New Internationalist

PHOTO ESSAY: Transitional in Britain

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The rise in the ‘hidden homeless’ represents a crisis that the government is ignoring with further welfare cuts. Cinzia D’Ambrosi has captured lives in limbo.

Homelessness is a vast problem in Britain exacerbated by growing poverty and a shortage of housing. With nowhere to go, thousands of people are forced to live in temporary accommodation and in overcrowded and inadequate conditions while on council housing waiting lists.

The project Transitional captures these grim realities allowing the viewer into the lives of Britain’s hidden homeless: people stuck in hostels, B&Bs and temporary flats. It represents a dramatic crisis because many are left in temporary, provisional situations for an unacceptable long time. Some have been in limbo for two years or more, this has caused physical and psychological repercussions. The impact is great.

Cinzia D'Ambrosi
Cinzia D'Ambrosi

Above: I walked into the room: Nikkunj was still ill, hardly conscious. The bread that I brought him three days earlier was on the table untouched. No one knew that he was ill. I called an ambulance. Nikkunj, 2013.

Cinzia D'Ambrosi
Cinzia D'Ambrosi

Above: The communal room in the hostel is hardly ever visited by anyone. Nikkunj, 2013.

Cinzia D'Ambrosi
Cinzia D'Ambrosi

Above: ‘For us to be normal we wouldn’t have to think of having no space, but we do all the time.’ Alison, 2012.

Cinzia D'Ambrosi
Cinzia D'Ambrosi

Above: ‘We have been living in this flat for 8 years waiting to be moved into a larger home. At the time, Ralph was one year old and Ollie was just two weeks old…’ Alison, 2012.

Cinzia D'Ambrosi
Cinzia D'Ambrosi

Above: Tasha is 19 and she has been homeless for three years now. She does not like her small room but she is grateful she is not in the streets. Tasha, 2014.

Cinzia D'Ambrosi
Cinzia D'Ambrosi

Above: ‘I moved in this flat around Christmas time in 2008. It was rather a relief as we were living out of a suitcase and could not find help for a long time. Linda, 2012.

Cinzia D'Ambrosi
Cinzia D'Ambrosi

Above: ‘I don’t have my own space because I live with my mum [Sandy]. This is driving me bonkers every day. Every time I turn around she is there. Not that I don’t want to see her or interact with her, but sometimes I need my space.’ Sandy cannot walk because of diabetes. She sleeps and stays in the living room for most part of the days. Linda and Sandy, 2012.

Cinzia D'Ambrosi
Cinzia D'Ambrosi

Above: ‘I kept two pieces of furniture, a double futon bed which I share with my daughter and a chest of drawers. I had to arrange things around to be able to fit a small table, which is now in the corridor.’ Daniela, 2013.

Cinzia D’Ambrosi is a photojournalist, her work centres on reaching out to those who are marginalized by society. Her twitter handle is @cinziadambrosi

This is the first essay in our photo series on ‘Home’.

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  1. #1 Samantha Bryden Moveitkids 08 May 14

    I think this work shows a realistic view of the unfortunate state the housing crisis has left families in .
    children should be given high priority but they are not . This is a sad day today for Such a powerful country -England with regard to her shameful housing crisis . Small children in unfit bed and breakfast accommodation On Christmas Day is a travesty .

  2. #2 grbmusic 31 Jan 17

    D'Ambrosi's work is very dynamic in that his images show people within their own milieu. The work in The Independent (Colorado Springs, Colorado) sharing bios on homeless individuals provided a more two dimensional or flat affect image of each of the subjects. The writing included talking about their own conditions and the listing of their possessions. D'Ambrosi demonstrated in the photos that people do have their own lives and operate as best they can within their chosen boundaries. It is difficult to say that each has chosen their path because of the sense of force that impacts their movement to and within homelessness. Many of the D'Ambrosi photos reflect consciousness of space (minimums and open [desert-like, and lonesome]). Balancing closeness and openness seems to be not a choice when so many are gathered in one place or so few have no human connection.

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