Stories Of Denver’s Homeless Told Through Photographer’s Lens

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<p>(Courtesy Dylan Burr)</p>
<p>The St. Francis Center homeless shelter in Denver.</p>

Dylan Burr of Denver is known as a wedding photographer, but he recently turned his lens on the city's homeless population. Last winter, he went to the St. Francis Center and interviewed 30 people and took wet plate collodions, a 19th century photographic process. The result was portraits called "The Neighbours Project."

News: What's Next After Denver's 10-Year Push To End Homelessness?

Burr and one of his subjects -- 54-year-old Stephen Whitmore -- spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner. Read highlights from the conversation below, and click the audio above to listen to the full interview.

Whitmore on how he defines homelessness

"I had been stuck in the drug-and-alcohol syndrome for a long time. I was stuck in stinkin' thinkin,' really is what it is, where you keep doing the same thing and you're going to get the same result. When you're stuck in a mode like that, that's homelessness to me. It starts in your mind, when you don't do the things that keep you safe."

Burr on why wet plate photography

"I love the look and the feel... And I wanted to do a project or a series of photographs. Then a cousin of mine, who is a deacon and does a lot of homeless outreach, mentioned I should look into [photographing people who are homeless]. If you take a person who has a visual story on their face and apply that to something that is inherently real -- because there's no Photoshop, there's no editing [with wet plate]. Once you make that image it's done."

Burr on some of the other stories he heard

"There were people that had been homeless for that weekend. They came out here to visit some friends and got robbed at the bus station, lost their ID and money. What do you do when you lose your ID and can't prove who you are and you don't have anybody around to stay with?"

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With the city's 10-year plan to end homelessness wrapping up at the end of the month, homelessness is on many's minds. The city auditor says it continues to be a problem in Denver, and the city is re-assessing how to address the issue.