Troy

Troy. This soft-spoken man approached me late in one of my February downtown LA street photography wanderings asking for a meal.  Usually, I politely say no or simply ignore such requests, (you get a lot of them on the street) but there was something about this guy that spoke to me at a deeper level. He told me he'd perform a song he had written, which sparked my curiosity and it seemed like an exchange. I hesitantly said yes after some internal debate and asked him if he'd mind if I took a photo of his performance. That was fine, Troy said, and we went in search of a meal. He told me that they had a special going on at KFC, so we walked the four or so blocks down the street and talked about photography and capturing the spirit of people on camera.

Ultimately, I got up the nerve to ask him how he became homeless, which for some reason seemed like the right question to ask. He looked at me in sort of a surprised way and said that he cheated people and generally acted poorly---and that now he's trying to bounce back, this time by doing good.

At this point, Troy went went outside and began his performance using a public parking sign for percussion. I took a few photos but also wanted to actually experience the performance (an age old dilemma in photography). A talented individual and a situation that put me far enough outside my comfort zone that I will not soon forget the experience.