DC is a walking city!  It is very common for residents in the District not to have a car, but walk or bike to and from work.  If you take the same path daily, you will likely see the same faces on the bus, at the stop light, on the train, or handing you some wonderful journalism in the form of Street Sense.  Vendors usually greet those on their morning commutes, offering the publication to those who are ready to read the news and information from the viewpoints of those who see and have seen DC from a very different viewpoint, from the street.    


With the mission to end homelessness in the Washington, DC area, Street Sense Media seeks to accomplish this goal in a way that more cities should adopt.  Street Sense Media empowers people in need with the skills, tools and confidence to succeed, by creating content in print, film, theater, photography, audio, illustration and more, all for the purpose of providing economic opportunity for elevating the voices of people experiencing homelessness.  The content of its media center aims to challenge perceptions of homelessness and those it affects while creating common ground upon which we can build a stronger community.  Those who have joined the street sense family have gone on to use the skills gained to get off the street, enter college, work in media/entertainment, and have also come back to the organization to help uplift and encourage others.          


Street Sense Media held a pop-up to showcase the phenomenal images captured by the photography arm of its organization at IA&A at Hillyer, a contemporary gallery dedicated to serving the public with quality exhibitions and programming. Established in April 2006, IA&A at Hillyer is a program of International Arts & Artists, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing cross-cultural understanding and exposure to the arts internationally through exhibitions, programs, and services to artists, arts institutions, and the public.


Sue Dorfman, Street Sense Media Artist in Residence, lead visitors not just to the images, but to the artists, giving each visitor an opportunity to speak one on one with the photographers, and hearing directly where their inspirations came from and the feelings they hope each image will invoke.   


These images were captured on devices ranging from a cell phone, to top of the line cameras depicting everything from nature, to moments that represent what makes DC truly DC.  A few of the images that stuck out to me were captured by Jennifer McLaughlin, showing the bridge between Southeast DC and Northwest DC, and Reggie Black with a piece called “The Longest Night of the Year” showing a priest performing last rites in an outside setting.  


However, out of all of the wonderful art, the photo that really spoke to me is the photo that I used to headline this piece.  It is from Sasha Williams, an actress (she will be in Timone of DC at GW @ Studio XX in Building XX a Repurposed Church November 15th at 7pm), documentary writer, and photographer who took a picture that shined with light and personality.  It captured a moment that she sees often that will brighten your day.  This moment is of her daughter, Ebony Williams, on halloween, beaming with the excitement that time of year brings to little ones...a type of excitement many of us wish we could recapture in some way.


It was evident that once you join the Street Sense Media family, you have a family that seeks to see you at your best self, maximizing your potential.  Leaving the Pop-up I felt inspired and empowered, and I believe you will too!  Pick up your next issue, and join the Street Sense Media Family!  


To see all of the work by the Street Sense Media Photography Team, visit their Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/street_sense/albums/72157662665357898

Please go to www.streetsensemedia.org to find out more about volunteering and the future events of Street Sense Media.  Camera donations are welcomed, newer cameras 12 Megapixels and Higher - send to Street Sense Media in care of Dani Gilmour.   As part of FotoWeek DC, Street Sense’Media's Pop-Up Event will be on display at IA&A at Hillyer (www.athillyer.org) through the duration of FotoWeekDC  (http://www.fotodc.org/events/2017/11/14/just-perspectives-visions-of-our-world-opening).

Ebony Williams

Ebony Williams

Sue Dorfman, Artist in Residence for Street Sense Media Photography, introduces the Photographers.