Saturday, August 28, 2010

Moving to a Different part of Eugene

Wow, I'm just realizing how long it's been since I posted. So much has happened. I've moved, started working on a project with homeless people and have been carving more naked ladies, as you can see above. I'm carving them to go along with the painting series I'm finally finishing up. Below is the house where I moved at the beginning of July. The Mothership, where I lived my first three months in Eugene, was a great place to make friends, but was expensive and too far away from everything. Now I live in town, as well as next to the railroad tracks, which I've never done before. At night I was surprised to learn that I actually enjoy the sound of the trains.

Below, my housemate, Shafe and his friend Kate. Shafe is a computer nerd who works at home, while Kate designs food for a vegan food company here in Eugene. Also, check out Shafe's Youtube channel, linked from his web site. My favorites are the bug eating a hole in the bench which he shot with his telephone and the piece about Penny the dog, also shot with his phone.

Shade, below, is a temporary housemate who is using the spare bedroom to finish writing his screenplay. He is self producing and directing his first independent film. Before this Shade traveled around the country shooting uprisings and civil insurrections. Check out his videos - beware, some of them are very violent.

My room has plenty of space to carve, paint and write, plus I have my own bathroom.

When I told Shade I wanted to make a documentary about the homeless, he told me his idea of photographing people with signs and calling it "Signs of the Times" - a perfect way to begin and end my documentary. So we are collaborating. He has footage he's shot elsewhere in the country and every day I shoot more sign shots around town. I've been meeting people at the nearby St. Vincent Service Center, a place where the homeless can eat, get showers, do their laundry, get on the internet, use a telephone and just hang out for the day. It caters to the homeless who are still trying to make it and are out looking for work. It is closed at night but I've learned that many of the people sleep in their vehicles. (I've learned that many who don't have a vehicle, have bikes.) The Service Center is a place that allows people dignity and humanity. When I sit there I feel hope. Every one I talk to has a different story. For most of the men loss of a job, then a wife or girlfriend began their downward spiral. This week I've been shooting video of James, a street drummer. I intend to follow what he's up to over the winter. I've been invited to a homeless camp, a woods near an industrial area not to far from here. Then I heard about the two 18 year old foster kids, now out of the system and living under a nearby bridge. I think this documentary has a lot of potential, but I'm learning that the homeless are very shy of telling their stories to the world.

A lot of homeless people have dogs for protection and companionship. Some of these photos were shot at a monthly barbecue a church puts on for homeless and I was there as one of the photographers shooting free portraits for them.

At the monthly barbecue they also offer services like beard trims, hair cuts and free clothing.

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