Monday, February 23, 2009

Homeless Under the 66 Bridge

It's funny how you're drawn to something and it was for a reason. After shooting this picture I was startled by a homeless man named Dan. After introducing myself and explaining what I was doing, he wanted me to meet three people who were in the same situation he was in.

David was the first person that Dan introduced me to. A 21 year old kid who was standoffish at first and then relaxed after an hour of my stay. David was forced into the homeless situation because his family wasn't able to take care of him. After talking with David, he had big dreams of buying a motorcycle, a truck and a nice place to call home.

April, a very pretty girl, age 27, was placed in this situation due to family issues and did not want her family to know where she was. After asking if I could take her picture, she refused.

Brandon, 29, was very quiet and shy and also refused taking his picture. He was reading a real estate magazine and was amazed a house could go for $200,000 and what he would do with that money. I asked him what would be the first thing he would do and he walked away without saying anything. I definitely understand why he would do this... do I?

After talking with them for several hours, they allowed me to shoot their living conditions which consisted of three tents, sleeping bags, personal items and little food. I asked them what they would want if I could bring them back something; they paused for a while and looked at each other. David said they could use a tarp to keep the wind off them and also another sleeping bag. The rest seemed content with what they had and didn't need anything...not even food. I asked why and Dan said they are going to eat well tonight and he invited me to come back later to see for myself.

When I came back to the bridge after work, I talked with Dan and David for about 30 min and two big buses pulled up. Holy Joe's, an outreach organization came every Friday around 6:00 with food and clothes for the homeless. Out poured 30 homeless people from the bus and they all seemed to have a mission. They all pitched in and setup the chairs and the stage for the entertainment.

After about an hour, I said my goodbyes and left. It was an amazing time and I met so many wonderful people. It makes you realize how fortunate you are and how people take life for granted. Man, what would I do if I were in this situation, if I knew someone in this situation... Well I do now... I now know four wonderful people who are homeless.

I believe this is why I was drawn to the Route 66 Bridge.

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