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

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

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

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

Every photograph featured in the exhibition has been specially created to be “seen in more than one way.”

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The Power of Perspective show was instigated as an outreach project by the Edinburgh International Magic Festival.

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

Organisers say participants learned new skills to create each image for the show. It is also hoped it will help tackle “myths” surrounding homeless.

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.

Illusionist, magician and psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman worked with the teenagers and young adults to create the images for the exhibition, which will open ahead of the start of the magic festival on 27 December.

The images will be on display at the Scottish Storytelling Centre on the Royal Mile, while visitors can see how they were created at the nearby Museum of Edinburgh.

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

Wiseman said: “Illusions help people perceive the world in a different way and I hope that will happen here. It’s important we make myths surrounding homelessness vanish and replace them with a more accurate way of seeing what’s really going on.

“I really enjoyed working with these young people – they had such enthusiasm and imagination. 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.”

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."

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

Svetlana McMahon, creative producer of the magic festival, said: “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.”

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.