being there

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(child in poverty, san francisco, 6/26/07)

it's an in between day. stalled on the way somewhere. a strange intermission. tomorrow will better judge.

a lady pushes a stroller by as i hardly notice. except for a glimpse of golden locks.

they're at the intersection when i arrive. i glance down and the child in the stroller looks up. i smile. he says "hello" and smiles back. the woman doesn't notice; she continues along. and i go another way.

but they really don't seem off to an evening stroll; as they enter the park. and i peer back as they approach a group of figures barely visible under the darkness of a tree.

the woman pulls something from her jacket which she passes to the others.

i return from another direction and i'm stared down as i approach. there is the lady and a man; neither stranger to the elements. she's black; he's white. there are two older children and one baby in a second stroller. and there is the child i met before. he is 3.

the children are opening colorful bags of candy that the lady brought back. it seems to be dinner. the child hands me his bag.

the two youngest are the couple's children together. the family lives in a shelter and sometimes beneath the stars. they'll be in the shelter tonight. it opens at 9pm.

the child is named "chance."

"like the movie?" i ask. "peter sellers?"

the father smiles. "no. she's 32 and i'm 42 and this here is my last chance at a life."

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if you are interested in donating to this family, let me know what you're able to do; and I'll put you in contact.

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(50% of online sales of this photograph will go directly to the family)

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6/27/07 9:27AM: thanks so much maendi (in LA) the trader joe's food card etc. for the family; it will totally start to make a difference!

7/2/07: thanks fire_starter1119 for the safeway card for the family! xo

7/14/07: video receiving care package

confusedvision, fetching, and 431 other people added this photo to their favorites.

View 20 more comments

  1. Two & Two Together 74 months ago | reply

    Thank you for your generosity!

    I have used this photo on my site (Two And Two Together).
    I would like you to visit it and tell me if you like to see your photo in that context.

  2. amnonkotler [deleted] 74 months ago | reply


  3. kelsee reeves | photography 73 months ago | reply

    wow! i met this family in may 08..i saw this picture and it made me think of them..i read your story and tears streamed down my face..i sat and talked to this family for about 2 1/2 hours that day..the baby's name is ocean, the older girl is chelsea..i don't remember the older boy..chance stole my heart though..i think about them often

  4. Rachel Roberts 14 73 months ago | reply

    wow that is a really toutching story. i love how you explain this picture cause chance is a truly beautiful child.

  5. refreshment_66 70 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Photos Without A Rabbit, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  6. refreshment_66 70 months ago | reply

    Powerful photo.

  7. Thunder Ground 68 months ago | reply

    I know this kid. He is a whirl wind of bad behavior and curiousness. Yes friendly and warm. He repeatedly yelled "Ya wanna suck ma weener?" And once actually whipped it out. We were selling sage on the hill and he stole one of out items. His mother is a wise soul who is trying to do what she knows best.

  8. sgbaughn 64 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called LMN8R - Theme of "The Living Face", and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  9. Doris Chiesa Photography 62 months ago | reply

    amazing shoot!
    This in my expo now, I invite you to see it.

  10. stoneth 62 months ago | reply

    biogirl_p53: luvly gallery

  11. meredith markleigh 60 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called the kids are all right..., and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  12. Gagosha 59 months ago | reply

    I love it ! :)

  13. Heart of Áfrika Designs 57 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Áfrikan Portraits (Photographic, Fine Art, Tribal & Scenic), and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  14. Houdini Bye Bye! [deleted] 53 months ago | reply

    Lovely pic! Touching story!

  15. raineys 52 months ago | reply

    I purchased one of these photos and just wanted to let you know that it is hanging on our wall at work to promote donations for the hungry through Second Harvest Food Bank here in Santa Cruz. Thanks again for your wonderful work!

  16. Harpersbizarre 52 months ago | reply

    raineys- I work with Tom and will share this ASAP- he's shooting so much right now, I don't know when he'll reply. What a perfect place to share the work. Blessings to you:)

  17. JoelDC 40 months ago | reply

    Amazing capture... Heartbreaking story..

  18. 24 months ago | reply

    Analizen apo referatin ose komentin per vepren Poema e Mjerimin mund ta gjeni ne linkun e meposhtem

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