Raymond and Jimmy


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.

Today I met Raymond. I met Raymond up at Sutter and Stockton street where he asked me for money. I told him about my $2 portrait project and he agreed to pose. Raymond told me that he just turned 54. That he’d just had a birthday last week. I told him happy birthday.

Raymond was born and raised in West Oakland but now calls San Francisco home. He said he had a common law wife that he doesn’t get along with but didn’t have any kids. He said that he spends most days in San Francisco mostly people watching. He said he loves people watching. When I asked him what else he liked to do he said he liked to get high, but that he was going to enter detox soon and get that taken care of. I wished him luck with that and went on my way.


Today I met Jimmy on the corner of Mason and Post Street. Jimmy asked me for money and held up a veteran’s ID card and asked me if I could help a veteran. I told Jimmy about my $2 portrait project and he agreed to pose.

Jimmy lives in Oakland. He’s divorced with two adult children who are living in Atlanta. He told me that he’d served in the military in 1978. When I gave him the $2 he thanked me and said, “really, thanks, you’re really helping to get me off this corner.” With that I asked him what the best thing that’s ever happened to him was and without hesitation he answered back “Jesus Christ.”

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  1. Gary W. Thom says:

    I like the concept and the stories behind the people in the pictures. Living in NYC I get hit on for money regularly, I might try something similar.


  2. Thomas, why do you link to Flickr and not Zooomr?

  3. Di Gallagher says:

    This is a really good idea, but I bet you already knew that!

  4. Jeroen says:

    Nice idea that $2 project. May be a book in it if you get enough pics. If I’d spent more time in innercities I would have copied your idea.