On a recent vacation to the United States, New Zealand-based graphic designer and photographer Michael Pharaoh started to look beyond the glam of L.A., and found a community of more interesting people that he wanted to photograph. So he spent his time walking around and documenting the many homeless people living along the streets of the city. He created this collection of portraits, entitled The Homeless of L.A., which invites viewers to actually ponder what is hidden beneath the tough exterior of each worn, weathered face.
Pharaoh’s portraits convey the gritty reality of living on the streets. He mainly chose to have his subjects staring directly back into the camera, which creates a personal connection between the subject and the viewer. In addition, he includes close-up details of just fragments of each face, which sparks a curiosity about how a homeless person might perceive the world in different ways. Pharaoh says, “It was fascinating to me because we don’t have the same plethora of homeless people as L.A. It was interesting to hear all of their stories and how they came to live on the streets. This project was both a sad yet humbling one.”