a project of homeless individuals revealing their most valubale possessions.
Prized possession is a project about materialism, homelessness, and connection through the human story.
I approached homeless individuals in Denver, Colorado with one simple question.
“What is your most prized possession?”
They were then given the chance to share their story, the story of this prized possession, and pose for a portrait with their answer.
Possession is defined as
3. the state of having, owning, or controlling something.
To prize something, or value something, is defined as
1. the importance or preciousness of something
2. the regard that something is held to deserve
3. considering something to be beneficial
There are two main objectives to this project. The first is to examine the way in which we relate to “things”, from people in our society who have the fewest material goods. The second, is to humanize the epidemic of homelessness in this country, by giving homeless individuals a chance to share their personal journeys. This population are largely categorized as a problem. By empowering some of them with a chance to share their stories, we are reminded, these are unique humans, like each of us. And we can learn from them.
Upon returning to the United States after living overseas for several years, I was struck by two very apparent things taking place here.
The first was the epidemic of homelessness in my native country. Masses of people living on the streets. Human beings, in our cities, without homes. There are an estimated 11 thousand homeless individuals in Denver. Across the United States there are over 600 thousand homeless individuals. 600,000.
The second, is our addiction to consumerism/materialism. We want more. Our society operates in a way where we are able acquire new things, when we want. Walk into any store. Look at advertising. Often, the message is, you are less than, unless you have this product. We are surrounded by it, often unknowingly. Does this lessen the appreciation of the things we currently own? Messages that infiltrate us from the outside are dominated by acquiring more externally, than looking inside for happiness.
Materialism is defined as
1. a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values
Possessions come and go. The emotional attachment with them remains eternal. What do each of us treasure in our heart and soul? And why?
What is your most prized possession? The answers stem from an array of places such as emotional comfort, survival needs, to sentimental value and many more. Ponder these questions as you enjoy people opening up to share their stories and reasons for valuing what they do.