“Life has become so hard for him, he couldn’t hold his head up” says Vincent Lawson as he describes one of his more notable photographs of a homeless man sitting on a bench in Mobile.

Mobile photographer, Vincent Lawson speaks candidly with The Salvation Army of Coastal Alabama Area Commander, Major Mark Brown about photographs he’s taken on Mobile’s homeless population over the last 18 years.

Lawson recounts one of his earliest experiences taking photographs. In 1997, Lawson snapped a shot of a homeless man laying on the sidewalk, two days later he photographed that same man laying dead in an alleyway. The man starved to death.
Lawson has captured many more images documenting the less fortunate in our community during their plight. Lawson at one time was homeless himself. His experience on the street helps him better understand the struggle the men and women without a home go through.

[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]”Life has become so hard for him, he couldn’t hold his head up”[/quote]

Mobile and Baldwin Counties have a homeless population of around 640 people according to the 2015 Point In Time Count. Last year (2014) the figure was 722. The cost of homelessness in Mobile and Baldwin Counties is substantial. Housing First Inc. reports $23,105,448 million dollars are spent per year in Mobile and Baldwin counties for homeless persons living on the streets and outside of housing programs. The $23.1 million dollar figure includes expenses associated with medial, jail, shelters, mental health and law enforcement.

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Major Mark Brown photographing photographer Vincent Lawson.

Lawson says God often leads him to the images he shoots. If he finds himself in nooks and crannies to capture compelling images, then that’s what God wants him to share with the world. Lawson references Mark, 31 in the Bible which says ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself’. He hopes that message is conveyed through his work and photographs.

[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]”you shall love your neighbor as yourself”[/quote]

Lawson’s work will be on display at the History Museum of Mobile on July 10th during the July Art Walk. He hopes people who see his photographs in the exhibit are motivated to ask themselves, “How can we help those in our community in need?”