April 20, 2008

down and out in S.F.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

In the past I've been morally guilty of snapping homeless people from a distance and without their permission, but yesterday, after a great little conversation with that fellow on the left, I asked -- just as an afterthought if I could take his picture.   He enthusiastically said YES, so I did...   Not far up the street I ran into the sick and frail man on the right, and asked him the same question -- he also enthusiastically said yes...   --Now, how a person living with the horror of A.I.D.S. can be enthusiastic about anything is beyond me, but it is an experience that I will never forget.

Since these encounters and three more that day, I have been counting my blessings -- realizing that I could have, and still can very easily end up in a similiar situation.   My blogging buddies, Plug1 and Plug2 over at www.whatimseeing.com actually do something about their concern by helping out to feed the homeless at St. Anthony's Dining Room, so perhaps I should get off my soapbox and get over there and see if I can help out.

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Your comments are invited and welcome.


Stacey Olson said...

Thanks for the story. and the rest of us hide from the camera if our hair might not be perfect,etc.etc. sometimes we stumble across an open book. thanks for sharing the links...I will have to check them out..

Anonymous said...

Hello Donald!

I’m fascinated by the beauty of your photos here, on Daily Duo and on your BIG site! Each one of them is really a piece of art!

About homeless (or poor) people, I have the same feeling of guiltiness to snap them in their sadness, therefore I also try not to take their photos without their permission.

Greetings from Istanbul,


p.s. I think I’m also a hermit living alone with two dogs, one cat and one canary :)

Anonymous said...
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photowannabe said...

Wonderful photojournalism Don. Fascinating stories. It is a fulfilling feeling to give some time to helping the less fortunate. The church I attended in San Francisco has a feeding program for the homeless every Tuesday. It has been a good program. They are able to also get clothing for free and the basic necessities. I thaank God for everything I have. It seems like so much compared to them.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the exposure, don.

i will fwd this to my friend who is the volunteer coordinator at St. Anthony's.

i encourage anyone who is displeased with the large populous of homeless in SF to stop by and lend your hand for a few hours.

Marvin said...

Very moving photos. As someone leading a semi-hermitic life in a rural location, homelessness is not something I often see.

AphotoAday said...

Thanks to all...

And thanks to the two fellows, and an apology for already having fortotten your names, but not you...   Hopefully our paths will cross again...

Best regards, Don and Kitty

Anna said...

I was really looking forward to the story behind these photos. I felt you portrayed your subjects with dignity.

You're a far more empathetic person than I am, I'm afraid. We've lived in a city with a large homeless population before, and where we are now, it's become a huge problem, too. On the one hand, I feel for the people who are truly in a bad situation, but on the other, we've been repeatedly accosted by aggressive panhandlers - even my kids! - many of whom choose to be on the streets. Nothing like being asked for spare change from someone pushing an expensive bike. It's made me very cynical, and I don't like it.


Anonymous said...

interesting story, strong shots

Tomate Farcie said...

Sometimes they'll say yes, and sometimes, you'll get an earful of insults depending on who you ask, or what their state of mind or condition is at the time ... kind of like the rest of us, really.

Many homeless people I see around the FD are pretty far gone, they seem impossible to reach, unable to function at all; and many others are not.

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