Ensuring the right to remain human is a struggle for justice that extends beyond the legal system and into our neighborhoods. San Francisco artist Joe Ramos upholds the humanness of people who are often categorized, overlooked and sadly, even sometimes despised. Ramos’s work is featured in a current show, “A Home for the Homeless, Artists and Poets in search of an answer” at Alley Cat Books in San Francisco. There is a closing reception on Friday, August 26th at 6 pm. I advise you to go and see this beautiful work in person.
Ramos began providing portrait sittings in 2006 through the organization Project Homeless Connect, which offers medical and social services to the San Francisco homeless population. He has been providing portraits ever since, up to six times per year. His sitters include people living on the street, in the shelter system, in vehicles, and families with children who are in the school system yet have no permanent residence. After processing his photographs in Photoshop and printing them, Ramos sends a copy to the sitter, or to the sitter’s family if so requested. The subjects sometimes use the photographs to let family members know where they are and how they are doing.
Ramos studied photography with Richard Conrat, who was Dorthea Lange’s last assistant, and the connection shows. He captures his subjects with an honesty and sense of documentary reminiscent of Lange’s work, but with a greater hopefulness. Through his lens, one sees a tender and honest regard for his subjects. One sees the sitter’s beauty as a fellow human.
You can find out more about Joe Ramos and his work at his website: http://www.joeramosphotography.com/