This is Rudy

Another installment of "The Invisible Ones" of Washington, DC

This is Rudy

This is Rudy

I met Rudy on a recent Friday morning during the morning rush hour in the area South of Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. There is a very busy coffee shop along Connecticut Ave making for a crush of pedestrians on any given morning. Rudy had propped himself against a wall and was simply holding out a weathered paper cup asking for spare change.  After I introduced myself and explained the photography project, I sat down on the sidewalk to talk. This really disrupted the pedestrian flow and did not endear me to the those were passing by. Oh well. It at least created a small buffer zone for our conversation. Rudy tells me he is 53 years old and has been on the streets of Washington, DC for 35 years. He has long ago lost touch with any family or social network that he may have had. Rudy can speak firsthand about the ravages of the crack cocaine epidemic in DC along with the gang violence that accompanied it. He points to the scar on the left side of his eye but declines to tell me what that was about. He asks that I don't photograph his bad side. Rudy's primary means of survival is panhandling and the goodwill of various organizations that try to look after the chronically homeless in DC. He sleeps in the park at Dupont Circle which he says is a safe place relative to most of the shelters in DC. He does make a point of telling me that 35 years on the street teaches you how to look out for yourself. I am certain that is a true thing. Rudy was agreeable to this photograph in exchange for a monetary contribution and a bottle of water. After I left his side on the sidewalk the crowds again began to walk past and over him. If ever there was an example of being invisible, Rudy exemplified that on this particular Friday morning.

This is Marcus

Another installment of "The Invisible Ones of Washington,DC"

I was sitting in a coffee shop near Dupont Circle in Washington, DC when I spotted Marcus and his dog Snoop across the street. They were emerging from a recessed doorway where they had spent the night. Marcus was busily folding blankets and cardboard into a tidy pile that could be carried elsewhere. Snoop was sitting quietly watching the morning passers-by who ignored them both. Marcus told me that he has only been homeless for about six weeks. Prior to that he was living in a boarding house and working as a food delivery man using his bicycle for transportation. He was kicked out of the boarding house after the landlord discovered he had a dog. While sleeping in the park his bicycle was stolen. So now he has what he can carry and, of course, his companion, Snoop. Marcus is a remarkably upbeat and affable young man who is optimistic that he will find a place for himself and his dog, as well as employment. Marcus says he has no family in the area so he is on his own. Things will be difficult for Marcus to say the least. An 80-pound pit bull is not easily accommodated in a boarding house and cannot be taken to work in most places. So for the time being Marcus panhandles to support himself and feed Snoop. He agreed to this photograph in exchange for a food voucher and a bottle of water. If you see Marcus and Snoop in the Dupont Circle area, say hello. Ask if you can help out in someway. don't be afraid of Snoop, he's a sweet and gentle dog.

Another installment of "The Invisible Ones" of Washington, DC

This is Kenny.

This is Kenny

I met Kenny on a recent Friday morning during the morning rush hour in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC. Dupont Circle is a very busy commercial hub with a metro stop that exits on both sides of the circular park, making for a crush of pedestrians on any given morning. Kenny had propped himself against a streetlamp post and was simply holding out a weathered paper cup asking for spare change. Given the number of pedestrians on the street, passersby were literally stepping over Kenny to continue on their way. After I introduced myself and explained the photography project, I sat down on the sidewalk to talk. This really disrupted the pedestrian flow but at least created a small buffer zone for our conversation. Kenny tells me he is 53 years old and has been on the streets of Washington, DC for 35 years. He has long ago lost touch with any family or social network that he may have had. Kenny can speak firsthand about the ravages of the crack cocaine epidemic in DC along with the gang violence that accompanied it. He points to the scar on the left side of his eye but declines to tell me what that was about. Kenny's primary means of survival is panhandling and the goodwill of various organizations that try to look after the chronically homeless in DC. He sleeps in the park at Dupont Circle which he says is a safe place relative to most of the shelters in DC. He does make a point of telling me that 35 years on the street teaches you how to look out for yourself. I am certain that is a true thing. Kenny was agreeable to this photograph in exchange for a monetary contribution and a food voucher. After I left his side on the sidewalk the crowds again began to walk past and over him. If ever there was an example of being invisible, Kenny exemplified that on this particular Friday morning.