Rocky Lonechild’s eyes welled up with tears as she spoke about living on the street and sleeping in bushes.
“Some people think it’s funny but it’s not. It’s pretty cold out there when it’s coming to winter,” she said.
Lonechild is one of 11 people participating in a photography project to offer up a snapshot of what it’s like to be homeless.
“There’s lots of places where people sleep like parks, parkades, cars, abandoned houses, they even sleep outside like I did,” she said. “It is bad memories I get from these, even looking at the pictures.”
All the participants were given disposable cameras for a week and told to take photos of their lives. On Wednesday, the photos were developed and the participants chose their favourites.
Lonechild took her camera down memory lane, to remember what her life was like just six months ago when she was living on the street.
“There’s one photo there, that’s where I used to drink and I used to pass out. When it would get a little cold, I would have four blankets and sleep in the bush. I was homeless,” she said.
Lonechild was homeless for a year and a half but has been renting a place for the past six months. She has been sober since going to detox on June 7, 2016.
“I finally got sick and tired of being sick and tired,” she said. “I’m happy to be healthy, clean and sober and have a roof over my head.”
Gerry Ruecker, the southern artistic director for Common Wheal Community Arts, is one of the organizers of the project. He said the photos people took were powerful.
“What’s even more powerful is when they start talking about their life as portrayed by the photographs. It’s something that people need to see and understand what it’s like for them because they don’t choose to live this way,” he said.
The photographs will be on display at an exhibition in December.