Anthony Luvera – AGENCY

In the Middle Ages, Coventry became a centre of the textile trade in England. Today there are inhabitants who can barely afford to buy clothes. During the Civil War in the 1640s the town was used as a place of banishment and imprisonment for royalists, and the expression “to be sent to Coventry” is still used to denote how people who are ostracized or shunned. The latter takes the form of not talking to them, avoiding their company and acting as if they do not exist.  

Agency is a work by the socially engaged artist Anthony Luvera. Created in collaboration with people who have experienced homelessness in the cathedral city of Coventry, Agency is a continuation of the artist’s work all over Britain with people who have experienced homelessness. In 2021 Luvera invited the participants in the project to use disposable cameras to document their experiences and the places in the city that were important to them.  

The participants were also invited to use professional camera equipment to create self-portraits as part of the artist’s ongoing Assisted Self-Portraits series. The artist provides tripods, flashes, remote triggers and a computer. But the final choice of portrait is made by the individual participant. By inviting people who lack a home of their own to use photography to represent themselves and their experiences, Agency seeks to challenge preconceived notions of homelessness. 

Anthony Luvera

Anthony Luvera is an associate professor of photography at Coventry University and editor of Photography For Whom?, a journal of socially engaged photography. He also creates public education programmes for the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Academy of Arts, the Photographers’ Gallery, the Barbican Art Gallery, Tate Britain, Magnum, as well as photo projects in the service of local communities.