After being thrown out by her landlord and losing her security deposit, Ash Thayer was left broke and homeless. She joined a squatter community through her involvement in the punk scene, where she spent the next eight years living in abandoned buildings throughout the now gentrified Lower East Side.
Luckily for us Thayer was an aspiring photographer at the School of Visual Arts and she documented the whole process. The See Skwat community allowed Thayer to stay in the city and make ends meet through odd jobs as well as continuing her studies. She compiled an inspiring photo-book documenting their trials and tribulations titled Kill City: Lower East Side Squatters 1992-2000, which was released earlier this year.
The squatter community was secretive due to their poor legal standing in the buildings they occupied. This made photographic access highly exclusive. However, more than beautiful and exclusive images, the book highlights important themes of community empowerment, gender dynamics, solidarity, politics and gentrification.