drive-by shootings

a car. a camera. a vision.

Archive for August 2008

Hanging Out

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Gay Street appears to be a hot spot.  Close to the action on Baltimore Street.


Written by john

August 27, 2008 at 9:24 pm


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Not much going on this morning as I drove into work.  Fall is in the air with early morning temps in the 50’s.  I love this schtuff!  Crisp air stirs the soul. 

After I pulled into the garage and put my camera away, I took a few minutes to soak up the weather.  As I approached the office, I could see a homeless man shuffling his way towards me on Market Place.  Instinctively, I reached for my camera and realized…DOH…that it was securely packed away.  No worries I thought…maybe next time.

I have seen this man before.  Bearded face.  Weathered skin.  Skinny.  Easily recognized by the way he shuffles his feet.  Sadly…I watched him reach into a trash can in front of my office building — a thriving area full of young professionals.

As I approached, I grabbed a Nature Valley bar from my bag and folded up a dollar to hand to him.  He changed directions for an instant…throwing what appeared to be a napkin on the ground.  I guess whatever he had retrieved from the trash was lacking food.  He stared at it for a moment.  Stepped on it.  Smiled to himself…then continued on his route in my direction. 

I was by him now.  I extended my hand…offering the food/money.  At that instant, all time stopped.  For what seemed like minutes, he gazed at the offering.  No words.  No movement.  Then suddenly, shook his head No, and waved his hand back and forth to decline the offer.  You don’t want it? I asked.  Nothing.  He continued on his way.

As I walked away, I had to look back.  I was surprised to see that he had done the same.  Both he and I both looked perplexed.  I wondered why this man…who truly was in need…said No.  Was it pride?  Was it fear?  Did my offer not register?  The look on his face is still in my mind.  I can’t shake it…

Written by john

August 27, 2008 at 7:56 am

Partners in Crime

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Sara drove the get away car this weekend…as we took a stroll down York Road into the heart of the city.  91 degree temperatures couldn’t keep the regulars off the streets, but most opted for the comfort of a bench in the shade.  Approximately 3000 people are homeless in Baltimore.  Juxtapose that with the number of vacant homes…boarded up…begging for a tenant.  Something is wrong here Baltimore.  It can’t be good for business and it definitely has to stifle any chance of neighborhood pride.

Thanks for joining me sweetheart.  I couldn’t do any of this without your support.  Bonnie & Clyde….2008.

Profound statement at the bus stop on York Road at Gittings… 

We have real estate for the homeless…

Open terrain for two lone bikers…

Can’t imagine the home next door is good for business (York at Preston)…

The Chicken Nook has everything (York at Preston)…

Demo in process, making room for what?

The perfect bench (on Lextington)…

Afternoon stretch…

Time out on a hot day (President at Lombard)…

I must find out this guy’s story…

This woman needs more than just assistance across Gay Street…


Needy hands.  I see more and more people with “limps” or devices to indicate a hardship (President at Eastern ) …

A ray of hope on Gay Street at Baltimore…

A regular on Northern Parkway at Falls…

Would you?

Drive-by Shootings – The Premier

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Headed home on Friday. Gay Street. Downtown Baltimore. I’m headed to my beautiful wife and daughter. Sadly…what’s in store for this gentleman?

Written by john

August 17, 2008 at 9:16 pm


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For the longest time, I’ve been wanting to do more street photography. I live in the perfect city to capture some pretty intense, real-life, gritty scenes. I’ve struggled to find the time, as well as assure Sara that I’ll be safe and no harm will come my way — that’s my plan anyway.

I live about 10 miles from my day job. Yes, to those who don’t know…photography is not my full time gig. Each morning and afternoon, I join the commuting world to make my way to the office. Back and forth. Back and forth again. When you do something repetitive enough, it can become very mindless. You can drift away…listening to morning talk radio or a favorite CD, sipping coffee or possibly finishing up breakfast…and then, poof, you’re at your desk. Back in the saddle again.

You can also take pause on your commute and notice the details. Familiar cars/drivers. Favorite parking places. There’s the guy who drives like an idiot, who I infuriate by driving slowly. There’s the woman I usually zip around. A nose picker. Someone putting their make-up on. People waiting for the bus. Tired faces. Angry faces. Blank faces. Few happy ones at the time I’m getting in.

You may also notice a familiar street person. Ahh…he’s working this corner today. New sign. New tactics — waving at cars with one hand, cigarette in the other hand. I see these faces day in and day out. Some days I’ll offer some change or a few dollars. Other days, I’ll sit in my car with my imaginary blinders on…staring forward as if I don’t realize there’s a person in need outside my window. It’s tough.

What caused this person to be on the streets? Where are their family and friends? Are they mentally ill and possibly in need of medication? Are their claims legitimate or are they con artists? Are they drug addicts? If they can come to this corner daily…why can’t they hold a job? I can’t answer any of these questions about the people that I see — but I hope to find out.

My concept is called Drive-by Shootings. I figured the name was appropriate for a city that usually carries one of the highest murder rates. A play on words — hopefully you don’t think it’s in poor taste — but I wanted something different.

On most days, I plan to have my camera on my lap as I commute to and from work. I’m going to document the random people/things that I encounter during my drive. If anything, you’ll get to experience what I see — good, bad, funny, gruesome….sad. I want to document it all. There are so many details around all of us. People we may never notice, or who we always notice and never fully acknowledge. We all live in our own worlds after all. Everyone now and again, we cross paths — sometimes every day.

This is my attempt at street photography. I hope you like it.

Written by john

August 17, 2008 at 8:17 pm