Annette Cortez

Annette Cortez

teamlosangeles-zentz

Invisible Refuge

Words & Images © Annette Cortez.

A tent on the sidewalk. A suitcase full of clothes. A tarp sheltering someone or things from public view. These are some of the images we see daily, under a bridge or on the side of a busy street. They’re not unique to one city but are prevalent images of those without homes. The unsheltered in our communities.

We pass by them. glance at them, but don’t really see them. They’re ubiquitous images of the homeless in today’s society. Unsheltered communities tend to form in larger cities and can often go overlooked. They get lost in the background of busy days and become invisible.

It’s a universal desire to have a home. A universal need to feel safe. A universal want for privacy. The universality for the want, need, and desire for a home can resonate with anyone. According to a report from April 2016 by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, 564,708 people were considered homeless.

For those less fortunate to not have more traditional homes, they make do with what they have, or don’t have. The homes we pass by are almost always in crowded, sometimes dangerous parts of the city, but close to the few resources that can be offered through shelters that are full to capacity and can only offer the very basic of necessities.

We forget that each tent or tarp we walk by shelters someone, or in many cases, more than one person. Families. A father. Someone’s daughter. Someone’s son. Each have their own unique background and story of how they came to be homeless, but despite the hardships they’ve faced, one of the few things they continue to strive to have is a place to call home.

International Marine Products is located in downtown Los Angeles on 7th and San Pedro and borders the infamous Skid Row. I chose to photograph this image because it is both part of the community of the homeless but also separate, whether by choice or by happenstance.
International Marine Products is located in downtown Los Angeles on 7th and San Pedro and borders the infamous Skid Row. I chose to photograph this image because it is both part of the community of the homeless but also separate, whether by choice or by happenstance.
Union Station is situated in a busy part of Los Angeles. It's surrounded by freeways, cultural centers, and busy streets. This home was discovered in the corner down the street from Union Station. It separates into two streets.
Union Station is situated in a busy part of Los Angeles. It’s surrounded by freeways, cultural centers, and busy streets. This home was discovered in the corner down the street from Union Station. It separates into two streets.
This image was taken in the San Fernando Valley. I found the home on Roscoe street between Orion and Haskell. It's a busy part of the street underneath the 405 freeway. It's always busy, always loud, and very, very public.
This image was taken in the San Fernando Valley. I found the home on Roscoe street between Orion and Haskell. It’s a busy part of the street underneath the 405 freeway. It’s always busy, always loud, and very, very public.

YPA 2016 MENTORING PROGRAM: AMERICAN LANDSCAPES

TEAM LOS ANGELES
MENTOR: David Zentz
MENTEE: Annette Cortez