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Urban Ore The Secret Life of Scrappers Photographs and captions by André Hermann Underneath the off-ramp of a major San Francisco, CA freeway, six home-


less people have created a home and community around a dangerous, labor intensive trade—scrapping. Copper and other metals are extracted from abandoned buildings and discarded objects like motors, pipes, and cables. In ‘Urban Ore: The Secret Life of Scrappers,’ Andre Hermann has documented the creativity and danger that lies in this operation, as well as the lives of the homeless individuals who rely on it to make a living. “They were the invisible, homeless, below the radar so-to-speak,” Hermann says of his subjects. “All they wanted was [for] the system to take notice that they were there and needed help.” In the end, these scrappers have the same desire as any indi- vidual in our hard-pressed economy: the desire to find a job. In the image ‘Somewhere Else,’ (see page __) scrapper Steve is captured in a poignant thought, wondering how to make enough money to pay the fee to take a driver’s license test so that he can ap- ply for a real job. “In the end I hope people will realize that the homeless are human beings like the rest of us, not unwanted animals on the street that society has been burdened with,” Hermann explains of ‘Urban Ore.’ “They have lives, they care for their own. They have hopes, dreams, and needs—to make a living.”


- Robin Lam


Snapixel Magazine I Summer’s End I 51


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