Most people hurry past the homeless, casting their eyes away, or simply ignoring what is a familiar sight on our streets.  Sadly, they believe the problem is intractable.  This attitude stymies the necessary community support for addressing the problem and percolates through to State and Federal policy.
Photographer Phil England’s series ‘Eye Contact’, initiated by Heirisson, has sought to change this with the creation of 20 larger than life portraits of homeless Western Australians, each locking viewers with an arresting gaze.  Short written snapshots of their experiences accompany the powerful portraits, enabling confrontation of the issues they face in life on the street. There is a story behind every homeless person.  The purpose of the portraits is to help viewers recognise the humanity in homeless people along with a story of hope and salvation, pointing to the fact that with a concerted effort we can make a difference. 
Heirisson members deliver the portraits to the exhibition location, help set them up and take them away again.  The portraits have already been exhibited at a number of public places in Perth, including Brookfield Place, Central Park, Cloisters, Curtin Uni, Joondalup Library and at a wide range of schools including Guildford Grammar, Hale, Girrawheen SHS, St Georges, and John Wollaston.  In many cases, the schools have taken advantage of the exhibition to incorporate the students’ experiences in appropriate lesson work, and in supporting charities delivering services to homeless people.  A good example of this is this article by Manie Strydom, the Chaplain at Wesley College, about Wesley’s use of the exhibition - Wesley College article
On 8-Mar-23 Eye Contact was exhibited in Parliament House Canberra to the federal politicians. The event was opened by speeches from Senator Linda Reynolds, MPs Patrick Gorman and Michael Sukkar, Perth Rotaractor Tara Sherwood, and CEO of the Alliance to end Homelessness David Pearson. All speakers spoke about the impact of Phil’s photographs on them and emphasised the need to fund more social and affordable housing in Australia. Rotary Down Under covered the event with an article – click on "Eye Contact Article" in the menu or go to pages 11-12.
Contact: Ken Mullin on