In the Picture: Teun Voeten’s Tunnel People

Talk October 20, 2010 7:00 PM

Dutch photographer, Teun Voeten, is an award winning photojournalist and author. He has covered conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sudan, Angola, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Lebanon and Gaza. His work has been featured in publications such as Vanity Fair, Newsweek, The New Yorker, and National Geographic, among others. Voeten is also a contributing photographer for organisations such as the International Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations.

In the mid-nineties however, he took a break from war reporting. For five months he lived, slept and worked in a tunnel underneath Manhattan’s well-heeled Upper West Side. He lived alongside an eclectic mix of outsiders: Vietnam veterans, hippies, crack addicts, Cuban refugees, convicted killers, computer programmers, philosophical recluses and criminal runaways. His book on this community, Tunnel People was originally published in the Netherlands in 1996 and widely acclaimed for its anthropological and journalistic merits.

Recently Voeten went back to find his former co-inhabitants of New York’s Tunnels. In this updated version of Tunnel People, Voeten describes what has happened in the thirteen years since they were evicted from the tunnels and offered alternative housing by Amtrak. Hot on the heals of his New York book launch, Voeten will be at the Frontline Club to discuss his career and his experience of living underground in Manhattan.