The Image: Kevin McCollister, "Jerome"

I knew nothing in particular about Jerome except he was part of a loose group of regulars who gathered near a donut shop close to MacArthur Park here in Los Angeles. At first, he caught my eye only because of his tuxedo t-shirt set against his more macho camouflage jacket. Then, as I asked him to move in front of the trees for added contrast, I noticed his strange blond hair with the curious curl moving sideways across the front of his head.

I took a few more shots with my Lumix, made a little small talk, gave him a few cigarettes (always a great icebreaker for a street photographer) and that was about it. Less than a minute overall.

It was only when I got home that I saw the startling lack of pretense on his face. Vulnerable, wounded, lost, forlorn and certainly sad and all of it delivered with a direct “Here-I-am” quality that looks right into your eyes.

Kevin McCollister