Great Britain

First look: Young homeless people create 'mind-bending' illusions for Edinburgh exhibition

Organisers of the exhibition hope every photograph 'can be seen in more than one way.'
Organisers of the exhibition hope every photograph 'can be seen in more than one way.'

Photographic illusions created by young people who are either homeless or at risk of homelessness is to be staged over the festive season in Edinburgh.

A group of 16-25 year-olds worked with a leading illusionist to create the images for a new exhibition, which will be staged across two venues in the Old Town from 22 December.

Every photograph which will feature in the exhibition has been specially created to be "seen in more than one way."

The show, The Power of Perspective, was instigated as an outreach project by the Edinburgh International Magic Festival, which is also known as "MagicFest."

Organisers say participants in the project learned new skills to create each image for the exhibition, which will run until 26 January.

It is also hoped that the images will help tackle some of the "myths" surrounding homeless.

All the participants in 'The Power of Perspective' were aged between 16 and 25.

All the participants in 'The Power of Perspective' were aged between 16 and 25.

Organisers joined forces with The Rock Trust, a youth homeless charity which has been running in Edinburgh since 1991. Part of its work involves working with other groups and organisations to help develop the skills of the young people they work with.

The magic festival lined up illusionist, magician and psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman to create the images for the exhibition, which is being launched ahead of the start of the magic festival on 27 December.

They are on display at the Scottish Storytelling Centre on the High Street, while visitors can see how they were created at the nearby Museum of Edinburgh on the Canongate.

Professor Wiseman said: "I really enjoyed working with these young people – they had such enthusiasm and imagination.

The exhibition will be running for more than a month at the Museum of Edinburgh and the Scottish Storytelling Centre.

The exhibition will be running for more than a month at the Museum of Edinburgh and the Scottish Storytelling Centre.

"The pictures they have created are superb and it will be really fun for visitors to see if they can work out how some of the illusions were created.

“Illusions help people to perceive the world in a different way, and I hope that will happen here.

"Likewise, it is important that we make myths surrounding homelessness vanish and replace them with a more accurate way of seeing what’s really going on.”

Svetlana McMahon, creative producer of the magic festival, which was first staged 10 years ago, said: "

Reflections in water were among the effects used to create images for the exhibition.

Reflections in water were among the effects used to create images for the exhibition.

“Looking at these photos you can see straight away how much the young people have learned – it takes a lot of skill to create photographic illusions.

“This was a brilliant way for them to gain confidence by getting involved with something that is really creative, lots of fun and got great results. They have every reason to be very proud that the illusions they have created are being included in a public exhibition.

“We really hope that the project can help these young people to be seen and heard and contribute to their transition to adulthood while avoiding or moving on from homelessness."

One of the participants in the project said: "Being involved in this project and having the opportunity to play a small part in how homeless young people and homelessness are viewed has been very humbling and rewarding.

"I hope this exhibition will show we are just young people who have had bumps in the road and no one is safe or immune from the grasps of homelessness, it can happen to anyone.

"This exhibition and these illusions aim to show how we feel and our opinions."

It is hoped that the exhibition will help some of the myths surrounding homelessness 'vanish.'

It is hoped that the exhibition will help some of the myths surrounding homelessness 'vanish.'

Magic festival organisers said participants in the project learned new skills to create each image.

Magic festival organisers said participants in the project learned new skills to create each image.