Monday, August 30, 2010

That Yellow Stuff

I went back to visit this Burmese family on a hot day and several of the kids had this yellow paste on their heads and faces. When I asked what it was for they told me it was for keeping cool in the heat. It's some sort of yellow mud that they put on their bodies. I didn't notice it except on the kids where it seemed pretty well dried out. Then after I asked about it, they they gestured for me to wait and they went and got the baby of the family. I took this picture for them to go along with the ones of the older boys.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Midland and Kennedy

I stopped and talked to a family on Fage St. again today and was told a think or two about social structure and what holds the south side together. It's family, he said. The roots are deep here, and once you start digging, you may have to keep going all the way to China.
He told me that these were people that grew up together and the families that were together, even when they moved around the city they stayed in touch.  More than once, he said, this place is about people that grew up together and stayed here.

So maybe that's the secret, staying put. The man I was talking to said, he'd moved around a lot himself but here he was.

I'm still trying to figure out why some people watch t.v. and others sit outside and just take life as it is.  

After leaving Fage St. I went further down Midland and talked to another man about why people in this part of town seem to be outside more. He said,  "This is my house, I own this place. I feel comfortable here."
"You keeping an eye on things?, I asked."

He denied that he was watching the neighborhood, "No, I'm not watching anything.  This is my place," with a little more emphasis this time.   What he seemed to mean, was this was his patch of earth and he was damned if he wasn't going to use it on a nice day like this, and since he owned it, it wasn't like he was hanging out somewhere just to have a place to hang out. This is HIS place. And, it was a nice day to be out in it, even if you were someone like me and it wasn't my place. 

Pictures of Pictures

I went back and talked to the owner of tthe Lodi Laundry about the idea I have for a Free Family and Friends Photo Day and she was still interested in hosting me at her place. She suggested that  we do it on a weekday just to make it more manageable; it tends to be more crowded on the weekend. I'll have to see how my schedule works out. I can see having fun taking pictures with the dryers going in the background. When I was there in her office I noticed that she had posted the picture I took of her on the inside door of her office along with notes, business cards, and the rest of the stuff that keeps the world going around when you are a business owner. 

Under the Freeway

State land under 690 means the local police have no jurisdiction. Some homeless people live there, some for as many as eight years. Here are some pictures I took this week. It's a noisy place with the cars constantly rumbling overhead. I'm not sure I'd ever get used to it. There's order here: furniture gets rearranged, pots cleaned, rugs swept, unruly visitors thrown out. I've been invited back to take more pictures. When I drive by at night I see the fire under there and I think it's a sign of life, a habitation, and want to spend some time by that light. One man wanted a picture with me. I'm always shocked at this, but there I am with him. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New Photos

I' working hard on a short film about my photography project. I've been showing it and getting premission from those whose pictures I've included. So far the reception has been positive. More than once, I've made people cry, which must mean I'm connecting to them. I also visited the homeless under the 690 bridge, a Somali Family and others. Here are some of my recent favorites from the north side: