Homeless settlements exist as liminal spaces ghettoised counter-cultures, disregarded by the surrounding communities, and identifiable by the make-shift dwellings created out of found or donated materials as much as by the inhabitants themselves. Some dwellings are hidden in woodland, under freeways, or on embankments where their occupants can live without fear of eviction, whilst others deliberately confront the society that has rejected them, with their conspicuous siting on roadsides, in industrial areas, public spaces or wasteland.
Murphy's photographs focus on the habitats created by displaced and forgotten individuals in and around Reno, Nevada and the Californian cities of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Sacramento, Fresno and Ontario. This series of images examines how, with limited resources in insecure environments, a sense of home and identity is achieved and established through an improvised architecture, and how these temporary homes inevitably fall apart or are deconstructed to leave no trace of their existence.
Homes of the American Dispossessed: Photographs by Ben Murphy