“I see glimpses of some thing wonderful, but I don’t arrive at hold it”

Reading Period: 6 minutes

When Curtis’s father died and his loved ones lost their home, his life began to spiral out of control. As part of the CALM x 1854 Homeless Truths commission, a new number of Polaroids sheds light in the experience of homelessness

Curtis was not always certain about taking part in the CALM x 1854 Homeless Truths commission. “I have never already been a photograph person, ” he says.   And besides, was his experience of homelessness a story he wanted to tell. “I come from a proud family. And I have a great deal of pride. ”

But then something changed. “A lightbulb arrived on, ” says Curtis, “and I was really taken with the project. ” Organized by 1854 in cooperation with Marketing campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – the UK-based charity that works to avoid suicide – the commission payment offers a frank and unfiltered insight into homelessness in London, informed through the medium of pictures.  

The project’s participants were each given the Polaroid camera and, with all the support and guidance of documentary photographer Inzajeano Latif, tasked with creating a number of images that speaks of their experiences. Latif’s work concentrates on giving a voice to individuals who are often overlooked by society.   This project is no different; over the course of nine months, Latif created an entire body of work that tells the stories of 5 individuals who have all experienced homelessness at some point in their life.  

1854 x CALM: Homeless Truths © Inzajeano Latif 2021

“It was very much about building faith and trust in each other, and then things just began to flow. ”

-Inzajeano Latif

Latif first met Curtis in late -2020. At first, the two would simply talk, both on the phone plus face to face. “It was greatly about building faith plus trust in each other, ” says Latif, “and then elements just started to flow. ” The two would often talk about photography. “It began to sound right, ” says Curtis. “I started to think, ‘Could We translate everything I have been through in my life into this form of art? ’” Three months after Curtis was first provided a camera, he began to consider photographs.

Curtis was used with the fervour that comes with producing an image. “Pressing that shutter was just like hitting the target, ” he says. “If I was in a boxing combat, it would be like throwing a good punch. I really get myself into a stance when I take a photograph. I straighten upward and focus all my power. I put everything in it. ” Curtis was also confident to learn. “He worked very hard and he was so diligent, ” says Latif. “He was always thinking about the light and the composition. He would frequently return to something he took pictures of multiple times to get that shot exactly right, – making sure the version in his head translated to a photograph;. The version that best pertains to his story. ”

Curtis’s approach was to photograph scenes from his life: – places of significance, issues that have meaning. The resulting images are striking within their honesty. They do not shy away or even sugarcoat; rather, they are upfront, emotional, provocative. “This was your house [that] me and the family were living in after we dropped the family home.   In one point this house got burgled which wound up in me going AWOL, sending me off the rails, ” reads one caption. “This was the spot exactly where I was involved in an incident that was partly an accident landing me personally in prison again plus led to me being homeless for the 7th time!!! ”, reads another.  

Curtis has lived in London their whole life. He grew up in East Dulwich in a home he shared with his  mom, father, brother and cousin. His father was a dark cab driver and his mom, a social worker. They might often foster children. “We were that family that always had space for somebody if they needed a place to stay, ” says Curtis. “There might always be more than enough food if you were hungry. ”

1854 x CALM: Homeless Truths © Inzajeano Latif 2021

1854 x CALM: Homeless Truths © Inzajeano Latif 2021

Items became difficult for Curtis when his father died. The family lost their home in the stock market recession and Curtis began to struggle with his psychological health. “I took my dad’s passing really poor and was really depressed for a few years, ” he says. “I was 23 and since then my entire life has been anything but normal; spiralling out of control at times, getting from bad to worse and ending up with me being sent to prisons all over. ” During this period, Curtis has experienced several periods of homelessness. “Honestly, since I went to prison, I just got used to living really rough and not caring, ” he says., “But God ready one day I can get back to residing some kind of normal life once again. ”

The emotion certain in Curtis’s images is usually undeniable. “There is a lot of thought that has gone into every framed moment, ” says Latif. “Many of the pictures are incredibly layered. They are poetic, sensitive and they are psychological. ” But revealing the vulnerable side of their character is not something that arrives naturally to Curtis. “One of the things Curtis and I spoke about was his concern in revealing these types of aspects of himself, ”’ says Latif. “We also spoke about his experiences great life and how we would try to tell that story by means of photography. ” The task also marks a shift for Curtis. “I was once more concerned with my external appearance and how I would look to others, ” he demonstrates, “but with this project I just brought myself. I delivered my truth. ”

1854 x CALM: Homeless Truths © Inzajeano Latif 20211854 x CALM: Homeless Facts © Inzajeano Latif 2021

1854 x CALM: Homeless Truths © Curtis Naulty 2021

“I always see beauty, but then something happens and my life seems to unravel. I see glimpses of something wonderful but I don’t get to hold this. I see it though, I see flashes all the time, then my life descends into something. ”

– Curtis Naulty

For CALM , encouraging individuals to talk about how they feel, especially when it comes to their mental wellness, is important. “It can be really tough to find the words to explain what you’re going through when you are struggling, ” says Simon Gunning, CEO of CALM .   “Talking to your friends or family about your mental health can be really difficult. But , at RELAXED , we also know starting the conversation provides loads of potential benefits — most importantly, increased support plus reassurance. And when you’re strong in anxiety or major depression, this extra support can really make a vital difference. We also know that the more we all talk about it, the more likely we will feel comfortable in seeking assistance when it’s needed, and so will others around us. ”

Of all his images, Curtis has a favourite. “The last one, ‘A Time of Paradise’, ” he says, without a second’s hesitation. In the image, a lone magpie perches on a branch. Trees and shrubs perfectly frame an azure sky dappled with atmosphere. “It is about something You will find always seen in my life, ” he explains. “I normally see beauty, but then some thing happens and my life appears to unravel. I see glimpses of something wonderful but I don’t get to hold it. I see it though, I see sensations all the time, then my life descends into something. ”

1854 x RELAXED: Homeless Truths © Curtis Naulty 2021

1854 x CALM: Homeless Truths © Curtis Naulty 2021

1854 x CALM: Homeless Truths © Curtis Naulty 2021

1854 x RELAXED: Homeless Truths © Curtis Naulty 2021

Just for Latif, the image that stands out is one titled ‘The Went up That Came From Concrete’. “It is so subtle and yet therefore powerful, so weighty, ” says Latif. If you were walking down the street and you saw that, you would really have to end and soak it into let it resonate. ” 

With regard to Curtis, the images have an additional purpose. “I perform want to give people hope, ” he says. Some of the pictures are for that – in order to let people know that they can be in a situation that feels not possible to get out of, and then something beautiful can come. Something attractive when things are not looking so great. ”

For more information check out   CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably)


Each of the participants’ projects will be published on  1854. photography   this week. Both received compensation for their function.  

Café Artwork , a good organisation that empowers destitute artists in London,   and Evolve ,   a housing and support charity, were both instrumental in finding plus supporting the individuals that required part in this project. CALM has also helped support the individuals throughout the project and will carry on and support them after the marketing campaign.  


@inzajeano

inzajeano. com

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