Gallery Homelessness

Shelterless in the Time of COVID-19

I have a deep concern for what is happening with the homeless in Los Angeles, especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. I wondered if any programs were offering assistance, and so decided to head downtown with my camera to document what was happening on the street.

My first thought was to put together a photo essay to bring attention to the situation, tell the story.

I have always believed that when shooting, you bring yourself to the photograph, your own feelings, your bias. Yes, the photo is about the subject, however it also about who you are, and how you feel as an artist,  your heart, your compassion.

The gentleman sleeping on the street with his wheel chair as a resting place really moved me.  I wanted to be respectful. There is a tenderness to the image – peace. That was one of the first images I captured and it set the overall spirit for more than a week of shooting.

There is love, and in fact there needs to be love when expressing human suffering. Compassion.

As an African American I am destroyed at times when I see black folks on the street, living at the margins of mainstream society. I recognize that past disparities and inequalities have placed us here as a people.

Simply, therein lies my connection / humanity.




About Keith Smith

Born in New Orleans, Keith Smith graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana in 1983 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications. In 1989 Smith was accepted into the prestigious AFI [American Film Institute] in Los Angeles, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree. There he received AFI’s 1991 distinguished Remy Martin Student Scholarship Award. This marked the first time in its six-year inception, that the award was given to a cinematography fellow, and the first time the award went to a first-year student.

Smith began his film career as a camera assistant working with such well-known filmmakers as Oliver Stone and Robert Richardson, ASC. He worked with the pair on JFK, Heaven and Earth, Natural Born Killers, Nixon, and Any Given Sunday. He went onto work with Rob Reiner on a Few Good Men, and Robert Townsend’s comedy, Meteor Man.

Smith is focusing himself on a career in Hollywood as a Director of Photography. His goal is to shoot films that inspire and entertain. Lastly, he is most committed to films that are truthful and authentic in tone.


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