“Dutch photographer Jan Banning’s interest in social and political subjects and his skill as a portrait photographer seemed the perfect fit for a story on the American South’s homeless population.
In 2010, Banning was invited to be an artist-in-residence at the 701 Center for Contemporary Art in Columbia, S.C., where they suggested he focus on homelessness for a photography series.
Banning was initially hesitant to take on the project because he felt the often-ignored population was paradoxically ubiquitous in the world of documentary photography. The images seen were typically shot in the same manner: black-and-white, on-location, and, typically, with a sense of despair.
Banning has a history of documenting the forgotten pockets of society from the impoverished in Malawi to women forced into a life of prostitution in Asia and decided that photographing the homeless community in color and in a studio environment would be the best approach to the series.
Banning wrote on his website. “In essence, I want to show who they are rather than what they are labeled.”
‘I’m satisfied with it,’ Banning said about his photographic choices. ‘This is not a popular subject; it’s an extremely unpopular subject.'”