art institute of california hollywood

10

Look Into My Eyes | A series of portraits of the homeless in downtown San Francisco.

One day I found myself restless and longing for a sense of soul-searching. After work, I decided to go on a road trip up north to San Francisco. I wanted to get away for a day - away from the routine of going home and mindlessly milling around in an attempt to recuperate from a long week of work and school.

When I arrived at San Francisco, I began with the typical sight-seeing destinations - the pier, Chinatown, the Golden Gate Bridge, etc. Then I found myself in the United Nations Plaza downtown. There I found myself immersed in a collective of vagabonds. I circled the rather large group slowly and cautiously, keeping a safe distance and capturing images from afar. This wasn’t enough. I decided to take a chance and introduce myself to my first portrait, Mack. I asked him if I could take his portrait. Of course he was reluctant. After all, why would he offer up his identity to a stranger with a camera? I then offered him a dollar for his services, and after assuring him that it was for art and not for profit, he consented. As I was taking his picture, I asked him his story, and I found myself having a wonderful conversation with a kind gentleman. In the end, I made a rare acquaintance.

Empowered and encouraged, I rode on the momentum of this positive experience and approached more vagabonds, the result of which is produced in this series.

What started out as a search for my own soul transformed into a search for the soul in others, in those whom I wouldn’t normally stop to consider interacting. I learned a valuable lesson that day - eyes are the windows to the soul, no matter the race, creed, or social status of the vessel in which that soul resides.