In 2008, Thomas Hawke began his $2 portrait project. His idea was simple. When he walked around, if someone asked him for money, he would offer them $2 if he could take their portrait in exchange.
“My biggest motivation behind this project however is simply that I think human interaction is a good thing. I’m not doing this to exploit homeless people or show how hard and bad life can be. I’m doing this because I want to celebrate other human beings as human beings and I think that this commercial transaction gives us an opportunity to engage and interact on a more human level…”
I loved the idea and today in Portland, I was approached for the first time.
This is Calvin. He has lived in Portland all of his life. His parents died in the ’90s and that is is when he found himself on “skid row” as he referred to it.
He was friendly and proud and very graciously accepted the $2. When we were returning to the car, he was still standing in front of the coffee house. He asked for another dollar and I obliged. He was my very first portrait.