Artist Raises Awareness by Drawing Homes for the Homeless

Designer Sofia Borges from Los Angeles draws modern houses on pictures of the homeless.

In 2015, there were 44,000 people living in the street of Los Angeles County. Nowhere else in the country the number of unsheltered homeless seems to be this big. This is why at the end of the previous year the authorities declared a public emergency and allocated $100 mln to solve this problem. In January, about 7,000 volunteers took to the streets for three nights to count the real number of unsheltered homeless.

Borges and her colleague Susan Nwankpa went to Wilshire Boulevard, one of the main streets of the city, and spent two days photographing the homeless there. At first they tried to do an ‘impersonal’ shoot, making a shot like a contextual commentary, but afterwards they noticed that there are personal features in the photographs: colored blankets, dogs, strollers. “[Our] collective complicity turns our homeless into urban ghosts”, — Borges says.

After the shoot they added contours of houses in different styles to the photographs: Case Study Houses from mid-20th century, A-shaped houses, ‘organic’ architecture houses etc. “The power of environment shapes how others see us, but more importantly how we see ourselves”, — Borges explains.

The series is dedicated to the memory of Daren Borges who spent most of his adult life in the streets and died in 2014 at the age of 42.


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