Friday, February 04, 2011

Living in a box

Untypical Friday for me. I had two doctors appointments, one at 8am on my side of town, and the second at ORMC at 3pm. It was after the 3pm appointment that I decided to linger a bit around that area, looking for something suitable to photograph.

For whatever reason I decided to follow the railroad tracks that run parallel to I-4 and under the 408 towards the downtown area where I-4 and the 408 cross, in the same general area where they just finished building the new Amway Arena. That'w when I came across a camp of homeless people living under the 408 overpass within spitting distance of Arena.

Living in a box
"Living in a box"
Olympus E-P2 with M.Zuiko 14-42mm
1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 800, 17mm

When I first came upon the camp it looked to be totally empty. I didn't know if the camp's inhabitants were hiding nearby or if those that could, were out doing some sort of work. As I moved in closer I noticed the man and woman pictured above in their cardboard "cottage". I asked the woman if I could take her photo, and she said yes. The male next to her said 'no' and kept his back to me the whole brief time we spoke and I took the photos.

In our brief conversation, the woman said that the majority were Mexican; I don't know if she meant from Mexico or of Mexican descent. It really doesn't matter. Living under a bridge with a bit of cardboard around you to mark out your personal space isn't fit for any human to live in.

Living under the bridge
"Living under the bridge"
Olympus E-P2 with M.Zuiko 14-42mm
1/50s, f/5.6, ISO 200, 32mm

This is what I saw as I was first following the railroad tracks. There looks to be at least four, and possibly five small campsites under the 408 overpass. In looking at the photo I can see the male's head sticking above the cardboard, and probably keeping an eye on me.

Down the street to the Amway center
"Down the street to the Amway center"
Olympus E-3 with Zuiko Digital 50-200mm
1/1250s, f/3.5, ISO 200, 200mm

The huge, squatting Amway Arena building is in the distance, just beyond the 408 overpass. The campsites are underneath the underpass. I don't know how long they'll stay there. More than likely someone will spot them, and call the cops, and have them run out. That seems to be the way we help the poor in this town. We're too morally and ethically exhausted to help them after spending hundreds of millions on a new arena where we're entertained in decadent air-conditioned comfort by spoiled multimillionaire athletes.

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