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Shining a Light of Awareness

In 2010 my life changed because of two guys. Phil asked me to film a recording session with Ish, his new singer. Ish has a bluesy scruff voice that’s lightning in a bottle. That week we also learned Ish was homeless and had been for over 6 years. I didn’t understand at the time this was a moment that was a start of an epic journey. Ish slowly opened up to us and with him came a network of other kids with a similar pattern. Abusive parents (if at all) and a foster care system that was inconsistent. Phil pushed to tell the story. We wanted to shine a light of awareness.

Seven years of interviews and filming. 3 albums of original music. Hollywood celebrity fund raisers, recording dates with Grammy winners, community events, NYC press tour and art activist events was one side of the coin. The other side was the street. We became trusted visitors to a surreal misunderstood island that people pass on a daily basis.

I had always loved Avedon’s “In the American West” series which inspired these. The visual negative space and graphics of both the wall backgrounds and how their body shifts between the images is really something powerful to me. The intimacy of each frame allows us to see quirky details. The two photos combine to a broken passage of time. My production, if one can call it that, was stripped to it’s most bare. Only me, only a fixed 50mm prime lens, 15 minutes or less in open shade so I could shoot anytime of the day. I paid each person $20. My guardian was Josh, who was also on the street and was working with us in the recording studio. His presence allowed me access to what I flatly would not have had otherwise.

We are working currently to get distribution of our film ISHues, a 93 minute answer to the seven years described above.

All images above ©2019 Scott Montgomery. All rights reserved.

More About Scott Montgomery

Scott MontgomeryI am the grandson of steel mills and coal mines south of Pittsburg and raised in the SoCal sun. The result is a dual citizenship of eastern work ethic and blind romantic optimism.

I’m a dad to two daughters, second rodeo husband, have really solid kitchen skills and will try to play with your dog (we travel far too much now to have our own). I can talk to nearly anybody. I need coffee in the morning. I expect to share a bite of what you’re eating: food is communal.

I love to capture relationships. The messy, scratched up, dream filled mile markers which drive us crazy and feed our soul. My work is about those people, those memories.

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