Photographer chronicles lives of homeless

Lew Lautin takes pictures, hopes to create book to benefit LifeNet 4 Families

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A photographer hopes the thousands of images he's taken tell a different story about South Florida's homeless.

"I always wanted to capture their dignity, their beauty," said photographer Lew Lautin. "They're our children, our mothers, our fathers, our daughters. They're beautiful. Why can't that tell the story?"

Lautin said the images don't exploit them as being homeless or focus on mental health issues.

"I think for the homeless community itself, it allows them to see some of their fellows in a new light, in sort of a polished form, which can sort of be viewed as potential," said Chris Polzer, the operations director at LifeNet 4 families.

That potential is Lautin's message. He recently exhibited his larger than life-sized photographs and collages at ArtServe.

Lautin hopes his work will encourage others to make life better for those in need.

"It's opened my eyes to the crying need we have as a country to do more, to help more," said Lautin. "It's opened my mind and my heart to try and give back a little more."

"It loudly says the homeless are just like anyone else. Their circumstance currently as just not very pleasant," said Polzer.

After his portrait sessions, Lautin returns a week later with photographs for his subjects. He says some thank him and send the photos to their families, who have not seen them in years.

Lautin hopes to publish a book of his photographs with all proceeds benefitting LifeNet 4 Families.

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