Yesterday, I read in the Chicago Tribune that the waves and current would be so great on Lake Michigan that no swimming would be allowed on the last possible day to get in the lake this season.
The report was that the waves would crash really high, and I wanted to see about doing long exposures in full sunlight of these monster waves.
I jumped on my bike to ride out there, and the guy in the pictures below was crossing the road in front of me. Shooting homeless people doesn’t interest me. I feel that it’s exploiting someone who can’t help the place they have landed in their lives.
But this guy couldn’t be ignored. He was holding a saber of sorts with a wig attached and Hoda Kotb’s image was on it. He looked to be some kind of American Shaman, walking the earth attempting to cure it of, well, I don’t know.
His outfit was creative. He built his hat, created it out of torn material, lace and sequins.
I started a conversation with the guy, and tried to get his story. For 20 minutes, I listened to him talk. It was a bit incoherent and he spoke very softly. So I followed very little of the details. He talked for moments about being from New Orleans. He was there for Katrina. He talked about getting punched once in the jugular. He spoke of getting a light for a cigarette from a stranger, and the lighter exploded in his face. He talked about knowing Howard Hughs.
I asked his name and he gave me several options, including “Panama Jack Calhoun.” Andy Andy and “Catfish.”
When I left, I said, “Thanks for talking and for the portrait, Mr. Calhoun.”
He smiled and fist bumped me.
My goal is to stop more people and ask for their portraits, and hopefully this is only the first in a series of random people’s portraits.