British fashion photographer Perou has teamed up with a young former homeless activist to launch a new campaign aimed to challenge the public's perceptions of those who live on the streets.
The photographer, famed for working with Helen Mirren, Jeff Bridges and Madonna, to name a few, has turned his talents to showcase a series of powerful images portraying the realities of homelessness in the UK.
Perou explained the project was about "creating an impact and provoking a reaction".
"We want people to stop ignoring the issue and see the stark reality of youth homelessness in the UK. The vast majority of people are fortunate enough never to have experienced homelessness, but ignorance shouldn’t be an excuse."
He added the main issue which all the young people he worked with kept giving voice to was the feeling that they had become "invisible" to society.
"They felt they no long mattered to the point where they felt people won’t even acknowledge the exist. That’s something we wanted the exhibition to confront head on.”
The online exhibition was the brainchild of James McNaughton and launches on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old, who has experienced living rough first hand, says he is committed to using the power of art to engage society with the prevalent issue of youngsters sleeping on the streets.
"Having been homeless I know from personal experience just how difficult it is to turn your life around. One of the biggest barriers preventing young people making that transition is a lack of confidence and sense of self worth. That’s why it’s so important that, as a society, we don’t succumb to convenient stereotypes, but instead treat young homeless people with respect and dignity."
The exhibition is part of 'Homeless & The Arts', a campaign backed and funded by O2's Think Big youth programme and will also included a documentary film (featured below).
McNaughton and Perou spent several days working with homeless organisations and talking to young, homeless people in Liverpool and Manchester in order to shoot the photographs which headline the exhibition.
"Working with Perou I wanted to use the power of art to dispel some of the negative perceptions of youth homelessness," McNaughton added. "The exhibition, hopefully, does just that, it gives a voice to the homeless young people behind the images and hopefully it will make people stop and think."
As well as images by Perou, the gallery features a range of pictures taken by young people from London, Newcastle and the East Midlands who have experienced homelessness. The photographs aim to offer a "unique glimpse" into their personal stories and "bring to life" the journey from living on the streets to surviving independently and successfully.