Nonprofit, Award-Winning Community News and Views for Windham County, Vermont • Since 2006
The Arts

Documenting homelessness

In an online talk that connects to several current BMAC exhibits, Michael Christopher Brown talks about the lives of people living on L.A.’s Skid Row

The interview will be presented on Zoom and livestreamed simultaneously on BMAC’s Facebook page. For more information, visit

BRATTLEBORO—The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) presents a free online talk by photographer Michael Christopher Brown on Thursday, July 30, at 7:30 p.m.

Brown’s current work documents the lives of people living on L.A.’s Skid Row, near his home.

In a recent National Geographic article about the project, Brown wrote, “It’s the first time working in America that I’ve felt such a connection to a community — a place where no matter how broken someone may be, people do their best to take care of one another.”

Katherine Gass Stowe will interview Brown, drawing connections between his work and two exhibits related to homelessness that are currently on view at BMAC, one of which Stowe curated.

“Michael’s ‘Skid Row’ series focuses his eye and its characteristic intensity on a well-known area in L.A. that has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic,” Stowe said in a news release.

“At a time when a surging global pandemic and its attendant economic destruction threaten to exacerbate homelessness, these images are deeply relevant. Like Kinder’s work, Brown’s images can help those of us with stable housing see these communities with more clarity and compassion.”

Stowe curated “Steven Kinder: 552,830,” which features large-scale portraits of people experiencing homelessness, as well as another current BMAC exhibit, “Alison Wright: Grit and Grace, Women at Work.”

A third exhibit, “Coffee & Conversation: Stories of Homelessness,” is a multimedia project by Brattleboro’s Liz Lavorgna and Wyatt Andrews supported by Groundworks Collaborative. All three exhibits are on view through Oct. 12.

“This talk seemed like an excellent opportunity to connect what’s happening on the West Coast to the conversation at BMAC about housing insecurity, as explored in the exhibition ‘Steven Kinder: 552,830,’” Stowe said.

War photography abroad

Brown’s book, Libyan Sugar, which documents the Libyan Revolution, won the 2016 Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation First PhotoBook award and the 2017 International Center of Photography Infinity Award for Artist’s Book.

While in Libya, Brown was badly wounded by a bomb that killed two of his colleagues. He captured images of the civil war on his cell phone after his camera was knocked out of his hand.

Stowe first heard Brown describe his experiences in Libya in 2017.

“Michael’s story was very affecting and deep,” Stowe said. “His images captured the way we experience multiple emotional, intellectual, and physical realms at once as our technology delivers a tsunami of nonstop global information right into our hands. His practice seemed incredibly relevant to our time because of this.”

Brown also spent many years documenting the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His book Yo Soy Fidel, featuring photographs of spectators at Fidel Castro’s funeral procession, was exhibited during the 2018 Rencontres d’Arles.

Like what we do? Help us keep doing it!

We rely on the donations and financial support of our readers to help make The Commons available to all. Please join us today.

Originally published in The Commons issue #571 (Wednesday, July 22, 2020). This story appeared on page B1.

Share this story



Related stories