Photographs of San Diego, California, photographer Ryan Murphy have become a rallying cry for a group of people who have endured homelessness and poverty in the city for decades.
Murphy, who lives with his family in an apartment building in the upscale Marina district of San Francisco, has been working on documenting the lives of people living in the shadows of the homeless for more than a decade.
He said he wanted to create a way for people to see themselves as human beings, not just a bunch of numbers.
“People are dying and people are dying in the streets,” Murphy told Al Jazeera.
“And I was really inspired by those images to be able to put together a collection that could be shared with people.”
“It’s not about how many you have,” he added.
“It is about how you can create something for someone else to enjoy.”
For Murphy, the photographs are a way to show people that they are not alone in their struggles.
“I don’t think we should be ashamed of ourselves,” he said.
“There are people out there who have it harder than us, but we are still people.”
For some of the people Murphy photographed, homelessness and homelessness are not the same thing.
“Sometimes the word homeless is misconstrued,” he told Al and Piers.
“Homelessness is a social construct.
The collection is called The Ghosts of San Fransisco. “
That’s the difference between being homeless and not being homeless.”
The collection is called The Ghosts of San Fransisco.
The Ghosts, as they are known in Murphy’s community, is meant to bring people together.
In one photo, Murphy and his wife, Tania, sit in a parked car on the side of a road with a young boy and a woman on the other side.
“You can feel them moving,” Murphy said.
The image of the two children is a striking juxtaposition to a man wearing a mask and holding a rifle.
“They are so different,” he explained.
“If I am sitting there and these people are there, I don’t have to worry about them.” “
The people who are on the street are the people who really need us,” Murphy continued.
“If I am sitting there and these people are there, I don’t have to worry about them.”
“They need a space to breathe, and to have a conversation, and not have to be afraid of them.
And to have someone who they can rely on to look out for them.”
The Ghosts are a celebration of the community, not necessarily a reflection of a particular social group, Murphy said, adding that he feels a connection with his subjects.
“When you get to know someone, it’s like a family.
Murphy said he has found the project a welcome change of pace from other portraits, which he has previously done in the past. “
We are just there to have fun.”
Murphy said he has found the project a welcome change of pace from other portraits, which he has previously done in the past.
“A lot of people get scared of me and I get scared.
I’m not scared of them at all,” he concluded.
“My goal is to be a good person and not be scared of anyone.”
The images are a reminder to people that we have each other, he said, but also a call to “to not get too attached to anybody”.
A collection of images from The Ghosts is available on the Ryan Murphy’s website, RyanMurphy.com.
A video of the collection is also available.