By Kathy Brown GILLETTE NEWS-RECORD
GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) – Standing amid a green landscape on the Pine Ridge Reservation is a weary Ogallala Lakota Sioux coming to grips with her need to move away from her home, her life as she has always known it.
Taking her photograph that day was a 14-year Gillette resident, Jeffrey “JP” Caffee, who chooses to train his camera on the nearly invisible people in our society. The soon-to-be 40-year-old self-trained photographer refers to them as the “have-nots.” They’re the homeless, the marginalized, the victims, the poor, the addicted, the mentally ill, the abused, the drug-addled, the veterans and the otherwise lost. They share beauty and ugliness at the same time and he captures their anger, hurt and humor.
Caffee has found his mission, his purpose. He’s found beauty in the people occupying those haunting landscapes, the wild streets. They are easily forgotten and overlooked by many, yet he said he has chosen instead to “shine a light” on their pain, their stories, their lives. That’s how he has found his own salvation.