22 February 2010

$2 Portrait Project: Daniel and Samantha

$2 portrait project: Daniel and Samantha

Anyone who has visited San Francisco for any length of time is acutely aware of the large number of people who live on the streets. It becomes depressingly easy to walk along and look straight ahead without giving any acknowledgment to the panhandler asking for change. My lovely wife, braver than I, has taken to looking right at them and at least offering a smile.

I'm not comfortable with this kind of filter-less engagement with the reality of life here in the city, but I feel like I should be. Recently, I came across Thomas Hawk's $2 Photo project, and I'm going to try it out to get over this block. The gig is simple - when someone asks for change, give them $2 in return for a portrait and a chance to find out the story behind the face.

Walking on the weekend near the Ferry Building, we came across Daniel Harlan & Samantha. Daniel hails from Muskogee, Oklahoma, and his constant companion is Samantha, his pug-nosed Himalayan cat. He told us that Samantha is one-of-a-kind, the only Himalayan cat in the city. I recognised the pair as they'd recently been in the local papers; Samantha was at one stage lost, leading to Daniel to offer a reward for her return. Samantha was found shortly thereafter, and the whole episode seemed to weigh heavily on his mind. Daniel kept a battered copy of the article with him to show visitors. He repeated that Samantha's finder was reluctant to return her; however he was mostly just glad to be reunited with his companion and the two genuinely seemed delighted to be back in each others company.

I got my photo, wished him a good morning and we got back on our way.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi my name is Kristyanna Virgona I am 56 yr Old Art Major at a local Community College here in CA. My Photography teacher Jim Gilmore @ the College of the Siskiyous, Weed, CA 96094. has a Blog for our class.here it is:

The sites name is:

Jim has your site linked to his School Blog so I was going along and reading the new info he had for us. I came across your article $2 Portrait Project.

It intrigued me, so I may do something like here. You see we also have a large transient population in Mt Shasta City and most of southern Siskiyou County now the weather is getting warmer (if it doesn't snow again, we got 12" of new snow on 4/21/2010 and the city is only at 2900') Mt Shasta is famous for its 14,167 Foot mountain, the highest point in CA.
I am trying to get back in the grove and being totally disabled I needed something to do.

I been taking photos with film since I was 14. my dad was a photographer. I started shooting digital in 2001. with a 2 mega pixel and currently using a Nikon D90 & D300s.

Anyway thank you for that idea. I have done it with some local kids when I had to take photos with a film camera in Jim's intro class.

Please take a gander at Jim's site and drop a line to him. (he likes to here that we are exploring the sites he posts for our benefit)

Again thanks,

Kristyanna Virgona