David, Homeless On Figueroa

Just steps away from the gala

High School Musical On Ice

premiere at the Staples Center,

where scores of stars

arrived in limos and gaggles of

wealthy industry people with

kids in tow gathered, was

David - riding down Figueroa

Street in downtown L.A. on

an old rusty bicycle festooned

with bags filled with

recyclables he'd assembled

from garbage cans. He was

at one - a garbage can -

looking for something to

trade as I asked him for

a photo. He obliged, and told

me he got a degree in

photography from USC

and worked taking

sports photographs for years.

But, he confessed, he's an

alcoholic, and he wrecked his

career and his life and is now

on these streets in this city

on this bike, living day by day.

He asked me about the

state of photography now-

and suggested competition

must be more intense now than

ever since the advent of

digital. He was warm and

real. And quite present.

He wished me good luck

with my work many times

and I knew he meant it.

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Taken on October 5, 2007