be powerful. But my notion of powerful, still tied to newspaper practice, referred to photographs that had an immediate emotional impact, were attention-grabbing and quickly understood.

Although photographs such as figures 8 and 9 have the advantages of tight framing and a strong center of interest, I was beginning to understand a lot more about the missions than they let me say. The photograph of the service and murals was quiet. It didn’t have that immediate punch. But its elements established a relationship between street people and religion through the parable of the lost sheep: in the minds of the church people the street people are the lost sheep. Tilting the frame up to include the murals distributed the important elements around the edges of the frame, so there is no one center of interest, no person or thing that could be said to be the subject. The subject is the relationship between all the elements.


I went to the Matt Talbot Day Center for a meeting with its director, Greg Alex, and the week after that I met with Jim Fergin, director of the Lutheran Compass Center. The Compass Center had a female chaplain, Dianne Quast, and that interested me. They also had facilities for homeless women (as most of the missions did not) and didn’t make people sit through a service for food or a bed (as most of the missions did).

I probably chose to visit the Matt Talbot Day Center thinking that, since it was funded by Catholic Community Services, the time I’d spent with Father Talbot would give me credibility there. But I found out soon enough that the portraits I had made over the summer at the Chief Seattle Club, plus the photographs from Thunderbird House, were all I needed to be taken seriously. The Thunderbird House material especially showed that I had spent a lot of time there, that I knew these people and they knew me, and that I had learned something about alcoholism. Though I told the mission people I was

Getting Rid of the “Holy Aura”