George – BW$P

George by Justin Korn

It has been awhile since I’ve taken at portrait for this project due to two things: 1) I have been slacking on having my camera with me all the time (not something I like to admit) and 2) I keep finding myself without small bills available.

Well, over the past several weeks, I have seen George on the same corner, at Montgomery, Post and Market (where they all meet). He always has a smile on his face, kindly nodes at those passing by, never really asking for anything, and holds a sign that simply says, “Any Help?”

So, finally, the other day, I started carrying my camera around with me again, but found myself without small bills. None-the-less, I felt drawn to George’s warm smile and began chatting with him. I found out that George has been in San Francisco since 1994. He had previously worked on a boat, 70 miles off the coast of Alaska, and received a spinal injury on the job. The injury got worse and worse and now he can’t work. Before working on the boat, George had worked in IT, on a ranch, and as a photographer. He explained to me that he had Canon gear and did mostly commercial and wedding photography.

George went on to explain that he has been working on writing a book titled, “Any Help?”. He explained, “When you work, you don’t see the same things as when you don’t work…[People] have a house to go to when it rains, gonna eat dinner that evening, etc…1 out of every 200 are not miserable. I can’t depend on any of those things and I’m happeir than the majority of the people here.” He further told me that three different people have bought his sign from him, “One of them claimed to be putting together an art installation of signs together.”

After talking with George for a good few minutes, I asked George if I could take his portrait and he responded, “As long as you don’t do anything weird with it, I know what people can do with those pictures these days.” I assured him I was not going to do anything out of the ordinary with it and further mentioned my project. I explained I didn’t currently have a dollar on me, but that I would bring him a dollar next time I saw him. He happily agreed.

As I saw George this morning, I said, “Mornin George” and handed him a dollar. With the big grin he always had, he responded, “Thank you, and morning to you.”

This image is part of my Black and White Dollar Portrait (BW$P) Project.

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Categorized: Projects