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.

Earlier this evening I went up to shoot some “Adios Douchebag” George Bush graffiti that I’d seen earlier this morning by the off ramp from the Bay Bridge from my carpool on the way to work. When I got to the graffiti I ran into Johnny.

Johnny was sitting immediately below the George Bush graffiti and asked me for money. I told Johnny about my $2 portrait project. Johnny told me that I could take his portrait as long as he got to keep his sunglasses on. I said that that would be fine and took a few shots of him. Johnny kept his sunglasses and tie on, but he had his shoes off.

I asked Johnny if he voted for President, and he said back to me, “Me, nahhhh, people like me don’t vote for the President. We’re the underclass.” While I was shooting Johnny he asked me if two women on each of his arms would look good. I told him I thought they would and he laughed.

I asked Johnny where he slept and he said out at the bank. I asked him what bank and he told me that he couldn’t tell me but that it was one of the 1,400 banks out there with a wide gesture of his hand.

I asked Johnny if he was from here and he said he was from all over. I asked him if he had a favorite place to live in the world and he said, all over man, all over.

Finally I asked Johnny what his favorite song was and this time I struck a chord. Without skipping a beat Johnny immediately shouted out “Neil Sedaka!” and with that began belting out the song. “Ooooooo, I hear laughter in the rain, walking hand in hand with the one I love, Oooooo, how I love the rainy days, And the happy way I feel inside.”

Johnny had a great voice. After he sang for me a bit I gave Johnny his $2. He said thank you brother and held up a fist for me to bump him back with instead of a handshake. I gave him the bump with my fist and then headed on out my way.

This one’s for Johnny.

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  1. Plug1 says:

    this is good that you are doing this. by putting a face on ignored residents of The City. its one of my favorite projects that you are working on.

  2. Nice story. In a way, you inspired me to do a spur of the moment action like that last week.

  3. gamesliga says:

    Come Hang Out and Photowalk on Monday Night at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, 6:30 pm with Miss Aniela »