Book: Lucky S. Michaels, Shelter, 2008

From OutHistory
Jump to navigationJump to search

Lucky Michaels, Shelter (NY and London: Trolley Press, 2008)


OutHistory's Description:

For three years, from 2003 to 2006, the photographer Lucky S. Michaels shot roughly 4,000 images while he worked as an overnight counselor at a shelter for homeless LGBTQ youth, Sylvia's Place, in New York City. Michaels' book presents a visual history of that place, in those years.

Publisher's Description

Of the roughly 15,000 to 20,000 homeless youths in New York, up to 40 percent of them are LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender). ‘Sylvia’s Place’ originated as the vision of Sylvia Rivera, a transgendered woman, who was an advocate for LGBT rights during her life and worked tirelessly, even while stricken with cancer, for the food pantry at the Metropolitan Community Church of New York. On her deathbed, she made the Reverend Pat Bumgardner promise to find a way to start a shelter in the space. One year after her death Rev Pat saw to it that this vision was seen through to fruition.

Their first client, Ron Malice, arrived on April 3rd of 2003, and within a week from Ron’s arrival, Lucky Michaels was hired. As a participant observer, Lucky began photographing the environment and the teenagers who walked through their doors.


Each story became a part of Sylvia’s growing history. “I’m here and I’m alive, so I guess I’m lucky,” says Domico Sanchez, one of the shelter’s clients, “It’s hard for anyone being homeless. But imagine being homeless, a teenager and gay. People would jump you on the streets.” Each young person has had something to say, even if only in silence. With music flooding the air inside, voices vying for attention, pots clanging in the sink, silence has a story of its own.

The one thing they all have in common is that they all have nowhere else to sleep, but even sleep is never a guarantee at Sylvia’s. Many of them lie plagued with insomnia, others lie awake with the hope of a new day. Although they might not find restful sleep each night, they always find a bed and a shower. Some also find families, enemies, boyfriends, girlfriends. Most find their own kind of sanctuary.

Lucky Michaels is a young photographer, living and working in New York.

He was one of the first people to start working at Sylvia's Place, whilst studying at Parson's School of Design. Along the way he documented, with his camera, the people and the characters that bring a one-room shelter to life.

He continues to work at Sylvia's Place.


Publication Data:

ISBN: 978-1-904563-63-1

Publication Month: 0000

Publication Year: 2008

Binding: Light Hard

Extent: 240

Format: 180 x 230

Retail Price: UK £29.99 \ US $49.95 \ EURO € \ CAN $ \ AUS $

Price: £29.99

Members Price: £20.00

Publisher's Categories:

Photography/ Social Documentary

Link to Publisher:

Link to New York Times feature: