Two days ago was my day off and I was at the park to take pictures of squirrels. I sat there for hours, but, god knows why, I didn't see a single one. James is a homeless guy who lives on the neighborhood, and I always see him around.Different than most of the others he doesn't drink, smoke, or ask for money, and is often reading magazines or newspapers, that he carries around.Today he seated next to me, looked at the camera and asked if I " take pictures":I said yes and we talked for a bit about it, and after a while I asked if he would mind me taking a picture of him. Very shy, by first he didn't agree, but after I asked him to take one of myself he was so excited that allowed me to take this portrait of him. What a great experience I had today!
"While skin color is more important than the brightness of the eyes there will be War"-Bob Marley
Yesterday I met Jimmy Marques Jr. Coming back from work, I finally came across (King) James, and I was excited and telling him about the many likes and kind messages that I (we/him?) have received, through the past week, from all over the world. I was telling him about the idea of turning the images into a project, and that I even had thought about a name: "Careful: Soul Inside..’ James liked it a lot and told me to "thank you all for the messages" as well). I was about to ask him if he knew anybody else with whom I could potentially talk/have an interview, when out of nowhere appeared in front of me this man, with a very serious face, looking a little confused about the scene he was seeing (a homeless person having laughs with a "regular" guy ??). He shok hands with James (according to him, his friend for years) but hesitated a bit when he came to me. Unlike him, I didn't hesitate and extended my hand. Awkward moment passed, the man asked me what we were talking about and I explained about the project and showed James' picture to him...Long story short (er) he loved the pic, as well as the project's idea and offered himself as a model "as long as you make it in B&W, cause I love B&W". "Yes, Sir, as you wish,” I joked. Easy smile, eloquent talker, and always using catchphrases and quotes, Jimmy was born in Missouri but lived most of his life in California due to his father´s military career. He had as his biggest dream becoming a journalist (which I believe would be a great decision, given his easy way to communicate and make himself understood and heard) and even started college, but dropped out after a while. He worked in customer service for years for many hotels, but was laid off when the economic crises took place a couple of years ago. He made "some mistakes" afterwards, things that prevented him from ever getting a job again, leaving only the streets as an option and once being a homeless, minority, older person, things only got worse. With a better idea this time, of what I was looking for, and acting more as journalist driven , I asked him about what his opinion was about this barrier between we, who are considered "normal" people, and them, the homeless people, and what he would say to these people (us) who despise and ignore them so often. He, without thinking too much, like if he was waiting for years to answer this question, looked at me and said: "I might not be the case, but sometimes homeless people are angels watching over you and checking your humility for then reporting it to God". His words, instantaneously, gave me Goosebumps.