“Understanding Poverty”

Photographer Ben Tecumseh DeSoto focuses on homelessness

Most Houstonians are familiar with the name Ben DeSoto. They saw it for years in the credits of the Houston Chronicle, where he was a photojournalist. Now meet Ben Tecumseh DeSoto. He’s still a photojournalist, but instead of the pages of the newspaper, you’ll see his work on the walls at -DiverseWorks.

His new exhibit, “Understanding Poverty,” had its beginnings in the early 1980s, when he took photos of the homeless and poor, among others, for the Chronicle. It features portraits of homeless men and women, and the underpasses and empty warehouses some of them call home, along with shots of community advocates marching to raise awareness of the issue. “This is a continuation of my work,” says DeSoto. “Speaking for those who have no voice, who are invisible, has always been central to my work.

“As a community, we’re not doing enough to take care of people who can’t take care of themselves,” says DeSoto. “You have Jesus saying, ‘The poor you’ll have with you always.’ Well, that brings up the question, what are we gonna do with them? You can look at things from the attitude that people who fall behind, get left behind. But do we really want to live like that? If you fall behind, you get to live on the streets until the cops tell you to move on. Do we really want a society like that? I think we can do better.”

DeSoto says he hopes the exhibit will be not just an examination of homelessness, but a jumping-off point for solutions to the problem. Noon to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. Through November 1. 1117 East Freeway. For information, call 713-223-8346 or visit www.diverseworks.org. Free.
Wednesdays-Saturdays, 12-6 p.m. Starts: Sept. 12. Continues through Nov. 1, 2008

 
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