sought stardom in Hollywood and eventually landed in San Francisco, pregnant at the time. She came to PHC to seek access to medical services, which led to her volunteering for the organization. Her desire to be photographed was, as she said, so she had “something to show my brother, to reassure him that I’m doing okay.”

Photo of Vanessa, Garry and their sonIn another photograph, Vanessa, Garry and Son, the viewer might not think that this family was dealing with homelessness because they look like the quintessential young family. Originally from Victorville, Calif., they moved to San Francisco to get away from a toxic drug environment. At the time of their portrait they had been living in a family shelter for several months. “Our son doesn’t even realize we were homeless.” Vanessa commented.

*The mission of Project Homeless Connect (PHC) is to provide a single location where nonprofit medical and social service providers collaborate to serve the homeless of San Francisco with comprehensive, holistic services.

About Photographer Joe Ramos:

Originally from the Salinas Valley, San Francisco photographer Joe Ramos has been photographing for more than 40 years. He studied photography at the San Francisco Art Institute with Richard Conrat, Dorothea Lange’s last assistant. He considers himself a documentary photographer and has large bodies of imagery from the Salinas Valley and San Francisco’s Mission District.

Ramos is most comfortable taking portraits which is evident in his images of people in his documentary work. His sensitivity towards his subjects and the trust they give in return imbue his images with great strength.

Since 2006 he has been taking portraits for San Francisco’s Project Homeless Connect, a non-profit that offers services to the city’s poor and homeless in bimonthly events held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. He has taken more than 1,000 portraits at these events and the archive of images from Project Homeless Connect has become a compendium of compelling portraits. Find more information at http://www.joeramosphotography.com

Related Programs:

Opening program: A Community’s Response to Homelessness – A panel discussion by homeless advocates and clients. Speakers include photographer Joe Ramos; Rann Parker, director of the homeless outreach team at Project Homeless Connect; Kendra Stewardson, a Jefferson Award Winner, a homeless veteran and coordinator of the first Veteran’s Connect; Presidential Service Award recipient Henry Belton, a former Project Homeless Connect client  and employee, and Judith Klain, former director and founder of Project Homeless Connect. Jan. 28, 2 p.m., Main Library, Lower Level, Koret Auditorium.

Documentary Screening: Hope on the Streets followed by a Q & A with filmmaker Michael Isip. Feb. 23, 6 p.m. Main Library, Lower Level, Koret Auditorium.

The Growing Home Community Garden Tour and Talk: Tour of the Project Homeless Connect Hayes Valley Community Garden, where both homeless and housed San Franciscans work side by side to grow nutritious food, access green space and build community. March 15, 2 p.m., corner of Octavia and Lily streets. Space is limited, register for the tour and talk by sending an email to publicaffairs@sfpl.org and include Growing Home Garden Tour in the subject line of the email. You may also register via phone at (415) 557-4277.