Dead End. Twelve Months of Homeless Dying on the Streets of Anchorage

Dirk Spennemann (Photographer)

Research output: Non-textual outputs, including Creative WorksCreative Works - Original - Visual art works

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Abstract

In total nineteen homeless men and women died on the streets of Anchorage in the twelve month period between 7 May 2009 and 18 April 2010.*) This amounts to almost 5% of the total homeless population in Anchorage, estimated at about 400 persons. In total, the number of homeless deaths in the streets exceeded that annual homicide total for the city. For a visitor, the death rate is shocking. The topology of death on the streets is stark: park benches, scrub land, roadside ditches and even a rubbish compactor. Each case is depressing in itself, but cumulatively it creates a litany of a desolate urban wasteland. With their fuzzy black edges, the images in this exhibit have a strong visual affinity with a TV screen through which much of the public views the world around us. Yet, on the evening news, these deaths are reduced to momentary glimpses in a flickering modern visual universe. Even when we encounter the homeless personally, as we go about our daily lives, we mostly do so from the safe haven of our cars, the wound-up windows safely shutting out the real world. The images in this exhibition are the stark and unembellished reality of death on the streets. The cross hairs and the cold-steel targeting aid of the camera viewfinder give the images an additional raw edge: death is stalking the lonely on cold streets.All bar one of the locations were photographed on a single day in late April 2010. The images were taken with the through the viewfinder technique of photography, pairing a traditional film camera, in this case a Fairchild F-8 aerial camera of World War II vintage, with a modern digital camera. Published as book with ISBN.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAnchorage, Alaska
PublisherGallery of Contemporary Art
Media of outputArtwork
SizeSolo photographic exhibition, also online
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventDead End. Twelve Months of Homeless Dying on the Streets of Anchorage -
Duration: 21 Jan 201113 Feb 2011

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