In 2013 I gave myself a photo assignment. Pick 13 subjects, and take 13 snapshots of each… 13x13x13. At some point during the project I decided it’d be much more interesting to open this assignment to anyone who wants to participate. I’m glad I did. The following series of 13 comes from local photographer Arleen Hodge . These are portraits of 13 Rochesterians she’s met on the streets. Arleen says she is grateful to call these people her “friends.”
“They all have stories and they are truly a great bunch of men who are suffering another facet of the human condition,” Arleen reasons. “When I’m shooting underground for a night, these guys look out for me. There are those who are quick to judge… but these would be the guys to jump in and save your life.”
I can think of no better subject for this merry time of year – and less than a week after we were forced to face the facts; that Rochester stands as the fifth poorest city in the United States. It’s not just a city problem. According to that report by The Rochester Area Community Foundation, 160,000 people living within the nine-county region are living in poverty. These are our neighbors. Our friends. These could easily be portraits of you or me…
“David. I met him near Hudson & Portland,” Arleen recounts. “He was living inside a hole in the wall under the railroad tracks. When I met him he just kept saying, ‘I am a man, I speak from my heart.'”
“Reggie has my heart as well. He was a well known basketball player and Kodak employee. Somewhere along the way, after his wife left him, he self-medicated his pain and suffering. Reggie taught me to listen – to really listen.”
“Rilley. He is such a character. Addiction has really taken its toll on him. Seeing him walking the streets, or sleeping in the parking garage, you would never suspect such a child-like innocence about him. I always feel an ache in my heart when we meet.”
Related Video: Meet Arleen Hodge
“Arleen has been documenting the homeless for years with photographs, and lending a helping hand along the way that has created a second family for her.” Video by Annette Lein, D&C.
You Can Help
Now is the time of year our friends need us the most. If you would like to contribute time or money to the shelters mentioned in this article, please use the following links:
Both organizations accept donations through their web sites (either via PayPal or printable form). Thank you!
UPDATE: Previously this story stated Rochester is the fifth poorest metro. It’s actually the fifth poorest city. When compared to similar sized metro areas, Rochester falls in the middle of the pack. Read the full report here.
Tags: 13, 13 Rochesterians, 13x13x13, Arleen Hodge, homeless, House of Mercy, Hudson Avenue, Joseph Avenue, photographer, photography, poverty, Rochester, Rochester charities, Rochester NY, rochester photos, Saint Joe's House of Hospitality, South Avenue
This entry was posted on Monday, December 16th, 2013 at 7:58 am and is filed under Art + Culture, Reader Submitted Stories, Rochester Images, Urban Exploration. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.