Read To Me
I love it when someone reads to me. I don’t know why, but it seems to happen often lately. It’s soothing, and sets a mood, creating a sense of peace and the feeling that I don’t have to feel pressured to get perfectly composed pictures in a flash because something crazy is about to go down in Skid Row. Somewhat surreal at times, at others, intensely surreal. It was intense at 4th and Crocker, a relatively quiet spot near the edges of Skid Row, Little Tokyo and The Arts District. On this day, Christine was very caught up in the loss of a pet, a little white cat that she had kept in a tent that she shared with an on again off again boyfriend. Both people are characterized by the brittle physical frailty that I see in heroin users, a quality that I find to be endearingly delicate and beautiful. There is something about this kind of physical vulnerability that makes me feel protective, even though from experience I understand that many people are tougher and far more capable of causing physical harm to others than they look. Christine read aloud to me on the silent street, occasional traffic sounds punctuating the austerity of the mood she created with her tone of voice and understated intensity as she read aloud. Her friend busied himself, slowly and deliberately moving about sorting through nameless piles of belongings, occasionally casting a gentle smile in our direction. The altered state of reality as she read and the oddly hazy daylight atmospheric conditions made me less than able to concentrate on my pictures, and instead of trying to force the best images I could, I found myself just hanging out and listening.