Subtle faces of homelessness in ‘Acknowledged’

Courtesy photoVivid images Joe Ramos’ evocative portraits of clients of Project Homeless Connect are on view at the San Francisco Public Library.

Courtesy photoVivid images Joe Ramos’ evocative portraits of clients of Project Homeless Connect are on view at the San Francisco Public Library.

Since 2006, Joe Ramos has been photographing clients of Project Homeless Connect, a clearinghouse of sorts of nonprofit medical and social services for the homeless in San Francisco. His photos serve as documentation for the agency.

What at first might have been civic duty clearly became a labor of love for Ramos, whose passion shows in the richness and skill displayed in 53 photos, selected out of thousands, that make up “Acknowledged.” The exhibition is on view through March 25 at the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library.

The portraits are not what many might expect. They are not images of the disheveled beggars whom San Franciscans are accustomed to seeing asleep on Market Street.

Although hurt and sadness are apparent, and understandable, in the photos, Ramos’ subtlety gives the images an intriguing depth that might go unnoticed with a quick glance. Still, an undeniable sense of courage and dignity stands out in all of the works by the photographer, who considers himself a documentarian.  

Narratives accompanying many of the portraits add even more meaning.

“Kendra,” for example, a straightforward and powerful portrait, grips the viewer because of the strength of the subject’s gaze. No one would feel sorry for her.

In “Charles,” another particularly expressive photo, the man’s face takes up almost the whole frame, intensifying an essential sadness, but without self-pity.

Ramos, originally from the Salinas Valley, studied photography at the San Francisco Art Institute with Richard Conrat, who assisted master photographer Dorothea Lange. Her influence is exceptionally strong in his work, which also has been exhibited at museums and galleries throughout the Bay Area.


Where: Jewett Gallery, Main Library, 100 Larkin St., S.F.

When: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, noon to 5:30 p.m. Fridays, noon to 4:30 p.m. Sundays; closes March 25

Admission: Free

Contact: (415) 557-4400,

Note: At 2 p.m. on March 15, Project Homeless Connect will conduct a tour of the Hayes Valley Community Garden at Octavia and Lily streets. To register, email or call (415) 557-4277.

artsbooksentertainmentProject Homeless ConnectSan Francisco Public Library

Just Posted

A collaborative workspace for a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) in Coordinape is pictured at a recent blockchain meet up at Atlas Cafe. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Business without bosses: San Francisco innovators battle bureaucracy with blockchain

‘The next generation will work for three DAOs at the same time’

Plan Bay Area 2050 is an expansive plan guiding the region’s growth and development over the next three decades. The regional plan addresses progressive policy priorities like a universal basic income and a region-wide rent cap, alongside massive new spending on affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. (Shutterstock)
Plan Bay Area 2050: Analyzing an extensive regional plan that covers the next 30 years

Here are the big ticket proposals in the $1.4 trillion proposal

Pregnant women are in the high-risk category currently prioritized for booster shots in San Francisco. (Unai Huizi/Shutterstock)
What pregnant women need to know about COVID and booster shots

Inoculations for immunosuppressed individuals are recommended in the second trimester

Examiner reporter Ben Schneider drives an Arcimoto Fun Utility Vehicle along Beach Street in Fisherman’s Wharf on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Could San Francisco’s tiny tourist cruisers become the cars of the future?

‘Fun Utility Vehicles’ have arrived in The City

Most Read