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February 11, 2013

Salem photographer puts a face on homelessness

(Continued)

Word has also spread on the North Shore about Pira’s project. He’s scheduled to present it to the Swampscott Rotary Club on Tuesday, Feb. 26. Pira hopes the connections will lead to a similar portrait series focusing on homeless youth on the North Shore.

Pira’s portraits will be on display in the Statehouse at the end of the month. He’s already considering other projects, including a portrait series on homeless youths who have jobs.

Take Alec Oarei, for example. The 22-year-old has been homeless on and off since March of last year. He works three jobs, but it’s not enough to pay rent.

“The good job I had is gone,” he said. “I can work a bunch of part-time jobs, but it’s not going to get me by.”

The reality that a nice person stocking shelves or behind a store counter might be homeless was eye-opening for Pira.

“I never realized how much it was going to change me,” he said of the project. “I never realized how it would impact how I look through the lens of a camera.”

To donate

  • To support the “Invisible Faces” project, send checks to Youth on Fire, P.O. Box 380-827, Cambridge, MA 02238. Write “Invisible Faces” in the memo line. Donations are tax-deductible.
  • For more information search for Invisible Faces on Facebook.

Cheryl Lecesse can be reached at 978-338-2664 or clecesse@salemnews.com.

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