Palio Studio

Amy Gaskin's Photography and Journalism
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Living Rough

0001_LivingRough_filename}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.

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Eric: Eric was one of the youngest. He didnÕt 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 didnÕt expect to live through the night. Upon seeing the photo, he cried and said he could do better. ÒThis is the person I want to be,Ó he said.

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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. PaulÕs portrait was also taken, but he passed away before he saw it.

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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.

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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 didnÕt know he looked like this because he hadn’t seen himself in a mirror for months. He said he was sad looking at it.

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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.

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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.