"VISUAL STORYTELLER ZAYDEE SANCHEZ FOUND RICARDO ON LOS ANGELES’ NOTORIOUS SKID ROW. SHE RETURNED OVER THE YEARS AND CAPTURED IMAGES OF A SOUL THAT MOVES TO ITS OWN UNIQUE BEAT."
A Skid Row Soundtrack
STORY FOR palabra
In 2014, photographer Zaydee Sanchez met Ricardo, an immigrant from Mexico who’d fallen on hard times and wound up living in a tent in Los Angeles’ notorious Skid Row district.The section of downtown L.A. is aptly named: It’s long been where homeless people have congregated -- at least 5,000 by official count -- making it one of the nation’s highest concentrations of people cast adrift by society.
As with most people who wind up on Skid Row, Ricardo’s story is long and complicated. It’s enough to know that as a teen he worked with his father at a radio station in his native Puebla, east of Mexico City. And it’s enough to know that he doesn’t fit the stereotype of a “homeless” person on the streets of America: He’s not a sad down-and-outer sitting by a dumpster, strung out on drugs or addled by mental illness.
“He’s a regular man who happens to be unhoused and voiceless,” Sanchez said. Ricardo lost his larynx a decade ago. Still, he’s quick to smile, especially when conversation turns to music -- rock and blues in particular. “His music has kept him company, reminding him of love, laughter, and his childhood,” Sanchez said. “(His) is a different look of Skid Row that only people who have spent a lot of time there can really see and appreciate.”
The first results are a stunning collection of photos and a short documentary she produced with veteran filmmaker Scott Barker.
Written by - Ricardo Sandoval-Palos, palabra’s managing editor.