Martin: "You've tried to find housing with your girlfriend?”

Pablo: “Yes. She's currently pregnant. I’ve called many programs before and it's all the run around with…they either say ‘Well, you have to come back tomorrow or come back some other day or earlier or you have to call in advance or there’s a waiting list. And then there’s been times where one program would refer us to another program and that program would say ‘Well now we’re full, you can check out this program.’ Which is just literally the program that referred us to that program. It’s all just the same thing over and over.”

M: “How did you end up living on the street?”

P: “When I turned eighteen my mom said ‘Son, you have to go. Your sister is getting old, I need my privacy, she needs hers, your brothers have all left…’ and she’s kicking my brother and his wife and his two kids out to.”

M: “She kicked you and your brother and your brother’s wife and kids out?”

P: “Yeah.”

M: “Why?”

P: “It was a two bedroom house. It’s small. She needs her privacy. I understand. I love my little sister and I’d rather have her somewhere to stay than me…”

M: “How do you come by money?”

P: “Me and my girlfriend work when we can. So I mean we try to save up as much as we can and when we need to eat, we eat. Work our way up.”

M: “How do you make sure you don’t get robbed at night?”

P: “At night what we do is we sleep at a church, a well-lit area. And sometimes, if we have to, we ride the bus all night, sleep on the bus if it’s too cold.”

M: “How long have you guys been together?”

P: “We’ve been together for a year and a little more than a half already. I’m happy. And she’s having my kid so… I love her and I already love my little kid.”

M: “You guys are staying away from drugs, I have a feeling. You seem very clear-minded.”

J: “Yeah. I’ve seen what it does to people. I used to have a friend who was on meth.

M: “Where does your girlfriend work?”

J: “She works at a KFC. Yeah. She works minimum wage. She got promoted about a year ago to supervisor. So they bumped her up to ten.”
© 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.