Photographer Reece James Morrison shines a light on food banks, documenting a day at The People's Kitchen in Newcastle.
In Reece’s own words: “Over the past two years, I have been documenting the North East of England and encapsulating how the city is coping, adjusting, struggling and overcoming the economic and societal issues we’re all facing as a result of the pandemic. I initially began this project “A Work In Progress” by photographing my everyday interactions, to focus on the extraordinary amongst the mundane, and really relate to those affected; whether they be key workers, passing strangers or even still-life imagery which was symbolic of the times we’re living in.
As I began to gain momentum with the project, I wanted to learn more about the small knit communities and charities in the area which were helping to make a difference day-to-day to those that needed it. I’ve worked with food banks, local allotments, and the coronavirus vaccine bus service to help tell their story and speak to people who are committed to making a difference. Listening to those in need has really helped me to understand the issues we’re facing at a local level but also as a nation. With this project, I wanted to highlight the differences that can be made at a local level to encourage others to do the same in their regions.
In this specific piece of work, I wanted to revisit “The People’s Kitchen” food bank in Newcastle. Last year, the food bank was providing food, donations and clothes to the homeless and those in need during the pandemic. Due to restrictions in June 2020, these donations were provided via drop-offs and collection, as they were not able to welcome people inside due to the ‘rule of 6’. This year however, the charity has been able to welcome their guests inside, which means that the homeless were able to seek shelter, enjoy a breakfast and collect donations and clothes from the volunteers and those who have donated.
Before providing captions to specific images, it is worth noting that the volunteers at “The People’s Kitchen” refer to the homeless as “friends”, as a lot of their visitors prefer not to disclose their names for personal reasons or be labeled as “homeless”. I did take the names of people who felt comfortable however”.