For me, when it comes to great documentary photographers, it doesn’t get much better than the likes of W. Eugene Smith and Dorothea Lange. The way their photographs bring to life a point in time with unflinching and yet empathetic honesty. So with that in mind, I set out to capture an aspect of the world I live in today in Los Angeles. A time when more than 60,000 of my neighbors don’t have a home.

Seeing people sleeping on the street always makes me uncomfortable. Photographing them at 2:00 a.m. for this series made me even more uncomfortable. But sometimes the only way you can capture the truth is to focus your lens on what’s hardest to look at.

As a kid growing up watching Hollywood movies, Sunset Boulevard seemed like the perfect representation of the California dream. The ultimate Street of Dreams. In these photographs, I wanted to document the heartbreaking reality of what can happen on that street when your dreams don’t pan out.

You may be wondering if I asked permission to shoot these photographs. I view them as part of the time-honored tradition of documentary journalism, which doesn’t ask permission or forgiveness, but strives to candidly capture our common humanity and vulnerability.

I shot these images up close with a wide angle lens to create a feeling of intimacy. I wanted to draw the viewer into a world we often see but don’t stop to contemplate.


Thank you to the judges for recognizing this work in the 2019 International Photography Awards.