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Photo by Teun Voeten

Hell Under Wheels


Kathy with some of her 25 cats in the bunker where she lives with her husband, Joe, a Vietnam veteran who has occupied this tunnel for more than 20 years, Upper West Side, New York, Winter 1994

In the winter of 1994 and summer of 1995, war photographer and reporter Teun Voeten picked up his anthropological roots and studied an underground community of homeless people that lived in a railroad tunnel on Manhattan’s affluent Upper West Side.

For months, he lived, worked and slept among the so-called “tunnel people” and managed to gain unprecedented access. Voeten’s research resulted in his first book, Tunnelmensen, published in Amsterdam in 1996. On September 11, the translated and updated version, Tunnel People, will come out in the U.S.

The photo series is unique in the way that it documents all aspects of homeless life in strong, yet simple images. The transparency of Voeten’s photos transports the viewer immediately to the dark netherworld of the underground homeless. Tunnel life is not all misery, however, and Voeten manages to portray the tunnel people as hard working, proud people who experience bright spots and fun times in their lives as well.

Press description of "Tunnel People," on view at Umbrage Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, Sept 15 – Oct 30, 2010.


Posted in: Community, Photography, Poverty

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