Palio Studio

Amy Gaskin's Photography and Journalism
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Living Rough

James and his dog Joseph: James initially wanted only to be photographed acting like a homeless person.with all of his stuff on the ground under the big tree. He wanted me to shoot down on him, but I did not agree. He later wanted to be photographed with his dog Joseph, who means everything to him. During this take, he was playing with Joseph, as I was shooting. For a split second they came together. Upon seeing the photo, James said he didn’t remember the moment and thought they had just been playing. He wanted it, saying it would be his most prized possession. James would often ask tourists for change, in a method he called ‘Spainjing’..which was his way of getting spare change to make ends meet. Friends believe James moved north to Oregon.

Julius: Julius was very private and never said where he stayed. He had lots of jewelry he seemed to collect. I could not find him again after this photo was taken.

Eric: Eric was one of the youngest. He didn’t want to be photographed for about 3 weeks. Then one day, he said he wanted to do it. He never said why. He had an older fellow at the beach whom he called his Street Dad and a portrait was also done with him. The day he saw this photograph for the first time, he cried. Something very bad had happened earlier in the day, and he said he didn’t expect to live through the night. Upon seeing the photo, he cried and said he could do better. “This is the person I want to be,” he said.

Mowgli and kitten: Mowgli had recently traded a shirt for his knit hat in this picture. He was proud of his hat. Upon later seeing this photo, he cried saying that he didn’t know he looked like this because he hadnĂ•t seen himself in a mirror for months. He said he was sad looking at it.

Julio: Julio was a self-proclaimed leader at the beach. One of his best friends, Bill, had recently passed away in the public bathroom stall where he lived at night. Julio and another friend, Paul, knocked on the door, and alerted the cleaning crew early in the morning when Bill did not answer. Julio and Paul believed that Bill had been murdered. Paul’s portrait was also taken, but he passed away before he saw it.

Jay: Jay was an excellent rollerblader and would use his foodstamps to buy pizza for the group. He had a carefree spirit. Shortly after this picture was taken, friends said he left the beach to rollerblade across America.

Gigi Marie. Several days after this picture was taken, I saw her at night after she had been badly beaten. She declined any help. I never saw her again.

Street Dad Bob. He said he watched out for the kids on the beach. Eric considered Street Dad Bob to be his street dad.

Froot Loops Laughing: Froot Loops never gave his real name. He was a happy go lucky guy, but very private. He hung out several blocks away from the main group, but knew them.