TUE TO SUN 10.00 a. m. – 7.00 p.m.



Location: USA

In October 2007 while shooting in the train tunnel I noticed smoke rising from a burning cigarette on the ground next to me. Clearly a signal. I spoke to the top of a portion of a wall against which a ladder was placed. No one answered. When I went back to the wall to inform the house that I would be returning. Chuck and Lisa stood up. Lisa was pregnant.

This series of 35mm digital prints comes from years spent on the street following men and women part of an elusive culture who accepted my company. It was important to me to preserve the beauty of place and people and I never knew what would happen. I never censored, but neither did they. The people of the Tunnel/River/Batcave community took huge personal risks for this work and gave it all they had, their story, their time, their protection, their love. What they asked was that I accept and tell the truth, even when it wasn’t easy for them or me, in the hope that viewers will know that this is not the way to live.

What does it take for these men and women to live in rough and challenging, at times brutal conditions for as long as twenty, thirty years? Kindness, courage, acceptance, and shared hardship. They took care of one another, shared resources, saved lives, stood together against predators and gave comfort to the damaged, to the deeply saddened.

Since 1986, informal settlements have existed in the area photographed despite the no tolerance methods used to cleanse the area of its homeless.


Andrea Star Reese, a photojournalist/ documentary/visual story teller based in New York/Jakarta, is a member of Woman Photograph, NPPA, NWU, IFJ, and a 2010 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow.

A seven-year documentary on unsheltered men and women led to URBAN CAVE, a photo book, published by FotoEvidence. Photographs from the series are part of Musee de L’Elysee Museum Collection. Recognitions include a 2014 David Pike Award for Excellence in Journalism.

DISORDER, an on-going reportage on Indonesians with a mental health condition was a catalyst for a Human Rights Watch’s investigation into shackling, “LIVING IN HELL”.  Reese’s ongoing collaboration with HRW has garnered widespread media attention on the issue, helping to build national and international pressure resulting in systemic change on the ground across the country. Recognitions include The 2016 LUCIE AWARD for Deeper Perspective Photographer of the Year.