Projects / Denver

"Uncovering Faces" was an intensive 3 day project in partnership with Denver based Prax(us). Six youth living on the streets of Denver vulnerable to domestic human trafficking situations were invited to express who they are and develop a common message to a larger audience. The captions and images are all a result of their work. The overarching purpose is to see and hear from a population who is often marginalized, inverting a power paradigm in which they are now the ones who hold authorship.




Denver: Uncovering Faces


Most people think human trafficking is an international problem. But it happens in our own backyard! Some groups are more vulnerable to being trafficked than others. In Denver, on any given night, there are estimated to be 1,135 homeless youth on the street. 10-30% of these will be trafficked or exploited sexually, though some will also be exploited for labor.

Prax(us) is an organization dedicated to ending human trafficking from a simultaneous systemic and street outreach approach. In May, 2011, A Face to Reframe partnered with Prax(us) to offer these youth a visual voice into the world of exploitation. Our goal was to empower them to be the authors of their own social change.

Thank you corporate donors!


White House Custom Colour

Awaken Photography

Redemtech

Butter Cream Cupcakery

Chick Fil A

Starbucks

Noodles and Co.

Uncovering Faces Exhibit


A public exhibit of participants' work can be an intimidating experience, but it is meant to instill another level of dignity. To see one's work being appreciated and valued by others is a part of the process of empowering their voices and honoring their authorship of images used to represent their lives. Public engagement is about hearing and seeing from those we don't hear and see from enough. Sadly, though the participants indicated they would attend, none of them actually did on this evening. The exhibit will travel to other venues throughout the summer and we will continue to advertise in places the youth frequent. Our hope is that they would view with pride, even anonymously, their creation.

Special thanks to Awaken Photography for photographing the event and creating this video.

#1 To Walk in these Shoes


Society perceives the homeless as impatient, lazy, bad people, burdens on society, street rats, and unhappy. People who chose this life, who might rob you. Food handouts perpetuate begging and those who stumble are to be pitied rather than understood that they merely have crippling blisters which cause them to fall. But you don’t know what’s it like to walk in these shoes.

#2 Humanity’s Worth


We are able to contribute, an asset to the greater good.

We should be valued in the working economy because we are hardworking, even if we aren’t working a 9-5 job.

I am generous. It feels good to help people, even though I did give that guy one of my last four dollars.

#3 Making the Best of it


I am free. Happy. I am a good person. I am able to take care of myself, not to be judged by appearances. It’s give and take. I could take advantage of something like shelter that life offers me, but I would rather do it myself. I don’t have to lean on society to survive. Even in times of homelessness, you can still make the best of it. But being free does not equate to personal satisfaction.

#4 One Man Can


People may see the beer can next to a homeless person and assume he is a drunkard. It’s the stereotypical image of homelessness. But pull back.

#5 Imagine More


The reality may be that person is exhausted from working so hard at collecting cans. I used to walk from downtown to the end of Colfax and back twice a day. It’s tiring. You can get depressed about your situation. Negativity can become a collective way of thinking. It can be used as a reason for continuing on.

#6 Hardworking Freedom


It’s harder work than you think it is. Sometimes I want my feet amputated and then prosthetics put on so I don’t have to feel the pain anymore. Walking 3 miles as a homeless person is not the same as another walking 3 miles. People who have homes get to go home and relax and give their feet a rest.

Self-Portraits


The self-portrait portion of the exhibit represents the individual names and faces of the participants, in their unique beauty and story. It is a call to see the individual beneath the “issue.” It is an invitation to reframe with dignity those participants who have shared with us. The images and captions are authored by Angela, Latasha, Joe, Zac, Tony, and Jamal.

Participants: Latasha


Participants: Joe


Participants: Zac


Participants: Jamal


Participants: Angela


Participants: Tony