Photographs taken by rough sleepers in Nottingham are being displayed at an exhibition to show their experiences of life on the streets.

From railway lines to hostels, the Stories of the Streets exhibition at the Broadmarsh shopping centre is displaying over 200 photographs taken by rough sleepers.

Organised by social enterprise People of the Streets, the project involved giving homeless people disposable cameras to snapshot their lives in the city.

‘We Are Imperfect’ taken by David King

The free exhibition, supported by Emmanuel House and Canaan Trust, aims to challenge the stigma surrounding homelessness and raise money for essentials to give to rough sleepers.

It was set up by Charles Kerr, Alex Greenhalgh and Qas Hussain, who are all third-year students at the University of Nottingham.

“There’s more than sleeping in an alleyway”
Charles Kerr, Stories of the Streets

Managing Director Charles says the idea was formed as an alternative way of helping homeless people, after seeing a council advertising campaign urging people not to give them money.

The launch night of the exhibition. Credit: Stories of the Streets

He said, “there’s more than sleeping in an alleyway. We really want to change perceptions of homelessness and provide a way people can help.”

“You feel like an animal”
Paul McKenzie, Photographer and Rough Sleeper

“From the start we wanted to work with the homeless community to develop something delivered through them,” he added.

AUDIO: Co-Founder Alex Greenhalgh talks about the impacts of the project.

One of the fourteen photographers is Paul McKenzie, who has slept rough on the city’s streets for the past four months.

Mr McKenzie says being homeless makes ‘you feel like an animal’, but the exhibition has humanised the photographers.

VIDEO: Photographer Paul McKenzie explains what his photo is about

“It makes us feel like we’re part of society even though we’re not really,” he added.

He hopes the exhibition will “show homeless people doing things people never noticed before, so they will see homelessness in a different way.”

Homelessness and rough sleeping figures in the UK are at an all-time high

  • Being homeless includes rough sleeping, living in temporary accommodation and ‘sofa surfing’ between different friends and family
  • One in every 200 people in the UK are homeless
  • Over 4,000 people sleep rough every night
  • The Homelessness Reduction Act aims to tackle homelessness, with £550million being invested until 2020

Statistics from Shelter

The exhibition has been set up as rough sleeping in Nottingham reaches a twenty year high, with over thirty people sleeping rough on the streets every night.

The project has had a positive reaction from the public

As a result, Nottingham City Council has invested £50,000 to extend its No Second Night Out scheme, providing an extra 32 beds for rough sleepers.

Framed prints are available to buy at the exhibition and online, with sales being divided between the photographers to provide accommodation and meals.

There are also plans to expand the scheme to other cities across the UK, including Manchester and Brighton.

Stories of the Streets is open every day at the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre. 

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