Thursday, April 3, 2008

HomeSoure - A Photo Essay

HomeSource is a function of LAND. It is a memebers-only retail store for the people of Milwaukee to purchase and rent tools, materials and supplies necessary to make home improvements. HomeSource has some strict regulations because they get funding from the city.
Members must apply to the program. Criteria are as follows:

  • Live in the city of Milwaukee (anywhere in the city)
  • Present valid I.D.
  • Provide tax info and fall in low to moderate incomes

Once Approved, members gain access to the HomeSource store.
The front of the facility is HomeSource’s primary retail store.

Supplies in retail store:

Paint and Paintbrushes
Concrete, cauk and grout

In The Back of The House:

HomeSource also sells appliances and larger materials needed to begin renovation. Residents can purchase Refrigerators, Laminate flooring, windows and toilets
Everything up to and including the kitchen sink is available in their storage facility.

Laminate flooring was donated by Menards. Other Materials are donated by private citizens.

LAND is committed to making Homesource a user-friendly resource. By relying on residents and businesses for donations to sell, Homesource is able to effectively enable Milwaukeeans to revive our neighborhoods. HomeSource is located at 3701 N. Lisbon Avenue in Milwaukee.

Artist's Statement:

The photographs that I took at Homesource were organized in a way that reflects the conversations that I had when I toured the facility. My objective was to present what Homesource would look like in use. I wondered what residents would see when they walked in. I wondered which tools and materials were in highest demand. Hopefully, PowerPoint allowed me to present the images I captured in a way that seems meaningful to residents. I wanted to make an essay that spoke to the ways that people would use a resource like Homesource.

Spending time with Terri at Homesource gave me insight to the community that LAND serves. While discussing the requirements for membership, she detailed an exemplary three-person family and told me that this family could make anywhere form $18,000 to $48,000 per year. After that, she told me that most of the people who use Homesource are females.

Regrettably, my essay did not address the Toolsource tool loan program. It should be noted that through Toolsource, residents who are not members of HomeSource could still use the tools and equipment provided by LAND. However, without membership to HomeSource, one cannot purchase any supplies or materials. Tool and HomeSource provides residents with the faculties to perfect home improvements. From saw to sanders and power drills, to refrigerators, light fixtures and doorbells, these programs aid residents in our community and should not be overlooked. HomeSource should stand as a model for non-profit neighborhood development organizations to follow. I hope that my essay captured the effectiveness of the program and aroused the many possible benefits from the program in the minds of my audience.

Concerning the production of my essay, I found PowerPoint to be very effective and very flexible in allowing for creativity. It was extremely easy for me to import still photos and video. The ease with which media can be incorporated to projects makes PowerPoint greatly versatile. Moreover, choosing and/or creating your own slide backgrounds and arranging elements in each shot, PowerPoint greatly enables the artist to package their message in a particular way, to achieve a particular response, in other words.

The software greatly enabled the creation of my essay, but filming itself presented an unanticipated hurdle. Terri was camera-shy! I guess it seems obvious that photographers and filmmakers always have to worry that their subjects are acting unnaturally or uncomfortably. I think it’s difficult to document reality without getting an appearance of fabrication or superficiality. By creating sequences of photos and trying to tell a story, I was able to see how difficult it must be for artists to convey or package messages within their art. I learned this as I tried to tell a narrative through my images.