Imagine yourself in one of Anchorage’s homeless camps. Cooking. Waking. Waiting. Whatever. What would life look like from that perspective? Different? The same? Interested in looking? Anthony Hernandez is. Those are just some of the shots that the California-based photographer has attempted to capture as he wandered through Anchorage during the past month.

“Some people ask, ‘What’s so important or compelling about taking pictures of such unpleasant subjects like city dwellers?’ . . . 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.”

–Anthony Hernandez via The J. Paul Getty Museum

Imagine yourself in one of Anchorage’s homeless camps. Cooking. Waking. Waiting. Whatever. What would life look like from that perspective? Different? The same? Interested in looking?

Anthony Hernandez is. Those are just some of the shots that the California-based photographer has attempted to capture as he wandered through our city during the past month. Hernandez is in Alaska for a month-residency at Out North.

A 2009 United States Artist (USA) Fellow in visual arts, Hernandez was invited to participate in the Alaska Artist in Residency (AIR) program, a collaboration between USA and Rasmuson Foundation to bring artists from around the country to Alaska for month-long residencies with Alaska arts and culture organizations.

The USA website describes Hernandez as a photographer of urban areas who has produced series on the homeless, welfare offices, the neglected Los Angeles River, and abandoned buildings. He attended East Los Angeles College from 1966–67 before joining the army and serving in Vietnam for two years. Upon returning to his native city, he began photographing people on the street in black and white, seriously taking up photography in 1970. He now works in color and various formats, and, since 1980, most of his works are devoid of people although their presence is felt in the derelict buildings and sites he depicts.

Hernandez’ books include “Landscapes for the Homeless” (Sprengel Museum, Hanover 1995), “Sons of Adam: Landscapes for the Homeless II” (Centre National de la Photographie, Paris, and Musee de l’Elysee, Lausanne, 1997), and “Pictures for Rome” (Smart Art Press 2000), “Waiting for Los Angeles” (Nazraeli Press 2002), “Everything” (Nazraeli Press 2005), “Waiting, Sitting, Fishing and Some Automobiles” (Loosestrife Editions, 2007).

His work is included in the permanent collections of museums in the United States and in Europe. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will mount a retrospective of his work in 2014, an exhibit that will travel to other venues in Europe and the United States, to be accompanied by a full catalogue. Perhaps some of his shots from Anchorage will be among those selected for exhibit.

USA is a national organization with a mission to invest in America’s finest artists by providing grants of $50,000 to 50 USA Fellows annually. Rasmuson Foundation is a founding member of USA.