Throughout his career in photojournalism, which spans more than three decades, Adamo has worked on a personal project to document Bakersfield, his hometown at the Southern end of California’s Central Valley. Part of that life project includes Adamo’s thought-provoking photographs of local homeless individuals and families taken as the natural events of their everyday lives unfold—on the street, under a bridge, inside a shelter, or interacting with their pets.
Several of the photographs Adamo has generously shared with the Kern County Homeless Collaborative’s website were commissioned by the Bakersfield Museum of Art for the 2009-10 exhibit “Society’s Edge,” a series of 22 photographs of the homeless and near-homeless taken between 1979 and 2009. “Society’s Edge” was one of five exhibits tackling the issue of homelessness, including the critically acclaimed core exhibit, “Hobos to Street People: Artists’ Responses to Homelessness from the New Deal to the Present.”
Adamo’s photos have been published in Life, Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Rolling Stone and many other publications.
What followed that eye-opening experience were at least five years of activism and a series of 35 paintings and lithographs intended to raise awareness about the plight of the homeless—many of whom shared their stories with Berger.
Berger’s works on the homeless have since been exhibited in venues as different as homeless shelters, universities, museums and even California’s State Capitol Building in Sacramento.
Twelve of Berger’s homeless series paintings are now in the permanent collection of the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum in Buffalo, N.Y. Another painting is in the permanent collection of Los Angeles’ Skirball Cultural Center.
In Central California, Berger’s work was displayed in 2009-10 at the Bakersfield Museum of Art in an exhibit called “No Place to Go: Paintings of the Homeless.” Berger’s exhibit was one of five homelessness-focused shows happening concurrently, including the main exhibit, “Hobos to Street People: Artists’ Responses to Homelessness from the New Deal to the Present.”