Remnants by wysiwig ()
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Looking at San Francisco today, it is hard to remember how much poverty there was in the city forty years ago. It had grown rapidly during World War II as men moved west to work on the area's docks and in its factories, supporting the war effort. After the war most of these men married and settled down, moving to the East Bay and places like Oakland or Berkeley, or south to San Mateo and Daly City.
A remnant stayed behind. The unlucky, the alcoholics, the wounded could be found living in boarding houses South of Market or in the Tenderloin and Filmore districts. Single room, bathroom down the hall. As they aged they became part of the urban poor. You could see them lined up at soup kitchens around the city. They may have been hungry but they still had their pride and most dressed before going out to eat.
Image Comments (12)
Atmospheric photos. We have mobile soup kitchens in my town run by the Salvation Army, and also a night shelter which is full every night. Things got worse after the government decided on Care in the Community for many vulnerable adults instead of the safe sheltered houses where they used to live.
It was a different time. Help was not an entitlement, nor was it expected. People were appreciative and humbled by the slightest kind gesture and so, when appearing for a meal or food cards, you went with as much pride as you could muster as a show of appreciation for the kind deed. Not at all as it is now where people feel they don't have to be thankful for anything because they seem to deserve it for doing nothing...
Very hard to leave your series mid-stream, but I wanted to get at least a pic or two of this b and w series from SF, and so I had to leave the East and come back home. These black and whites remind me of the great Farm Security Administration shots of the 30s and 40s, with all those amazing captures of american life that media never showed. These two shots have the beauty of being wholly true while also transformative. Having done service with homeless people in America, I knew these lines in many guises, and this image is so true and real. And even now there are missions where people will try to dress as best as they can. Outsiders will ask, "what does it matter, isn't the food the important thing?" But when we think of how much energy we put out (and fret) if we go out in a pair of shoes with a rip in them, what then should a person feel if they have only a few shirts and coats to wear, period? They care about how they look too, they want to look beautiful too. Your light here is transformative. It's blessing everyone. That's my kind of shot, it's blessed by pouring prodigious light. Whatever the light did 'to' the shot, I assume your inner eye let it, wanted it to, it just seems part of your vision; and it's splendid, just splendid. ANd in the bottom shot, the way the line starts on one side, going back, but then ends on the other side, coming towards us---it's like you've given us the full journey, and ended with people being fed; and the total humanity of everyone in the shot, from server to servee, is very sensitive and heartful; and a true deep portrait. You know, it's almost 2 hours now and I have to get some sleep (I have the flu, believe it or not---a testament to your work that I made it this far without falling into total gibberish!) so I can't do a third of what I want to do here; and just as I started this b-and-w series, I have to stop. But I'll do one more. This series is really caring stunning work, Mark.