Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hustlin to survive San Francisco Streets Part I

These series of photos is my attempt into photo journalism. I've been dreaming of this project for a while now but never had the chance to.

A wedding event that my wife is participating in forced me to have 5 hours to myself observing the streets of San Francisco.

I thought to myself as long as I have my camera I will be well entertained. Then a spark in my mind to start my project of covering a part of San Francisco that tourist and locals tend to ignore. I was interested in people that lived in San the streets of San Francisco. I was going to look for a random homeless person and chat about their experience, but I didn't know what to say or what to do. So I stood there infront of Blondies Pizza and Rasputin with my dark shades and camera...just people watching taking picture of my surroundings instead. Out of the blue a thin framed six foot three inches man came up to me with a blank stare and asked if I could spare some change to get a slice of Pizza. I willingly said "sure I'll buy you a slice" and we started talking about our experience while waiting in line. It's funny..everybody pretended that the homeless man wasn't there until I invited him to Blondies to get a slice and immediately I noticed that people started grasping their purses and bags a little tighter and glancing at the homeless man and I in line chatting. He ordered a slice of Pepperoni and a small soda. I paid for his meal and gave him my change. I know that the money might go to drugs and booze and some might think that I'm an enabler but at that moment I treated him like a friend with a little food..a little money and a conversation that I will cherish. We got comfortable with each other and I asked him if I can take his picture without a doubt he said that he does not mind.

He was hustlin me for some change and I offered to buy him lunch for his story.

His name is Troy Morgan. Grew up in San Jose and went to Independence Highschool. Got caught up in some incidents and migrated to San Francisco and have been there for about 20 years. He mentioned drug use briefly that got him in the streets but didn't feel comfortable enough to talk more about his past.

Troy believed in the Rastefarian religion "The Lion of Judah" and summarized it for me during our conversation.

He stays where ever he can stay but mostly cruises around Market street and Powell.

He also mentioned staying at the Shelter sometimes for ten dollars but always over crowded.

Troy also mentioned that he doesn't mind being homeless and not have to deal with so much responsibility in life.

I asked him for one more picture so he quickly dropped his pizza and soda that I purchased for him.

Troy pulled up his pants and attempted to make himself more presentable for the last picture.

I thanked him for sharing his story and he went off in the crowd.

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