Country and Snow White at Country’s home in a derelict sanitation facility he calls “the Whitehouse.”
Fragile and resilient, tragic and beautiful, self-destructive yet surviving, these homeless men and women are just people. Neither more than us, nor less than us they are a part of us. And they are apart from us. Nothing is simple in the shadows of the street.—Andrea Star Reese
The Urban Cave is the powerful documentation of homeless men and women in West Harlem by Andrea Star Reese. Formerly a filmmaker, Reese began this project when she enrolled in the photojournalism documentary photo program at ICP. One of her assignments was to capture “New York Underground”, which consequently led her to a train tunnel nicknamed the Batcave.
There she discovered a complex community of people; Chuck, Lisa, Krissy, Snow White and Country, that operated much like a family. Reese was allowed to witness their stories as a mutual trust was formed. She describes her images as a “response to the beauty of a place, a people, and the dignity, determination, and perseverance of this particular long-term homeless culture.” Reese captures a portrait of people, not an issue, and she is very specific about that. We would agree.
Reese was a finalist for the 2013 FotoEvidence Book Award.
Willy Colon has been living in a box on the street since 2004. Before that, he lived under Track 13 in Pennsylvania Station.
Geo takes a “homeless shower” in the “Batcave”, a dead end street on the west side of Manhattan. All hours of the day and night men and women gather to seek refuge in it’s shadows.
Zoe and Jamaica take refuge in a subway tunnel.
Snow White helps Krissy get dressed.
In 1982 Brooklyn found her home by following feral cats to their shelter in the tunnel. Brooklyn sings and dances outside of uptown bars and clubs to earn money.
Chuck waits on the tracks near his home.