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Clean

The word is synonymous with ridding ourselves of dirt and grime.  But clean doesn't necessarily have the same meaning for other people.

Take Mark for example.  As he sits in his wheelchair, he collects just enough money to pay off his rent for the month.  From our conversation, he implies that he used to get into trouble.  Then one day he told himself that enough was enough, and that he needed to take control of things.  So he stopped.

"Cold turkey?", I ask him.
"Yeah", he says.
There was no doubt in his voice at the accomplishment.  No hesitation between the question and the answer.
"I've been clean for 6 months now.", he adds.
I can tell that there's a little bit of pride in his statement.

As I carry on my way, I notice the people passing him by and I think to myself.  How many of us still carry personal addictions or habits that we aren't able to let go of?  Who's cleaner?  Us or him?

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+Another day, another 600 seconds 
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Denis Llagami's profile photoTamara Gaspar's profile photoronnie brewer's profile photo
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My daughter is putting together a slide show to raise awareness about the homeless and we are looking for images. If you would be willing to let her use your work please email images to tgaspar@gmail.com
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For #anotherdayanother600seconds  +Another day, another 600 seconds by +Mike Shaw +Alan Shapiro curated by +Pam Boling 

The latest installment in my ongoing project documenting the "Invisible Ones."

This is Christina-Maria
Christina-Maria is a homeless mentally ill woman living on the streets of Washington, DC. She was sitting outside of a shelter where she had spent the night. She was pan handling by simply holding out her hand, which was really quite sad. Initially Christina-Maria seemed coherent talking about how she was from Argentina and had been employed at a hotel but lost her job. The more she spoke however the more delusional and incoherent she became. She says her family is in Argentina and the only place she has found peace is at this shelter, which is no doubt a true statement as life for homeless, mentally ill women can be especially difficult. I fished a large plastic cup out of a nearby trash can and washed it up for her to use as a pan handling container. She was agreeable to a photograph in exchange for a few granola bars and a bottle of water. Life will be hard for someone as invisible as Christina-Maria. At least the weather is becoming warmer.
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Lambert

It took a couple of days before I was ready to approach Lambert.  He appears to suffer from a mental disorder.  He walks very quickly from place to place, talks to himself, has expressions of anguish on his face.  He aggressively approaches people for money, although his words are polite and he takes no for an answer.

After observing him for a couple of days, I felt that if in front of a busy store, and if I allowed him to approach me, I would be able to talk with him.  

People like Lambert are amazing to me.  They have the craziest sounding story but it's a complete story, with facts, with names, with locations.  They sound so truthful that it is easy to believe.

I want to believe that his story is not true.

He describes sexual abuse from his family, not only on him, but upon a son he claims they have taken from him.  He describes rejection from the police, from the government, from everyone in his cries for help.  

"Fine, if you don't like me.  If you think I'm crazy, okay.  But what about my boy?  Why doesn't anyone help him at least?"  Lambert asks.

Lambert has some serious injuries on his body.  He claims they are from his family.  He has been forced to live on the street rather than continue with the abuse.  

But then Lambert also claims he has been on "7 reality shows on 4 networks".  He claims his mother is an executive for ABC.  The more Lambert talks, the more you question everything he says.

The one thing I do not question is his suffering.  Lambert should be on medication.  Lambert is in dire straights.  

What's the truth?

Do you care?



#portrait   #portraiture   #plusphotoextract   #anotherdayanother600seconds  
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He Was An Old Man

He was an old man.  He carried wisdom in his pocket.  He liked to keep it there, easily accessible, so he could hand it out to those who wanted some.  

As it turned out, no one ever did want any of it.  

Years passed by.  Over time he forgot he had put it in his pocket.  One day, his mind began to disconnect itself.  It started first with one of the tiny wire connectors.  It became frayed.  This caused thoughts and sights to distort themselves.  Then another wire showed it's age as the insulation wore too thin.  Eventually a very important connecting wire broke altogether.

It just snapped from age.

As he wandered the streets, in this dire state of mind, he looked around at passersby.  Were they real?  Were they a memory?  His confusion felt like a fog.  Emotions remained.  They seemed real. 

He felt something in his pocket.  He wondered what he had put there.  He pulled it out and examined it.  He did not recognize his wisdom.  It looked familiar.  Was it important? He studied it, but he could not recall what it was, or why it was in his pocket.  Deciding to relieve himself of any unnecessary baggage,  he tossed it into a trash bin and continued walking.

He was an old man.  

He used to carry his wisdom in his pocket.



#portrait #portraiture #anotherdayanother600seconds   #plusphotoextract  
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I met James this morning in a parking lot. With holes in his gloves and a warm, nearly toothless, smile he told me good morning. It was one of my better conversations of the week. When we parted, he thanked me for my time and said he was off to get some lunch.

James has lived here in Utah his whole adult life working at various mechanical companies. He still proudly carries his sweatshirt from the least employer he had. He loved his job.

I'm not sure I followed the rules of the project, but I'm glad I gave it a shot.

#anotherdayanother600seconds   #streetportrait   #streetphotography   
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Leonard Smiling

I first wrote about Leonard here: http://goo.gl/olvE5

We sat talking today about life.  He remains the same as when I first met him.  Meek, mild, shy.  He is surviving during the rainy season as best as he can.  

"I have a tarp I sleep under.  When it gets too full, it starts to leak. That's the only time I get wet.  So I have to empty it out a few times during the night."

Regarding warmth and cold:  "I try and keep warm. I only have a problem once my bones get chilled.  Can't get rid of the cold then."

He is likable, and has befriended the local boat captains who allow him to go out with them sometimes to fish.  He also fishes along the pier for food.

