Anthony Hernandez
[Photographer, b. 1947, Los Angeles, lives in Los Angeles.]

 I grew up taking pictures in downtown L.A. because this was my neighborhood, it was someplace I know, the poor places of L.A.—Compton, South Central, Watts… It helps to have brown skin. 
 I love the idea that I’m not there [in the photographs]. But I am there. 
 My work may be beautiful or it might not be, that just isn’t what I am concerned with. I try to be open and face the city... To me it’s not unpleasant or unbeautiful, it’s just life—which has to be threatening sometimes if it is going to be interesting. 
 The reason I started photographing in downtown Los Angeles was not because of the work of other street photographers. It’s because I grew up there. Naturally, if I’m going to take pictures, I’m going to take pictures of places I know. 
 The hardest pictures I’ve ever made were the homeless pictures. I wasn’t in a war zone, but it is as if I were. It’s hard to reconcile the larger segment of society, which is so ordinary, and which would just like the homeless to disappear, with the greatness of the country. We’re reminded that however “great” this country is, the homeless stand for the failure to face the future. 
 Nobody else was looking. And that’s why people will see what I’ve seen... that’s what I’ve forced them to do with these pictures.