Martin: “How long have you been living on the streets?”

Keya: “Off and on since my mom died in 2012.”

M: “She must have been young, your mom?”

K: “Forty-two. She had a heart attack.”

M: “Just out of the blue?”

K: “Yeah.”

M: “I’m sorry to hear that. You don’t have a job?”

K: “No, when she passed away I lost my job and that’s how I lost my apartment and that’s how I ended up out here.”

M: “You lost your job because you couldn’t get it together?”

K: “They put me in a… I was like real, real depressed so they put me in a mental hospital. And once I got out I had nothing left. I was out here.”

M: “And your dad?”

K: “Nah, he wasn’t around at all actually. I saw him probably four times in my whole life and that was it.”

© 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.