I was doing by that photograph. If they liked it, it would make my life much easier. They would be more accepting and accommodating, and I could do my work better. Ernie and Dave were the two main figures in the alcoholism program, and their OK was critical. What wasn’t so obvious to me was that I, too, would begin to evaluate what I was doing by that photograph.

I photographed at Thunderbird House for a couple of years, all the while supporting myself with newspaper work. Then, as an extension of the Thunderbird work, I began to photograph in the Pioneer Square area of downtown Seattle, where most of the missions and shelters for the homeless were located. Many of the clients at Thunderbird House, and even some of the counselors (all of whom were recovering alcoholics), had lived on the streets of Seattle and played the mission system. After treatment — or even before the two-month treatment was over — many of the clients ended up back on the streets. It was another part of the problem, another dimension of the work I was doing at Thunderbird House. Where did the clients come from? And what kind of life did so many go back to? I wanted to find out how they lived “on the streets.”(10)


I didn’t think it was smart to go to Pioneer Square and hang out with the street Indians. It wasn’t safe, I didn’t know the ropes, and I didn’t want just to photograph someone passed out drunk on the sidewalk. What would I learn from that? So I asked Dave Albert to take me on a tour of the area, to show me his old hangouts from the time he lived on the Seattle streets, and to introduce me to Father Talbot. Dave had told me that Talbot ran a mission for the street Indians. I thought that might be a good place to start, because it would give me a place to hang around and get to know the street Indians and to photograph them — a “home.”

Finding a “Home”