Through Our Eyes Project launches in Columbia, S.C.

Posted Sept. 29, 2021

Contact: Jason Williamson
(864) 918-4480

This week, 100 people affected by homelessness in Columbia, S.C. will receive disposable cameras with one task: to tell their stories.

This latest installment of the Through Our Eyes Project is the sixth to reach out to individuals experiencing homelessness. Shandon Baptist Church in Columbia, S.C. is partnering with the Through Our Eyes Project and its creator Jason Williamson. Allison Caldwell, Missions Director at Shandon Baptist Church is coordinating the effort to shine a light on homelessness in Columbia.

The project volunteers will go to places where they are bound to meet individuals affected by homelessness: Oliver Gospel, Toby’s Place and Family Promise of the Midlands. These locations will not only lend themselves to finding photographers for the project; these same organizations will receive the proceeds from the exhibit that concludes the project.

Each participant becomes a photographer for the week. Photographers each receive a disposable camera and a project t-shirt, boldly stating “PHOTOGRAPHER” on the back. The assignment is simple: photograph what your life looks like – where you go, what you see, what you eat, who you spend time with – and return the camera at the end of the week.

“There is a satisfaction that comes with creating something. Each photographer will have the opportunity to share a piece of their life with the community around them. This is their chance to tell the community what a life affected by homelessness truly looks like through their eyes,” said Williamson. “These photographers may be experiencing homelessness, but they do not have to be hopeless, nameless or voiceless.”

Williamson founded the Through Our Eyes Project in 2016 when he launched the first iteration in Spartanburg, S.C. Though the project has done five previous installments with homelessness in four states, it has also branched off into other areas of life, including life through the eyes of fourth grade students in Spartanburg, S.C., and modern twists on historical photographs in the Charlestown community of Boston, Mass. The project has garnered worldwide attention, including mentions from The Huffington Post and Upworthy.

In the coming weeks, Spartan Photo in Spartanburg, S.C. will develop the film from the cameras, and Williamson and a team of judges from the community will evaluate all the images, considering each photo’s quality, composition, subject matter and storytelling. They will narrow the field to the top 20 photos, which will be enlarged and displayed during an exhibition at the Koger Center. The exhibit will open with a VIP reception November 3 and will continue until December 19.

During this event, which will be open to the public, the community will have the opportunity to be a part of the project by casting votes electronically via smart phone. At the end of the month, the photograph with the most donations will be the overall winner. All proceeds will be donated to local charities that minister to the homeless, and the top three winning photographers will receive physical prizes personalized to their needs.

For more information about the project and to view previous project finalists, visit

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