Recently I blogged about a new project that I am starting called $2 portraits. The idea is that I will offer $2 to anyone who asks me for money from now on in exchange for their portrait.

I met Frederick earlier this morning at about 1:30 a.m. around the Pike Place Market area. I was wearing my headphones while shooting and he got in front of me and starting waving his hands to get my attention.

When I took my headphones off Frederick asked me if I had seen him dancing. I told him that I hadn’t and so he asked me if I wanted to see him dance.

I told Frederick about my $2 portrait project and he agreed to pose. At first he asked me for $4.75 instead of the $2. He said he wanted to get a hot dog. Then when I told him that the project was for $2 he asked me for $3. When I said no to that he said ok but added that he got to pick the pose.

I asked Frederick if he had family and he said no. I asked him how long he’d been in Seattle and he said he didn’t know.

As I took my wallet out to pay Frederick he said, "don’t worry, I’m not going to rob you." I told him that I wasn’t worried about him robbing me and smiled at him.

As we parted ways Frederick saw these three younger college age looking kids walking by us and said, you all, this guy’s paying $2 for portraits, but the kids did not seem interested.

I thanked Frederick and went on my way.

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  1. asymtote says:

    These $2 portraits have been stunning, without exception. I wonder, do you have any indication that your subjects ever see the final images? I’m guessing that they don’t but it would be nice to think that on occasion the portrait brings it’s subject some joy and maybe an increased feeling of self-worth, if only for a transitory moment.

  2. It is an interesting concept this $2 Portrait business. Can you show the subjects involved your site via your iPhone / N95 whatever and thus give them more of a sense of where their faces will be appearing? Probably take fifteen minutes longer of course by the time you’ve got signal and navigated, but maybe worth a thought?

  3. Virginia says:

    Just found your site. The $2 portrait idea is great. I would have paid much more than that if I could have gotten a portrait a wonderful as yours. Maybe I will get brave and try it.

  4. Great image! I wish I had known you were in Seattle – it would have been fun to shoot urban portraits together. Look me up next time!