Rock Bottom City

a portrait of homelessness

human in distress

“Bleak, dark, and piercing cold, it was a night for the well-housed and fed to draw round the bright fire, and thank God they were at home; and for the homeless starving wretch to lay him down and die. Many hunger-worn outcasts close their eyes in our bare streets at such times, who, let their crimes have been what they may, can hardly open them in a more bitter world.”
Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

I think of the homeless often, because I am surrounded by them on my daily wanderings throughout the streets of Denver. I have heard the argument that it would be wise to avoid photographing the homeless because you are somehow exploiting their plight for your own personal gain. I take this into consideration while I am out photographing in the streets, but I just cannot ignore the feeling I get when I come across a homeless person. I am overcome with the urge to photograph what I see as interesting, colorful, ordinary or out of the ordinary, the truth and reality. If I choose to ignore what I see as real, as something that is a problem, what kind of person would I be?

If all I ever shared were pictures of the beautiful people, the ones with the most interesting fashion sense, the ones that are juxtaposed in amusing ways, the ones who stand out in a crowd for whatever reason, that wouldn’t be reality either. I want to share my reality. I don’t want to leave out any of the gory details. For those that think I would take a picture of a homeless person for personal gain, you are right, I am looking to better myself as a person, contribute something to society by raising awareness, and feeling better about myself as a human being in the process. I don’t make one dime off any of my photography, and I am in fact deep in the hole financially because of it. I always tell the guys that carry signs on the corner, that they should probably be lending me some money. I am unemployed, I know for a fact those guys make more than me!

The best way to help:


Doors | On Homelessness


Everywhere, Every Place


Inspired by George Ella Lyon

Everywhere, Every Place

I am from eyeglasses,
From blurred vision and vicious taunts
I am from the flawed recesses of society
(Sweaty with low self- esteem, we smell of desperation.)

I am from the yellow footprints
Which all Marines before me have stood upon
Each of them in search of their own identity
I’m from a case of beer and a pack of cigarettes
From Miller Lite and Marlboro

I am from fist fights
and lost causes
From dirty jail cells and hard metal bunks
I’m from crooked fingers and double vision
From the skewed vision that makes my head throb

I’m from hard work and hope
Dreams and goals
From proving the disbelievers false
I am from you, and you are from me
We are from everywhere and every place

All of us,
Decended from the same cell
From racism and bigotry
From wars and disease
From Ignorance and Advancement
Morphed and twisted into
What we have become
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