Clarence came up to me while I was shooting and starting talking to me. A lot of homeless do this. They spend their days alone and when they have a chance to talk to someone, especially someone who is interested in what they have to say a lot of information comes out. He has moved around the country a lot and this is his 7th time back on Skid Row. He likes it here. Likes the weather and the people. He wanted to explain to me why he drinks and has problems. Clarence is a cutter. He lifted up his jacket sleeve to reveal an arm horribly scarred by years of cutting and self mutilation. He has done this to himself since he was a childI and it has taken him years to understand why he does it but he is now in counseling feels he is getting the help he needs to break this cycle of destruction. I hope I see him again to get an update on his progress.
Sasha is a very friendly, out-going person. She saw my camera and asked me what I was shooting. I told her I wanted to photograph her and she instantly stuck a pose. I really appreciated the time she took with me because it was a hot day and she was standing in the sun wearing a leather jacket. We talked for a while and when I finished photographing her I remembered I had my audio recorder in my bag. By the time I thought to record her she was already running late so she made her comments short and sweet, but right on point.
I met richard on the corner of Los Angeles Street and 6th. He has such a great face that I asked if I could photograph him and he was more than happy to let me. As he spoke he told of his time as an Army combat veteran in the Korean war. He’s been living on Skid Row for a long time. Sometimes on the street. Sometimes in subsidized apartments. He is 92 years old and sharp as a tack. I asked what his secret was and he told me he never smoked, drank or did drugs. We spoke for 30 minutes and when it came time to say goodbye we shook hands and he crushed mine with his grip.
I met Gregory as I came out of Cole’s on 6th Street. He looked a little tired and I asked him if he was alright. He told me he just need to stop to take a break from the heat. He had been walking for hours to get to the Midnight Mission. We talked a little longer and I asked it I could take a few pictures to which he agreed. I gave him a couple of dollars so he could buy some water and was just about to leave. That’s when he asked me if I wanted to hear something and started to rhyme.