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”.
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.
“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.”