I began with a question: If you were allowed to keep only those items that would fit in one suitcase, what would you choose? We may think of our cherished possessions when we imagine our houses going up in flames, but for those with no homes, this is a critical question. With my camera, I sought out the homeless and asked what possessions they valued most.
Their answers suggested past identities and entanglements that would have been hard to guess: a cross, family photos, a bell, a toy car, underwear, lipstick, a figurine of the Virgin Mary, a college diploma, a dog, a doll. But if our identities are shaped by what we possess, what happens to those who have nothing? For these homeless, material posessions are a humanizing force.