Meet Meridith (not 100% sure on his name).
During my recent visit to New York, I met Meridith as I exited the Astor Place subway station on my way to Washington Square Park. After Meridith asked me for change, I explained to him about my project. He quickly commented, "Well, won't you just have pictures of homeless people?" I told him, that tends to be the case, however, I ask anyone who asked me for money to participate, including my sister or mother if they asked me. He laughed and scratched on the snack stand behind him with a quarter. A second later, the guy inside popped out of the door and Meridith tried to get him to ask me for change. The guy in the snack stand didn't seem to understand and just laughed at him. I further explained, "The true point is to help out in the little way I can, not ignore those in need, as well as document the people I come across." He smiled, nodded, seemed to be satisfied with that answer and agreed. "Sure, I'll let you take my picture for a dollar."
While setting my camera up for the shot, I asked how long he had been in New York and found out Meridith had been there his entire life. I asked if he has traveled at all and he told me he had traveled all over. While we were talking, he continued to ask for change from those walking by.
After I took his picture and handed him his dollar, I asked, of all the places he had been, what was his favorite place he had been too. He immediately answered, "Switzerland, maybe Ireland." He continued, "But I've watched New York go down hill. Everyone around here is pretentious. They have these nice apartments and can't spare change or a dollar. They say, 'I only have credit card,'...well, there's an ATM. They are all pretentious."
After allowing him to rant for a bit, I told him I had to run because I was meeting some friends around the corner. I thanked him as I started walking my way and he responded, "No problem man" as he continued to ask the next passerby for change.
This image is part of my Black and White Dollar Portrait (BW$P) Project.