• Ursula Vari

CHRONICLES OF AN LA PHOTOGRAPHER DURING THE CORONAVIRUS LOCKDOWN: HARVEY'S MESSAGE




On March 16, 2020 I became unemployed like millions of others due to the COVID-19 virus. My services as freelance photographer and as yoga teacher were no longer considered essential. With two dogs in a one bedroom apartment living modestly didn’t seem like the ideal set-up for the unknown future. I spent the first couple of days of the lockdown in a daze, trying to make sense of it all, just like you. Eventually, I shook it all off. I grabbed my camera and I ventured out keeping my six feet and washing hands frequently with the eventual squirt of eucalyptus oil. Painters paint, musicians make music, writers write and photographers tell stories. And that’s what I do. I am not here to please anyone. I am just here to express myself the only way I know how, through words and still images, chronicling my process.


I kept my word and I returned. And I brought Harvey the essentials he requested: things for personal hygiene and food. I didn’t know how I would do it given my current economic situation, being recently unemployed but somehow Creator provided the means. And thanks to Peter Gaillaiert, Harvey got what he needed. I wanted to talk to him about other topics not the usual “how did you end up on the street” or dwell on things of the past that one can’t change. I wanted to ask him about solutions to help his kind. I don’t want to hear the solution from a bunch of -mostly white male- city officials gathered around sterile tables, talking about the lives of people they don’t know anything about, the people they only know form their once-every-five-years photo-op visit. So I took to the streets to ask those who live there about how they see their segue into a roofed dwelling. And Harvey gave me answers, very simple solutions to a complex predicament. He also had a message to Mayor Garcetti and he had a message to the general public. Listen to this man words and educate yourself on the fact that not all homeless people are drug addicts not all of them have mental health issues. Each of them have their own unique story, each of them is a son, a father, a daughter, a mother, a human being just like you and I.