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In the Wilderness


Robert Gumpert discusses "Division Street," his photo essay on homelessness in San Francisco, which was published in the October issue of Harper's Magazine

Shetler from the Storm

A tent resident nestled between a Mercedes dealership fence and a support for the 101 freeway, off Division Street. Photograph © Robert Gumpert

For the October 2016 issue of Harper’s Magazine, photographer Robert Gumpert documents the day-to-day lives of some of the more than 250 homeless people living on Division Street, in San Francisco’s Mission District. “Being homeless is itself hard work,” Harper’s contributor Rebecca Solnit writes in her introduction. “These people forage for survival, eluding attack, roaming, watching, maybe making the rounds of social services and soup kitchens, trying to protect what possessions they have….The city is a wilderness to them.”

In the interview below, Gumpert discusses his photo essay, and what it’s like to get to know those forced to live on the streets of one of America’s wealthiest cities.


Parker Yesko is a San Francisco-based reporter covering changing cities and criminal justice.

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