A panel of judges had the painstaking job of narrowing more than 600 photo submissions to just 20.
It’s all part of the Through Our Eyes project.
The project aims to see life through the eyes of the homeless in Spartanburg.
Organizer Jason Williamson is a missions pastor at Anderson Mill Road Baptist Church. Along with other volunteers, he handed out 100 disposable cameras to the homeless.
Nearly 50 of them were returned days later.
Photos were judged on quality, composition, subject matter, and storytelling.
“A lot of the photos were not what we were expecting,” said Brandon Pender with Spartan Photo Center.
The panel thought they would see more heartbreak and terrible conditions.
Instead, they saw beauty, character, architecture, and prevailing hope.
The project aims to shed light on a growing a community and give the photographers some inspiration for the future.
“Especially if you have someone who is truly living on the streets and maybe are full of despair — it’s going to be great for them to say, ‘That was mine. That was something I did,’” said Beth Rutherford with Spartanburg Interfaith Hospitality Network.
The top 20 photos will be enlarged and framed.
They will be on display at the Chapman Cultural Center in July.
The community will be able to vote for their favorites on Friday, July 29th.
The top three entries will be awarded prizes, specific to the photographer’s individual needs.
Williamson says the project was inspired by Cafe Art in London – a similar project from 2012.