I told him about the last picture I took.  I explained that even if people didn't know Leonard, they would read the post and perhaps the next time they met someone like Leonard, they would look at that person differently.

A huge smile came across his face, as his eyes watered up.  

I asked him why he had such a big smile on his face.  "It's just real nice to see someone who cares", he replied.  He let me take his photo again, but as he always does he closed his smile slightly because he's embarrassed of the state of his teeth.

I still think nonetheless you can see Leonard smiling.

#portrait   #portraiture   #anotherdayanother600seconds  
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Have them in circles
600 people
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For #anotherdayanother600seconds  +Another day, another 600 seconds by +Pam Boling +Alan Shapiro +Mike Shaw 

This is Pam

The latest installment in my ongoing project documenting the "Invisible Ones."

Pam is a homeless mentally ill woman living on the streets of Washington, DC. She was sitting on the curb waiting for her case worker to pick her up and take her to get her medication refilled. She showed me her almost empty pill vial of Seroquel, a common medication in the treatment of Bipolar Disorder. It’s always interesting to me that the homeless mentally ill that are stable on medications are quick to share that information, it is a source of pride and accomplishment.  Pam was recently released from prison having done three years for beating another homeless person who she says was trying to rob an elderly woman. It was during her time in prison that she was diagnosed with a Bipolar Disorder and started on medication. Who knows if that’s true but it is Pam’s story and she’s sticking to it. Pam spends her days panhandling and stays at a women’s shelter at night. Her prospects for doing much else are slim given her history. I asked her if I could take her photograph in exchange for a food voucher from Subway and a bottle of water. She readily agreed but wanted to know if I wanted to to see her “street face” or her “friendly face.” I said that I’d like to see both and that’s what you see here. She apologizes for the strange shirt she’s wearing saying that she got it from a clothing bin at the shelter because it was a large size. Life clearly is not great for Pam but she gets by as best she can and is more connected to the social service system than most. She however remains among the ranks of "The Invisible Ones."
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For #anotherdayanother600seconds  +Another day, another 600 seconds by +Mike Shaw +Alan Shapiro curated by +Pam Boling 
This is Clarence
The latest installment in my ongoing project documenting the "Invisible Ones."

Clarence is a homeless, developmentally impaired man living on the streets of Washington, DC. I did not find Clarence, he found me. I was doing a freelance photo shoot of a restaurant exterior when I heard this booming voice from behind me and across the street. "Why you gonna take a picture of that building Mr. camera man?" As I turned around I saw this very large person lumbering across the street, stopping traffic and coming toward me. Clarence was extremely affable and interested in what I was doing. I asked him to sit on a bench and let me finish my work and then we could talk. Clarence say's he's been living on the street for 39 years which I think is a bit of a exaggeration but so what. I asked him about the large scar and the lump on his forehead and he says he doesn't like to think about that. Clarence is most likely disabled from some head injury. His single minded focus this morning was getting together enough money for a pancake breakfast at McDonalds. He had thus far collected about two dollars in change in his paper cup. Amazingly he knew exactly the cost of the breakfast including sales tax. He was agreeable to trade a photograph for a food voucher from McDonalds which I assured him would get the aforementioned pancake breakfast. Clarence was a happy guy. Sadly disabled, homeless and invisible but briefly happy. 
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Tamara Gaspar's profile photo
 
my daughter is putting together a slide show to raise awareness about the homeless for a project. If you would be willing to let her use your work, please email images to tgaspar@gmail.com
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Phil in the Shadows

I haven't seen Phil in a long time.  Whenever I drive by the spot where we used to talk, I always look to see if he is there.  But he remains hidden in the shadows.  

Phil once told me it's important to understand "living on the streets isn't as easy as it looks".  It takes a special mindset.  He said, "There are a lot of people losing their homes these days. They are ending up on the street. They don't know how to handle it. They think about suicide.  I don't believe in that."  

Everytime we spoke, he struck me as coherent and bright.  Despite his appearance, he was not crazy, nor drunk, nor high.  I can only hope that Phil is the survivor he described. 

Sometimes I wonder if I am literally the only person on the face of the Earth that even wonders about Phil.

Until we meet again, Phil.

#portrait   #portraiture   #plusphotoextract   #anotherdayanother600seconds  
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Thank you everyone

Here's my first image to share with this community although I've shared it previously on my own public profile. I'm curious about your thoughts here.

The Worker

This was from a photowalk in LA earlier last year and one of the shots I really wanted to capture was one that I could use for a portrait in the style of two of my favorite photographers on G+ Alan Shapiro & Mike Shaw . I'm sure that you are well aware of them and their work, if for some reason you aren't then by all means add them to your own circles of photgasmic images. Check out their cool project too called "Another day, another 600 seconds" #anotherdayanother600seconds

You can see the before and after here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/104437636865235134368/albums/5749488498752968625

Have a great day everyone!

~ joe
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Eugen

eugen has had them crying in the aisles with this one before.




























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The Fire Fighter

Perhaps it was given to her, perhaps she found it.  Maybe she took it when she shouldn't have.  However obtained, she wore the fire fighter's jacket like a shield.

It protected her from the rain.  Protected her against the cold outside nights. Protected her from the wind,  the violent leaves bouncing harmlessly against her, then rolling off into the distance.  

She was now a fighter.  Protected from the fires raging around her.

But sadly still... unprotected from the blaze inside her mind. 

#portrait   #portraiture   #anotherdayanother600seconds   #plusphotoextract  
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Doug Craig's profile photo
 
An outstanding image with another sad story to accompany it.
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Have them in circles
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