DENVER URBAN MATTERS (DENUM)
Denver Urban Matters (DenUM) provides Denver's low income and homeless families and individuals with critical services including emergency food, utilities assistance, employment services, legal consultation, and referrals to other services.
We were asked to photograph the bustle of a normal Friday in June 2015 in the DenUM case management offices and food bank space, as well as taking portraits of clients, volunteers, and staff.
OUR DAY AT DenUM
DenUM has the atmosphere of a place where people are truly heard and respected. As we photographed people choosing food from the shelves or talking with intake staff and volunteers, we witnessed real connection, interaction, and empathy. As we toured DenUM from top floor to basement, we observed the many services the organization has to offer, from computer access to utility bill assistance and free essentials, such as diapers and fresh produce. We saw siblings being kind to each other, and (hopefully) some burdens being lifted. When we asked people--volunteers and clients--if they would be comfortable with us taking their photographs, we received a range of answers, which is of course fine with us. But when people said yes, they tended to say it gladly and with enthusiasm. We hoped to capture that warmth and humanity that can pass between people with kindness, or with the simple chance to pose for a photograph.
Another Look Director Katie Dwyer volunteered with DenUM for four months in the summer of 2006. This history gives us the ability to understand the organization's work with a longer historical view. We hope to return to DenUM for continued work taking candid portraits, formal portraits, and collecting images from around their location. Homelessness and poverty are enduring problems in the Denver area, and we are inspired by the lasting commitment DenUM has made to providing direct and much-needed services to those who are in need. Find out more about getting involved in their work at www.DenUM.org.