Photographer Interviews

Working as an Outsider: Eirik Johnson on Capturing Portraits of the Homeless

July 4, 2017

By Conor Risch

© Eirik Johnson

Eirik Johnson hesitated before taking an assignment photographing a Seattle tent city. To avoid making images that he thought were exploitative, he focused on telling the stories of his subjects.

Few photographer-subject relationships are more fraught than those involving the homeless. So Seattle-based photographer Eirik Johnson was hesitant when editors at Pacific Standard magazine asked him to work on a story for their January/February 2017 issue on homelessness on the West Coast. “I didn’t know how to approach it and I really didn’t want to feel like I’m taking advantage...

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