New York Daily Photo Analytics

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Stephanie

Stephanie Green is a homeless woman who reads voraciously. That is what intrigued me most about her - she is nearly always reading - quality books, including classics, most given to her by various people who have made her acquaintance. For the last year, I have seen her at this spot nearly every day, living in front of a vacant store in SOHO, partially sheltered by overhead scaffolding. Click here for more photos. She wears jewelry and and at times I have seen her put on makeup. I had naively thought that this would be the first story I would write based entirely on a personal interview. I spoke to her on a few occasions - the first to ask if she would be willing to talk about herself and be photographed for this website - she agreed. However, the "interview" was extremely awkward and she was not as forthcoming as I had hoped. I did learn that she was from Santa Monica, California, born 2/5/1980. She has not had contact with her family. She occasionally stays in homeless shelters. I did not learn much else - how did she become homeless, does she have any hopes, does she bathe and where, does she have drug problems, do any of her belongings get stolen when she leaves them? In addition to her own efforts at collecting money, she did tell me she has a boyfriend (also homeless) who scavenges for food and money which they share. When I asked if anyone else had taken photos of her, she showed me some color printouts from pbase (an online photo site) - click here. She recently moved - I saw her in the Village on University Place. So it was time for these photos to be posted ...

19 comments:

Lucy said...

Wow! These photos are intense! This is my first time at your blog. I love the honesty in your photos. I think I'm attracted to them because what you communicate through photography I communicate through spoken word (my standup comedy). Feel free to give me your review at my blog! Drop on by! (http://standup101.blogspot.com)
Keep up the good work! We need mavericks like you to keep us on our toes, metaphysically speaking, of course!

Lucy said...

She looks so beaten up -- people usually only look like that after the age of 50 or so, it's so sad in a young intelligent person, but I certainly understand her finding solace in literature...

Fénix (Bostonscapes DP) said...

It must be so difficult to stay sane in a situation like that... I suppose humans can adapt to anything, but in the US homelessness should not exist.

CulinaryAssassin said...

Wow. I've been coming to your site for about 6 months now, and I love the pictures that you take. This one is incredible. I'm only 3 days older than Stephanie! Keep up the good work!

Am said...

I used to walk by this young lady everday...She is stunning, someone young, not that much older than I am and is already homeless and sad...

It's crazy how people, places and things are carved up...it's just about being at the right place at the right time. I hope she makes it ok.

Brian said...

Part of me was hoping that she would be rescued and move out of this street life. I found it difficult to understand how someone obviously so young and bright could just waste away on the streets.

Anonymous said...

That is interesting... as another site that I visit also did an article on the homeless today...
http://simplisticart.blogspot.com/

RD said...

She's an attractive young woman who's obviously been beaten by life--I wish you had been able to get more of her story. Maybe she'll open up slowly for you. I'd love to know more about her. The fact that she's such a reader says something about her curiosity.

Brian said...

I was saying hello to here nearly every day after the "interview." She acknowledged me but not in a particularly inviting way. Perhaps in the future ...

twilite said...

Brian, I'd been visiting your site daily.

I'm sad to see Stephanie, one so young, intelligent and beautiful to be out on the street. It breaks my heart to read and see this. However one encouragement though --she is reading. Hope she'll be a great writer one day!

Why homeless? Does she not accept anyone's offer of help? Or, that no one cares? Or, that there are so many that this is an accepted way of life and she is lost in the crowd of homelessness?

Thank you for posting in words and photos this human plight.

Mario Hemken said...

Hi Brian,
it`s me again, Mario from Münster/Germany. I posted two or three comments a couple weeks ago.

NYC is my real home, I mean my soul home. Every time I was in NYC I felt anything with more intense. I do not know this kind of feelings right here in germany.

To stay in NYC with my heart is not easy, but when I take a look on your website with all the wonderful pictures I feel like I should run and run to come to NYC again. And I will come, in March 2008 for two weeks.

But what I wanna say: when I saw this girl and the other pictures of homeless people on your site I always think about the mole people, who lives in the 70`and 80`in the subway Underground. I have too great books about this theme. Do you ever heard about the mole people who lives today in the subway underground ?

Greetings

Mario from Münster

Aigars Bruvelis said...

Thanks for the story. It is unbelievable though that she can not find the purpose in her life. I truly hope this is her conscious choice (like experiment of some kind) and she will make her way out of insecurities and hopelesness.

Jeremiah Moss said...

there are so many like her, who you see every day and wonder about. there is a homeless man who's been staying on 18th between 8th and 9th. i pass him regularly and there is always someone chatting with him. sometimes people leave him food as he's sleeping. i wonder why this man, in particular, has attracted people's interest and empathy. maybe you could chat with him, he seems very affable.

The Distant Rambler said...

First time on your site. Visitor from Dublin Ireland. Those photos say so much about our values. I hope she can find away to either get off the streets or return to her family.I can understand her love of books as an escape.

She Python said...

i think people lost hope sometimes... and sometimes life could be simple... i could iamgine how much stress u could have living and working in USA, cose i think the capitalism its very evil there... so for her life could be simple... reading and living her life... i apreciate ur words...
i'm sure u are special...
but people are strange... but if u come close ur mirror u will see that u are strange too;) life is beauty! welcome to my favorites...

Michael said...

I can't believe this... I just moved to NYC maybe 3 weeks ago and when I walk by this woman (on University like you said) i've always noticed she's reading, which is so strange for a homeless person it seems. I always thought about that...and to find information and an 'interview' online about her is just so strangely coincidental I can't even begin to get over it.

I simply found your blow by searching 'New York city photoblog' because I have a blog of my own and I was curious to see what others photograph in this city.

Anyway, I'll definitely be coming back to yours, and maybe I'll say Hi to stephanie tomorrow...Although I'm sure she might find it strange that I learned her name through the wonders of the internet.

Alana said...

I use to work in Soho, and would pass her everyday. I was always very curious about her. I'm glad you posted this.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie was our "neighbor" for a few years in her Soho location. I've chatted with her about her reading and troubles on the street and bought her coffees.

She has a male partner who is occasionally around during the day and returns to bunk with her at night. They had a system for storing cardboard boxes to construct a little shelter each night. With many blankets, they made it through a couple very tough winters. Stephanie told me that she and her partner occasionally stayed with a friend when the weather was too extreme even for them.

She is known to social workers who do outreach among the homeless. We were told she would not accept help. I've never been able to come up with a strategy--her partner is an obstacle at the same time that he is her guarantee of physical safety in her current circumstances.

Her mental and emotional states varied substantially over the few years I saw her regularly. Often she was carefully dressed--she has great fashion sense--and made eye contact. At other times she was clearly not emotionally well and was in poor physical condition.

I'm going to look for her on University Place. I hope she is doing as well as possible.

-Kelli- said...

She is beautiful. I hope she is doing well and decided to accept help when offered again by someone genuine.
Just found your site today, by chance. Thank you.