Friday, June 27, 2008

Leaving home

These days I'm spending more time packing than photographing. I'll be moving away from Columbia in a week, after 13 years of living here. Reluctant at first about life here in the Midwest, I've grown to appreciate so many things, and can only hope that the world I'm headed toward will embrace me as generously as Columbia has.

I keep thinking of 12-year-old Kristina, who I photographed a year and a half ago while she was making the transition from living on a farm at a foster home to heading back to live with her guardian in the city. I know that she was looking forward to what was ahead, but was also terribly sad to leave behind the horses and foster family she'd come to love.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Visionary Poet

In Thy Darkest Hours

Shine on, eternal fire–burn
Alone amid the void;
If none should love thee, thou must yearn
that someone sees thy Joy.

When night's vast desert frames thy soul
An island in the darkest sea,
Then a star must shine alone
Ere that lovers look for thee.

– F. Carroll Harrison

I met Freddie under the 14th St. bridge and he shared his poem with me. Looking implausibly youthful, he told me that he became a father at 15 and has 9 children, 4 of whom he raised on his own after his wife left. He has been homeless for 2 years and devotes his life and passion to creating poetry.

I loved my time in Charlottesville, and although I didn't find a "story" like I'd hoped during the workshop with David Alan Harvey, I made lots of new friends who touched me deeply. Talking with Freddie, Wanda, Jimmy and other folks living on the street gave me a profound appreciation for the common struggle we have as human beings, searching for a balance between security and freedom, hoping that life will let us be who we are and connect with what we love.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wanda / LOOK3-day 3

"The homeless may as well just lay down and die, because ain't anybody who wants 'em."

A native of Charlottesville, Wanda has been on the street since she was 13. Now 38-years-old, she has 5 children being raised by grandparents. "Just because I haven't had the opportunity that you've had, it doesn't mean that I'm a bad person."


Jimmy has been living on the street for 30 years and says that he likes the freedom of being outside and not having a structured home life. He spends most days moving from place to place and meeting people.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sunday, June 8, 2008

LOOK3-Day 1

I drove 14 hours from Columbia, Mo. to Charlottesville, Va. in a day in order to attend a workshop with David Allen Harvey on the photographic essay. There are about 20 students from 7 different countries in the class- an amazingly talented and inspiring group. We'll spend the week each creating a story that will be shown during the Look3 festival of the photograph, which starts Thursday night.

These are from the first afternoon in Charlottesville. Driving around, I spotted some kids in front of their apartment building. I met the Al... family- Haider, Zaineb, Uti and Aya- who moved to Charlottesville from Iraq 2 months ago. They have an amazing story, and hopefully I'll get the chance to photograph them more in the next few days....

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From day 1 at Look3. 9 -year-old Shelaja lives in the apartment next door to the Al.... family - Charlotesville, Va.

Monday, June 2, 2008

R.I.P. Gucci

Taz doing MaKaylah's hair

In our neighborhood...Forest Ave.

In the next few weeks I'll be working on my First Ward neighborhood project. These are just a few "breaking the ice" pictures.
On Forest Ave. I stopped to photograph 13-year-old Brittany and her brother Willie, 8. They were having a combination lemonade stand/yard sale in front of their house.

Sanford Ave.

At Taz's house.