Self taught photographer Lee Jeffries worked as an accountant in Manchester, before having a chance encounter one day with a young homeless girl on a London street.
After stealthily photographing the girl huddled in her sleeping bag, Jeffries decided to approach and talk with her rather than disappear with the photograph. That day changed his perception about the homeless, and he then decided to make them the subject of his photography. Jeffries makes portraits of homeless people he meets in Europe and in the US, and makes it a point to get to know them before asking to create the portraits. His photographs are gritty, honest, and haunting.
Instead of profiting from a vulnerable population, he’s confronting an issue many of us ignore. He runs the London marathon every year in honor of the UK charity, Centrepoint, donating prints and cameras he’s won in several competitions to the organization, as well as to other homeless charities globally.
“I can’t change these people’s lives,” Jeffries explained to Time Magazine. “I can’t wave a magic wand but it doesn’t mean I can’t take a photograph of them and try to raise awareness and bring attention to their plight.”