Join to Save Your Lightbox

Save the images you like by registering with your email and by creating a password. You can save as many images you want.

not in your face  

not in your face  


A few years ago I photographed a young man who called himself Doobie. He was entertaining and was obviously loved by his fellow travelers.

Venice Beach is a fertile ground for all kinds of t-shirt wearers. I find that the most up to the minute messages occur there and then six months later I see those messages on the streets of New York. They are bi-coastal. When I returned the following year to the boardwalk I was met with the news that Doobie had passed away. His “group” was in mourning and I saw their pain. The story changed from telling to telling but the gist of it was he was trying to help someone in trouble and he himself was stabbed. I don’t know where this happened or when but his buddies remembered that I had photographed him. I found his picture and had some copies made and we decided to have a memorial for him one evening at sunset on the beach. There were a few of his friends who took the lead but the majority of the people on the beach that night didn’t even know him but took part in our ceremony. Some told stories about him and it was oddly very much like a wake you might attend for a relative. It was clear no one knew much about him but there was a solidarity of spirit and purpose they all shared. They took care of each other. There were boundaries you never crossed. Where you were from or where you were going was never discussed at the least by me. I found that when each of them introduced themselves they mostly had nicknames. But when I was alone with them, photographing them many would tell me their given name which I kept to myself and tried to forget.

Someone said quietly that Doobie believed in God so they decided to say a prayer. It wasn’t a prayer I had ever heard before but layers and layers of thoughts and words about their lives and why they were here. The on-going theme was “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” By the end everyone was in a circle and before long everyone was holding a picture, placing it gently in the surf and watching as it floated away. It was a fond farewell for “Doobie.”