PICS: Pastor highlights homelessness in the Upstate

Credit: Jason Williamson

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – An Upstate pastor found a unique way to highlight homelessness in Spartanburg.

In fact, it got so much attention, that he’s bringing the project to Greenville.

There are 20 photos on display at the Artist Guild Gallery in Greenville.

The exhibit isn’t quite complete, but that isn’t stopping people from voting with cash for their favorites.

The photographs have been getting different reactions.

“You look at something like that, people might see beauty. I see a lot of devastation, destruction,” said Greenville Pastor Mike Kunkel.

But they all have something in common — they were taken on disposable cameras, through the eyes of someone you might normally turn away from.

In the Upstate, there are more than 1,800 homeless people. 160 of those are veterans and more than 400 are children.

“In a couple of pictures, you’ll see some children who are on the street and those children are in school. They’re in the public schools. They’re there — people generally just don’t know that they’re homeless and what they actually have to go home to,” said Kunkel.

Pastor Jason Williamston started the “Through Our Eyes” project in Spartanburg.

Through coins and cash, he raised thousands of dollars.  The money is donated to various missions which directly help the homeless.

But, more importantly, he says it put a spotlight on their stories.

“I want people to come and be ready to experience what life is like on the streets of Greenville,” Williamson said.

Only 20 photos are prominently displayed, but hundreds of others line the hallway leading into the exhibit.

“I hope that when they see these pictures, they realize that they are humans too,” said one volunteer as she set up the display.

The exhibit will officially be open all next month.

The top three photographers will get prizes that are specific to their needs, and people from across the country will take part in an online auction for their favorites.

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