Sunday, August 03, 2008

Caption This 82


Please caption this image
[Click here for instructions on how Caption This works]

San Francisco, CA, July 2008 [Click to enlarge]


Homelessness is often called America's national tragedy, a wound that despite society's best attempts to address it, continues to fester. The same thing applies here in Canada, of course, and sadly virtually everywhere on the planet. It's more than a problem without an apparent solution: It's something so many of us have stopped caring about. And that, in my singular opinion, is the larger tragedy.

I was walking along San Francisco's waterfront early on an oppressively gray morning, quickly capturing the mood of the place before I had to check out of the hotel and head to the airport. I had just walked through crowds of well-dressed commuters debarking from the ferry and making their way through the trendy/gorgeously restored Ferry Building and across the oh so tony Embarcadero. Now I was in the shadow of that amazing building, and the mood back here couldn't have been more different.

Homeless people moved quietly in pockets on this desolate stretch of asphalt beside the water. The foggy sky seemed to make everything look even more depressing than it was, but I got the sense that this was a pretty sad place to begin with. I suddenly felt very self conscious, concerned about what it looked like to be an obvious interloper pointing a relatively expensive camera into the lives of strangers who clearly didn't want this kind of attention.

I needn't have worried. Not one person here so much as looked in my direction. I shot quickly and quietly, and left as fast as I arrived.

Your turn: Please suggest a caption for this image. Feel free to share as many captions through the week as you wish - I actively encourage multiple submissions. Just click the comment link to get started. For the rules, click here.

About last week's image of the shepherd overlooking the bridge: Ironically, I shot these two images within seconds of each other. The photos that I took in that five-minute span in that forgotten stretch of pavement in the shadows of the rest of the city continue to haunt me weeks after I shot them.

As always, you rose to the challenge presented by a very darkly themed photo. Honorable menschens include:
  • Terri: "Bridge the gap."
  • Steve: "Not quite ready to cross over."
  • Robin: "But, how do you get ON the darned thing?"
  • John: "Crossing over will surely take a toll."
  • Bob-kat: "You mean I gotta pole vault over that!"
  • Barbie2be: ""Standing guard."
  • Me: "I am."
Truth be told, they all resonated with me, which made this a difficult choice. Jacie's "Who watches the watcher..." stood out, as this was a flash-thought that occurred to me as I took this image from behind the sculpture's shoulder. I wondered who had his back, too. Please drop in on Jacie and congratulate her for her thoughtful contribution. Thanks to everyone for being so perceptive yet again.

23 comments:

Bob-kat said...

Thanks for the honourable mention :)

Another thought provoking shot but also with comic overtones becasue of the sign post and hence my caption is:

" It's a good job this trolley isn't motorised!"

barbie2be said...

trying to get by

Robin said...

He's got his whole world
in his hands...

The ride of his life

House wears

Bug(gy)-eyed

Ugh, Carmi...this kind of scene always breaks my heart, for a thousand reasons.

Tabor said...

There were two fresh red apples in the bag. One for tonight and one for tomorrow's breakfast.

kenju said...

No vehicles, and not much future.

Canadian Mark said...

"This looks like the bottom, it's all up from here"

I'll be the first to admit, I don't often participate in the "caption this" posts very often... This one really touched me though.

My wife and I recently had a conversation about the state of society in general (even in our relatively small Northern Ontarian town) and how everybody seems to be out for themselves and compassion for our fellow human dwindles - more than ever.

I don't know... It's like I even feel bad that I'm playing caption this on a photo of a guy who could very well not know where his next meal is coming from while I'm fortunate enough to be in circumstances where food is abundant (I threw out moldy zucchini bread this evening) and I can afford luxuries like the internet and an iPod.

The whole thing just makes my heart big. I feel much love for this stranger. There. I said it.

spwriter said...

mobile home

broken-carted

wheels of misfortune

remains of the day

immaterial world

home is where the cart is

but you can't take away his dreams

Omykiss said...

It's OK 'cause I'm invisible.

R. Sherman said...

The Least of These

Jacie said...

wow Carmi thank you - a big thrill to win your comp. Have to say that was such a powerful image you put up though and it haunts me still. Jacie

Awareness said...

seeking change

empty pocket change

home depot

i left my cart in San Francisco

Carmi....i posted my own caption this today.....it's my 900th posting and wanted others help me write the story/caption to go with the picture. your turn! :)

Gordon said...

Love me for who I am, not what you'd like me to be.

I don't often participate either (it's when I remember to come visit - I know, I know bad me)

Heidi said...

There should be another sign... Warning: No Support for the Homeless

Mojo said...

I can't help but notice the wheel lock on the left rear, which makes me wonder if the lock's broken or if the cart's stationary. (I suppose it could still be within the security perimeter, but something tells me it's not.) Anyway...

"Sure it doesn't look like much, but it's paid for."

"Zero emissions because it runs on hope."

"Hell on wheels."

Heidi said...

Or another sign that says "Warning: Our Country Does Not Care for its People!"

On a completely different note... My father always thought it cool to photograph my brother and I next to signs that said "No trespassing" and others like that. This reminds me of those fun times... sort of.

Anyway... also forgot to mention that I paid you a mention HERE. Thanks, Carmi, for your fun blog!

Anonymous said...

Hello Carmi,
"GM finally produces a fuel efficient vehicle."
Bradley

Anonymous said...

Hello Carmi!
Thank you for the mention.

"Survivor: San Francisco."

"Shelter stories."

"A day in the life of..."

"Lost and forgotten."

"Herbie the love buggy."
Terri

Anonymous said...

Hi Carmi,
"Bob was wondering why the tuition was so low to become a cartologist."
Bradley

Anonymous said...

"Living in the way of Descartes."

"I wheel therefore I am."

"Tom was having a hard time learning the philosophies of Descartes."
Terri

Anne said...

permission to cross without looking both ways first

John said...

"But it's not a vehicle, it's my home."

p.s. thanks for menshening me with your other honoured menshen. :)

Jacie said...

Grace under pressure

Awareness said...

cartwheeling through life

possessions just simply weigh you down

wheels in slow motion

frugally invisible.

a man and his forgotten dreams