Don’t usually shoot people wearing hats. Got my friend McQuade to hold the reflector. Never shot Bernard. My shoot loosener fell flat. “Not a good day for the Yankees. Old. Injured. And they lost.” “I don’t follow baseball,” he said.
Tough to work alone. When one of my guys finds the light, it makes them smile. All my photos become a bigger collaboration with the people I shoot.
Chad sporting a Prince Valliant look.
Scotty has his pouch.
Amy received a certificate for attending a Peer Emotional Counselling Program.
New girl in town.
Redemption. We seek redemption for different reasons. Larry promotes a clean environment, relying on the arrogance of those who cast their containers aside after binging on the beach. He lives to drink another day, clearing the beach and adjoining land of debris. We get to enjoy the view.
So, I represented Eric light years ago in Rutland. Must have called him in jail, when public defenders didn’t deign to do such things, except for the privileged few. He asked something and someone answered something. From then on he has referred to me as Mrs. Duckman.
Trying to build a portrait photography business in Burlington. People don’t spend money on such things unless they go to high school or get married. I don’t have money for a studio or advertising or professional quality lighting. Spent too much going to school and then the market dropped. So, I came up with a promotional idea. Donated a portrait shoot, a headshot and a digital image, at a screening of Tatoo Nation, a movie about how prison tatooing in California started the tatoo boom. Wouldn’t you know it, a kid who wanted a tatoo won the raffle. He doesn’t have ink. But he wants to become a musician. Right now he fights some demons, but he feels as though he is headed in the right direction.
Dennis died April 2 at the age of 54. He didn’t look it, as people say, but what does that mean? What does a person’s years have to do with how they look? People look like they look. We all see people differently based on our experience. If we have seen someone, an aging relative or friend, who looks haggard or tired, we may assume that all at this age will look the same. If the person shows energy and promise, we might make more positive deductions. But they mean nothing. The people whom we observe leave an individual faceprint. The better the shot, the more we see. If we listen, a little, the more we learn about the person, not necessarily about life as it applies to all who have been born who have or will wander into our lives.
Our man, Dennis, here, looks strong and weak. He’s tired of the bullshit life put in his path and on top of whatever he needs to do to avoid it. See the wrinkles under the eyes, the deep routes in his forehead, the downward tilt to his lips. He’s wearing a raincoat on a sunny day and a wool cap on a not so cold one. Colored like the flag, he looks like he dressed for the walk, albeit inappropriately. He didn’t. Not a lot of patience to stand still, but he did. I gave him a dollar. Dave Parker gave him a dollar that I had given to him earlier.
People mourned him.
Not seeing well, but clear headed, now, Scotty needed his stick. He doesn’t see, well. He has social skills, but limited physical ones. People take advantage of him; stealing his money, getting him drunk, not listening to his needs. He thought that someone had stolen his stick, because he gets special treatment.
So. when I attempted to shoot him, he resisted. “Haven’t you taken enough pictures of me?” No. “I have to find my stick. Where’s City Hall? I might have left it in the bathroom.” We walked. We talked. I had to hold him. He stumbled. Not a photo shoot.
He remembered, with help from Matt Young, that he may have left it in the bathroom at City Hall, but he wasn’t sure. Had to stop at the bathroom, where e inquired of a guy taking a shit, by peeking over the divider. Not shocked, the shitter said, “not here” We went to the Office of the City Attorney, a stop I needed to set up an appointment with Richard Haessler. He’s not there. Scotty is getting shakey. Well dressed people in the hall, black and briefcases, looked away from us, more interested in their pitch to whomever in City Government they needed to reach. Again, not pictures. Only Scotty, Not sure why?
But we found his stick.
So, his adult life has not been on easy street. Spent less time free, than not free. Cannot find work. Doesn’t have an education. Basically disabled because he can’t do whatever there is to do and no one would hire him anyway. He stands, asking for small bits of change. Cops kicked him off the ramp coming off I91, because of danger to himself and drivers. But what could they do to him? Put him in jail?
No easy answers.
Not much traffic recently on Church Street. People in jail. People in motels. People in programs. Some people hanging out on couches. Others, who knows. One warm day and they hit the streets. Not to say they lost contact. Just followed enough dramas. Ready to go full blown, getting in and out of who knows how much trouble, again.
Dave just got good news about his claim for benefits. He may have more trouble keeping the money than getting it.
Larry’s girlfriend broke up with him last night. He said he had a heart attack. But they let him out for breakfast.
Dennis Terrible had to go to jail to sleep it off. Too drunk for the hospital. He got kicked out of the hoosegow. Walked back to Church St.
Tommy needed a dollar. Dave gave him the dollar I had just given to him. We call that the trickle down in Burlington.
Tommy must have spent his money. Sitting on Church Street, holding a sign that says “Homeless and Hungry. Anything Helps. Thank You.” If you cannot read it, its because he doesn’t write big. People cannot sit on the street, begging, without signs. He knows his First Amendment rights, Tommy does.
She’s homeless and hungry.
I bought a Powerball ticket. Who knows?
Usually, when I walk down Church Street, elation fills my heart when a person who hasn’t been around for a while finds me. Jim is one of the guys whose smile always brightens my day.
During an early winter cold spell, I carried a sleeping bag around for days looking for him. Our schedules sometimes don’t coincide, me being an early morning person, while he sometimes roams until late at night and then sleeps in or out, depending on the weather. Jim said he’d been around, just not at the same time as me. I must have missed his decline.
Last time I shot him and his daughter Amanda was Christmas morning. They were on their way to a meal at Junior’s, an annual food event for street people. Both seemed a little beaten down. She’s away right now. People say she was doing OK for a while. I saw him again in mid-January. He was talking with a cop about something. I gave him a dollar, staring without talking, before moving along. Enough drama. Didn’t know if he was engaged in a social or investigative conversation.
But, on St. Patrick’s day, as he waited for the parade of Ireland Cement Mixers, we chatted. He looked awful. Even the days in the past when he had been carousing and not taking care of himself, he had a sense of life. He had helped people who had fallen or who couldn’t take care of themselves, like Paul O’Toole. Out early, he would pick up litter in City Hall Park. He told jokes and stories. Had a high sense of morals and etiquette. Got pissed if you didn’t greet him and upset if he missed you. Today, he answered the question, “how are you,” with “… not too good. Doctors say I don’t have a chance.” He wouldn’t tell me what was wrong, though I asked several times.
He refused my offer to buy him a new coat. “Not going to be needing a new coat where I am going.” Turned down my open offer to do anything which would make him more comfortable or happy. “No need. I have been all the places I needed to go and done all I wanted to do. Just waiting for the end.” Damn. I took a dollar out of my wallet and offered it to him. He refused and then reached into his pocket, took out a silver dollar. “Here Duck. You take this dollar. Its for all the dollars you have given me over the years.” “I don’t need your dollar,” I said. “Then give it to someone who does. When was the last time a homeless person gave you a dollar?’ I took it.
Mollie keeps trying. She has obstacles to conquer. Needs a place to live and a job, not to mention some support. She isn’t giving up and could use a break. Day after day she stands on the street, doing what she has to do. Got to give her some credit for the effort, though some people are less sympathetic to her than others.
Karl had his hips fixed. He is up and walking. Probably should be giving his hips more time to heal, but doesn’t like to be kept down. Shane says he could get a job as a nutritionist; he cannot fight the system, because he doesn’t have formal training. No way either can help Mollie, except to be supportive.
Scotty has a cane which he doesn’t use. He says that he sees shapes and doesn’t like looking down.