As some of you who follow my blog know, recently I’ve decided to begin a new project. The idea of the project is that I will give $2 to anyone who asks me for money in exchange for their portrait for the rest of my life. I’m calling the project $2 Portraits. The goal of the project is simple. To increase human interaction. Here’s my first blog post introducing the project to learn more.
I’ve taken 23 of these portraits since I’ve started this project, mostly I run into people asking me for money when I’m out and about shooting on the streets of San Francisco. With each portrait that I take I try to find out the persons first name and also learn a little bit more about them, which I include with their portrait.
A few people have approached me asking if I’d mind if they also pursued their own version of the project. Personally I think that the best ideas frequently are shared ones and I think it’s really great that other people would like to be involved with their own projects like this.
With that in mind I started a group on Flickr for $2 portraits. You can get to the group here. If you’d like to post photos of people from your own version of this project to this group that would be great.
I met Lawrence outside of the Civic Center BART station, near the Burger King. As I was approaching the escalator to go down into the BART Lawrence saw that I had a camera with me and said to me "photos $2."
I asked Lawrence how he knew about my $2 portrait project and he said he didn’t, that that was just what he charged for photos. I told Lawrence that it was fortunate that we passed each other today because that’s exactly what I pay for portraits.
Lawrence said that he was from all over. He said he went to school in Italy. He said he had two daughters and is a single dad. He said he was past the breeding stage though. He said one of his daughters is studying bio chemistry down at UC San Diego.
Lawrence told me that once a woman took a picture of a wedding dress he was seling for $5. He asked her what she was going to do with the photo and she said put it in a magazine. He said he asked her how much she was going to get for the magazine photo and she said $260 and he told me that he told her then that the photo of the wedding dress would be $60. He said she paid him. With that Lawrence added that if I ended up selling his photo to be on the cover of Time or People Magazine that I was going to have to come back and pay him some more money.
I thought that Lawrence looked a little bit like the character Lester Freeman from the TV show the Wire.
I met John outside of the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. I was wearing my headphones when I was walking by him and he started waving his hands at me. I took my headphones off to talk to John and he asked me if I had any pennies. He said he was trying to get pennies.
I told John that I didn’t have any pennies but told him about my $2 project. After I told him about it he thought about it for a few seconds and then said he’d pose for a portrait for $5. I told him that the project only paid $2 and he agreed to do it for $2.
John said he was originally from Washington DC. He said, "you know, like Ronald Reagan." John said that he was the same age as Ronald Reagan. I told him that he didn’t look that old and he said that he was that he was 62 or 63.
John talked for a bit about the king of Belgium. He said he was big like the king of Belgium.
I asked John who he wanted to be elected President and he said it didn’t matter that any of them would do.
I thanked John and gave him his $2 and went on my way.