One man and his dog

January 5, 2010

I went into San Francisco today with my mum and my sister. I took my camera but only took two photos because, well, it’s a little bit faulty. Not SF. My camera. Both pictures were off  a man and his dog.

This pic was taken just after the man and his dog had been moved on by the police in Union Square, San Francisco’s swanky shopping area full of upmarket department stores and just a dog’s stick’s throw away from the Tenderloin area; a part of SF that is just as it sounds. If you’re not sure what that means, join the club. I’m writing things I don’t understand myself. I once wandered into the Tenderloin during daylight hours. I saw desperate people. I saw a man push another man into a bin. Not shove him towards it, but actually stuff him headfirst into a big metal dustbin.

The policeman was kind, the man and his dog no trouble. The policeman took his time and during the conversation held his hand out for the dog to sniff. Once dog and cop were happy, patting took place.

I wanted to get a photo of that, but I was too slow. I think I was too slow on purpose. I’m uneasy taking photos of strangers. I feel unqualified to do it. So, I fumbled, and only got on with snapping once they were walking away. I feel, with a photo like this, that I am not violating the soul of the man or his dog. I may be wrong.

Here’s a touristy pic from a couple of years ago.

4 Responses to “One man and his dog”

  1. Samantha said

    I used to feel sorry for dogs with homeless people, but I actually think often the dogs are pretty happy. They get to be out and about with lots of scents and sounds, they don’t get left alone much, if at all, they are with their owner all the time, get given food by strangers – all in all quite a good life for a dog. Enjoy SF!

  2. Chris said

    I know what you mean about taking pics of strangers… It’s my uncomfortableness about this that has put me off photography over the past year or so. It’s a shame, because I really enjoy it when I get into it. Unfortunately, the whole ‘photographers must be terrorists or perverts’ argument has spoilt it for me. You’ve got a really good eye for a photo… Maybe time to get an slr now your camera is buggered, and you are in the US where you can get one a lot cheaper?

  3. Simon Hickson said

    Hi Samantha, the climate certainly suits a dog on the road here. This dog though was quite old and seemed reluctant to movel along, the poor thing. The guy looked like a hippy musician, and hopefully not completely down on his luck.

    Hi Chris thank you for your kind comments. When I really feel the urge to take photos of strangers I usually ask them if they would mind. That’s why I don’t do it to often, because it takes a bit of courage. I would love to upgrade to a digital SLR. It has crossed my mind. But for now I think I will have to rely on this old battered thing that sometimes has strange blobs appearing on the pics. Just have to keep an eye on my money, or lack of it!

  4. Andrea said

    Love both pics… The second one reminds me of Oz at the end of the yellow-brick road. Yellow-striped road, perhaps.

    So sorry to hear of your camera difficulties – Chris is right, you should treat yourself to a new one! Try American eBay or SF Craiglist perhaps. xx

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