Mere blocks from the gentrifying Downtown and Arts District neighbourhoods, the infamous Skid Row has the highest concentration of extreme poverty outside the third world. In this 54-block area, approximately 5,000 people exist as a society within a society; many living in missions, homeless shelters, and tents.
Nearly two decades ago I made a book called 'Hide That Can', which focused on men living in a shelter for recovering alcoholics – their desperation, their struggles, and their joys. Now, in LA, I sensed a similar story playing out on a far larger scale: a drama of addiction, displacement, and mental illness, as well as hope and resilience. Over three years, I immersed myself in the world of Skid Row, developing relationships with these people on the fringes of society, and getting to know their insular world.
The resulting work consists of a short film (Winter In America) and a collection of photographs and interviews. On one level, this project reflects the inhumane conditions on the streets and the shocking lack of basic necessities – but it also documents bravery and strength in the face of this daily adversity. Bravery and strength, but above all humanity; the people I got to know on Skid Row are neither victims nor heroes, but people who live day to day the best they can.