Martin: "What brings you to living on the street?”

Alexis: “We lost our house, me and my husband, and we got two kids, two boys, and…Well I don't like to talk about it but basically we lost our place ‘cause of an eviction. My kids are now with my sister and they’re basically gonna be staying there until we get a place to put a roof over our head. We’ve been staying at the shelter downtown in LA and we wake up at 6:00am in the morning and we come out and we go on the internet, we go to places to look for housing… We got married in 2014. It’s making me cry more and it’s making him more humble to deal with the situation but the frustration of looking for housing is very hard. They want you to make either three or five times [the income over the monthly rent]. It’s devastating because… a studio could cost you nine hundred, a one-bedroom could cost you twelve hundred, and a two-bedroom could cost you fifteen to sixteen hundred. I don’t know why the rent in LA has went up so high. I’m accustomed to when… it used to be for a two-bedroom like eight or nine hundred dollar.s And now it has gone up so fast, I don’t even know what’s going on.”
© 2024 Martin Schoeller


On the street corner of Sycamore and Romaine in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, Martin photographed the homeless throughout 2015 for Hollywood Food Coalition (formerly known as the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition), which was co-founded by friends Ted and Penny Landreth. The coalition provides many services, but notably, they have been serving hot meals made from scratch every single day for over thirty years. Through partnering with the Hollywood Food Coalition, Martin photographed and interviewed over three hundred individuals.

“Most of the people in this series are clients of the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition. I wanted to give them a face and a voice. The interviews are recorded on my phone and then transcribed. Sometimes it’s a five-minute exchange, other times it’s over an hour - it all depends on how much somebody wants to share with me. The interviews were then condensed to fit the Instagram format, as this series was shared on the platform. Editing is always subjective, but I try to present these interviews as authentically as possible, using only direct quotes from our conversation.

I am very grateful for everyone’s trust and time.”
– Martin Schoeller

For more portraits and stories, please visit Martin’s Instagram here.