As part of a project, we made a stop at "tent city" in Sacramento. This homeless encampment on the banks of the American River has been in the media spotlight recently ....even making it to Oprah for a story about how the economy has been creating a new homeless population.
When I first arrived (and almost got arrested by the park police, and the railroad police, for driving my car onto private property) I found that my initial skepticism turned out to be basically valid. This was not a new "tent city". Many of these folks had been there for months or years. This is their home. Most have drug or alcohol addictions or are criminals and cannot hold a job or housing. These are not Joe and Mary homeowner...now in foreclosed upon and out in a tent. I felt that many, especially the national media, had really mis-represented this story.
I did not have much time to spend as we were on the road and my 6 -year- old was happily locked in the car watching a movie. But I did meet some passionate and charming people out there. Most were sick of the media, one told me to come back after his channel 10 and channel 5 interviews this afternoon. I heard the story of the CNN cameraman who got punched because he lacked common decency and respect of privacy. Did I do any better? I know I did not shoot alot of images but spent most of my time listening to stories and hoping I was not lumped in with some of the other media who the residents felt intrusive.
I hope that my images will help. A few folks said that, even tho the story was mis-represented, they hoped it would help make some positive changes. I hope so too. And I hope it does not get more crowded out there.