In 2021 whilst scrolling through the vast and unpredictable wilderness of Instagram, I happened across a photographer with a unique perspective.
Bumdog Torres is an LA resident that lives rough on the streets of this sprawling metropolis.
Sleeping in doorways and moving around with his possessions in tow, his days are spent photographing his friends and those that similarly find themselves living on the very edges of society.
His portraits are expressive and compassionate.
Whether in stark monochrome or warm colour, these are never stolen images. If he snaps a slumbering street sleeper he will tuck a five dollar bill safely about them as payment.
The pictures will generally be accompanied with brief text.
Explanatory notes, introductions to friends or the briefest of potted biographies, thus ensuring that these forgotten and overlooked ghosts are reanimated, and that their lives and histories are given voice.
Here is a warmth, colour, friendship and trust.
Not given up easily, but why should it be. This is the only gift many of them have to give.
Earn it and don’t fuck with it.
6 Feet Back.... is so much more than a photobook, it is a precious account of the Covid pandemic as experienced by those on the bottom rung of society’s ladder, cut adrift and left to fend for themselves in the most glamorous city of the richest country on the planet.
As much an essay, the pictures almost take second place to the stories which run from inspirational and heartwarming, to heartbreaking and shame inducing.
I’m told that the next publication will put the photographs centre stage, but for 6 Feet Back, the layout and edit make perfect sense.
Bumdog is not a charity case, and doesn’t want our sympathy or pity. For him this a lifestyle choice and he has happily lived this way for years.
However, I’m sure he will forgive me if I encourage you to seek him out and support his work. Not because I want you to ease your consciences, but instead to encourage you to invest in a new and exciting talent with a powerful and relevant message to relate.