Superheroes have childhoods too, you know…
You can be anything in America, and anything can be you. To even put the costume on you have to believe somewhere in even the smallest part of your little girl’s heart that you can some day be a woman who can fly. I like to think this child’s mother gently held her daughter’s hand to keep her from flying too early, before she was ready to see our sloppy, maniacal, perilous world from above.
Because we all in our hearts once believed we could fly, until something in life changed and our quest for human flight died. I hope that never happens to this little one, and that one day she knows how lucky and privileged I was to meet Supergirl in a supermarket parking lot…
He had stationed himself in front of a Grocery Outlet discount supermarket on Bayshore Boulevard in San Francisco. I had just stopped by for some Dr Pepper. I’m addicted to Dr Pepper. As I walked toward him he asked me if I could help him out a little. A little was about all I had jangling loose in my pocket so I gave him all three bucks of it. He thanked me for the money and said he appreciated the help because he’d had two heart attacks and lost his job while recovering from the second one.
“That’s why I’m in this wheel chair pretty often,” he said.
“I can relate,” I said, “I had a heart attack myself fourteen years ago, three weeks shy of my 40th birthday.”
That look people get when they think they’ve found a kindred spirit flashed across his face, and he started telling me details about his first heart attack. Frankly I had no desire to swap myocardial infarction stories. I still periodically suffer from PTSD because of mine and talking about it has never helped. That shit just gives me nightmares I don’t need. So I told him very apologetically that I really needed to get my shopping done and then went inside the store.
I was in and out of the supermarket with my Dr Pepper in less than five minutes, but when I emerged the man in the wheel chair was gone. And I felt bad about that, because I was going to give him three dollars change from the $10 bill I had just used to pay the clerk for my liquid fix. But I did feel good that our lives had intersected, even if minutes later they probably had diverged forever. I hope he felt the same way. It’s better to know people in a few fleeting minutes and let them enrich your life than to never know them at all.
And I wonder if he wheeled himself out of the grocery store parking lot or walked pushing the chair in front of him. I hope he walked.
Life is balance, popcorn a paltry modern offering to Demeter and the famished New Microwave Gods…
A beautiful girl,
down on her luck.
I gave her two dollars,
she only asked for a buck…
(La Mordida Taqueria, Pacifica, California, November 2017)
I often look into mirrors
to view worlds we don’t normally see.
This woman in my world, for example,
at the next table over in a Japantown restaurant,
she was pretty and she was beside herself.
“That’s a great literal use of that phrase,” I thought
as I went back to eating my katsu curry.
And as I did I hoped
the woman in the mirror world
didn’t reach out and touch
the woman in my world,
as this would surely throw both worlds
into dangerous chaos and flux.
(Izumiya Restaurant, Japantown, San Francisco, September 2017)
(Brisbane, California 2017)
I don’t know what it is, but the past several days I’ve been noticing people who are dressed in red. It’s pleasing, but odd, as I typically never consciously emphasize any particular color when a scene has caught my eye and I decide it’s worth a photograph. Perhaps it’s my subconscious manifesting the abundant anger I’ve been feeling about my wife’s recent medical traumas and the death of my cat, among other things.
Nevertheless, I take photographs to celebrate moments in life that appeal to me and that you might also cherish, or at least find interesting. So here’s some glorious red, though the color is not so glorious as the people wearing it…
A woman crossing Webster Street while Fell Street traffic zooms by in San Francisco on March 28th.
An stylish youth in Geneva Avenue traffic near Mission Street in San Francisco on March 29th.
At a Safeway in South San Francisco on March 31st.
(San Francisco and South San Francisco, California 2017)
Yesterday I photographed a luncheon for a San Francisco lawyers’ group in the Peacock Court at the Mark Hopkins Hotel. During a down moment I noticed this food server at the ready and looking completely patient, professional, but also a bit procedurally weary. I admired the combination of those three elements in him, and wanted to honor the man by preserving the moment…
(Mark Hopkins Hotel, San Francisco 2017)
At a McDonald’s in Daly City, California. There are many possible stories in this image. I hope it tells you one you like…
In late October, 2015, I was in Tokyo, Japan for 25 days. I shot many photographs. This series presents the most interesting, compelling, or touching person or scene I saw each day I was there. Click here to see the previous entries.
Exactly one year ago, give or take a day, my wife and I went to Kyoto for three nights. We stayed in a traditional room at a ryokan in Gion. My wife had always wanted to see Kyoto, and I really wanted her to. But I’m a die-hard fan of Japanese pop culture as opposed to Japanese traditional culture, so I have always been ambivalent about going there. Now I’m glad I did, because it’s a lovely town and I’d like to see it again. Kyoto is smaller than Tokyo, and does not seem quite as frenetic and cramped. And the people seem friendlier, warmer, easier with a smile.
Perhaps they’ve been conditioned to be that way by the constant stream of tourists through the city. But my instincts told me that Kyoto gets so many tourists, at least in part, because its people are just that way naturally.
Shijō Dōri, Gion
Issen Yōshoku, a restaurant in Gion
Rehearsing here on Hanamikōji Dōri for some kind of video shoot
Yamato Oji Dōri, Gion
Togetsukyō Bridge, Arashiyama
Firefighters, Gion (Gionmachi Minamigawa)
Shijō Dōri, Gion
(Kyoto, Japan 2015)