• Andrew Zhang

Andres Serrano: Bringing Awareness to New York’s Homeless

Not many photographers choose to focus on the homeless. However, Andres Serrano is one of those photographers. He first began in 1990 when he shot photos of New York’s homeless individuals in the streets and subway tunnels for his first photograph series, “Nomads.”

Sir Leonard, by Andres Serrano

Serrano lets the subjects choose their positioning, and the main aspects that Serrano control are the light source and backdrop. He does not "ask [his] sitters to look dignified or noble. The most I ever asked them was to look left or right.”

One of Serrano’s notable works in his first series, “Nomads,” is titled Sir Leonard. The piece was a portrait of a man he encountered in the New York subway. His subjects may appear as if they took hours to prepare, position, and dress; however, the individuals are often just in their everyday clothes, making Serrano’s art style simple yet intriguing.

Then, in 2013, Serrano began his project “Signs of the Times.” For this series, he bought around 200 signs from various homeless individuals off the streets of New York. By taking photos of these signs, he aimed to spread awareness of poverty in New York City. Serrano was truly motivated after witnessing the large homeless population in the city and decided to start this project to support them.

Karen Davis, by Andres Serrano

Serrano’s most recent project, “Residents of New York,” also focuses on the homeless population. This series consists of 85 portraits of men and women on the streets. These photos were taken specifically to capture the lives of those living in poverty.

His photos from “Residents of New York” were well-received and broadcasted in subway stations and various other public areas. They were displayed in New York’s West 4th Street subway station, Washington Square, LaGuardia Place, and many other distinct locations.

When seeing Serrano’s photos in public, passing pedestrians are urged to taking a second look at the homeless and hopefully choose to help.

Serrano’s Subway Display

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