A pretty picture of the vagrant

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as the catchphrase goes; and it is no less true for the eyes of photographer Yasmin Harper. In fact, her observation goes farther beyond skin-deep.

And, the second-year Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) student at the Barbados Community College (BCC) shares her awe-inspiring perception of beauty through the portrayal of vagrants. Yasmin strongly believes these “vagrants –– like you and me –– are people too”.

Beauty through the portrayal  of the vagrant.
Beauty through the portrayal of the vagrant.

That essentially was the message Yasmin sought to convey in her photographs.

“I wanted to just capture the pure soul of someone that sadly never gets a second glance in this world we live in today,” the 20-year-old explained.

Her photographs, displayed at the Barbados Community College’s fine arts exhibition last month, gave both valid and realistic depictions of vagrants.

BCC fine artist Yasmin Harper.
BCC fine artist Yasmin Harper.

“I wanted my photographs to be raw; no artificial light, no tampering with clothes and no make-up,” Yasmin declared.

She said that because the pictures were in black and white, the “main focus would be on the people in the photographs. I didn’t believe the photographs needed colour”. She argued that people oft-times focused on “tangible and vibrant things”, taking the much simpler things for granted.

“That’s the problem today. People are attracted to colour and materialistic things instead of the simple things that are right in front of them.”

Yasmin is of the opinion the word beauty is overrated.

“There is no need to be perfect to inspire others. Let people get inspired by how you deal with your imperfections,” she says.

The photographer revealed that though approaching a vagrant could be intimidating at first, she had come to realize vagrants possessed a welcoming persona, the more she interacted with them.

“Introducing yourself to homeless people for the first time can be a scary thing for both you and the person you are introducing yourself too,” Yasmin admits; but, after breaking the ice, “they didn’t have a problem with my capturing their images”.

“The homeless people allowed me to take photos of them at their most vulnerable. That is what made the whole experience beautiful: that they opened up and let me into their world,” the BCC student acknowledged.

It was this in particular that made Yasmin’s photo collection project “defiantly eye-opening” to her.

Says the fine arts undergrad: “The message I want people to take with them after viewing my photographs is this: if only our eyes saw souls instead of bodies how different our ideals of beauty would be.”

9 Responses to A pretty picture of the vagrant

  1. Rasta eve December 17, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Well done my friend (Y)… He will make a handsome gentleman when he clean himself up .. job welldone 🙂

  2. Divine Duchess
    Divine Duchess December 17, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Uummm they’re people with names, vagrant is a label…please get names and address them properly!

  3. Glend December 17, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    Bravo to this young lady for seeing pass all what others see in vagrants and the homeless. She is truly an inspirational and a good representation for the youth. I hope others will be inspired and take the time to see what lies beneath. I would be interested in following her to see where she takes her passion and hobby.

  4. Tristan John
    Tristan John December 17, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    But I think you guys are missing the point. If one reads the article you will see that she does indeed understand “vagrants are people too”. However, the intention here is to highlight them on a whole, and not necessarily individually; because persons tend to forget they even exist around them. Furthermore, most of these ‘vagrants’ don’t even know their own name/age so just imagine how awkward a situation that would be……

  5. Bobby Gilkes
    Bobby Gilkes December 17, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    Demetrio Moore its good to see that real good

  6. Wayne Dread December 17, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    Thought provoking, #, deep

  7. Michele Richards
    Michele Richards December 17, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Good job Yasmin. Definitely thought-provoking subjects.

  8. Lucinda Katrina McSinister
    Lucinda Katrina McSinister December 17, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    It is that most of the time john public do not know these people name and that’s where the enigma lies. Because they do not get involve in simulating capitalism they become pariahs, social excludes. The word vagrant is a social construction use to promote capitalism. Vagrancy law only exist, even today in ex-colonies of Britain, France.

  9. Angela Maynard December 18, 2015 at 11:43 am

    In my opinion, referring to him as a “Vagrant” does not add to this man’s situation. Going forward how are
    we as a society gonna help him


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