Out of Focus:
Untold Stories from the New York City Rescue Mission



Journey began: The Bronx

We were deeply moved by Lord's quiet, confident, wisdom, and his strength of character. Lord's love for his daughters, and desire to be authentic with them, is profound.


Journey began: East Harlem

We empathized heavily with Robert's desire to escape the chaos of the city, and withdraw to a quiet, idyllic life with a picket fence. 




Journey began: Massachusetts

While we were impressed by Peter's passion for his career, his generous heart struct us the most. Peter's devastating turn of events has ignited a devotion to help his fellow neighbors in need, for the rest of his life. 


Journey began: Czech Republic

Sam's zeal for the future is matched only by his delighted assurance of knowing he has found his life purpose in music. An immigrant pursuing the American Dream, he's not giving up. 



Journey began:  New Jersey 

Zach's tenacity and vitality radiates from within. Grappling with misconception and backlash, Zach has emerged with such a joyfully positive self-identity. He inspires us all to be our authentic selves. 


Journey began: New Jersey 

Christine's smile is contagious, We were especially touched by her love and devotion to her hero - her husband - who encouraged her to shine her inner light. 




Journey began: Georgia 

That chuckle. What an infectious laugh. Xavier's wanderlust is palpable, and he reflections on how different life might have been if he had continued to pursue his dream of serving in the military. 


Journey began: New York

Michael discusses the debilitating effects of anxiety and depression with astonishing candor. We were exhilarated by his emphatic determination to overcome his demons, and press forward. 




Journey began: Arkansas 

We're in awe of Detra's beautiful strength and resilience. Worn from struggle, yet resolute to forge a new life, Detra now raises her voice in song, immersing herself in the healing power of music. 


Out of Focus: Untold Stories from the New York City Rescue Mission features portraits and audio excerpts from nine guests of the New York City Rescue Mission. Nine men and women whose stories are worthy of being told - whose portraits are worthy of being captured. Curated by The VALO Group, in creative collaboration with Aaron Kho, Out of Focus was conceptualized as an experiential exhibition allowing audiences to hear firsthand from homeless guests residing at the New York City Rescue Mission. A glimmer of authenticity amidst fragmented accounts about 'the homeless' distorted by the media. 

This exhibition was presented between 30 April and 15 August 2017 at the New York University Lafayette Hall. 

Special thanks to Rebecca Lee, the New York City Rescue Mission, Angie Kim, Alex Merchant, Glafira Shanabrook, Darren Boswell, Ivan Kelemen, Nathaniel Picard-Busky, Samantha Trance, Editha Mesina, Tom Drysdale, Mark Jenkinson, Caleb Savage.