Life happens: Stories beneath the surface


Photo credit: Jordan Rodrigues

Everyone has a story, but not everyone has someone to listen to it. I was the listener this time. I went out with the intentions of photographing random homeless people that I assumed were homeless because of some type of addiction. I was humbled when I sat and talked with these people. My mind was in a different place, as well as my judgement — life happens.

People with nothing to give, gifted me the experience of a lifetime. I learned that sometimes you can’t control what happens in life. Everyday things can happen so fast that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with what seems like a chain of events. I thought I was doing these people a favor by offering them a hot meal (Wendy’s 4 for $4), but the knowledge and changed outlook on life that I got from these people was priceless. Some of these people are free spirits that do not want to be confined to a single home. They make art and their own clothing and one of the men I met, began telling me his story before I asked him anything besides, “Hello sir, can I ask you a couple questions?”

I am glad that I did this piece because I had a lot of misconceptions of “homeless” people that seem to be crowding the streets of downtown Chico. For the most part, these people lived without knowing what their next move was going to be or where to go. Trying to put myself in their shoes for a moment in time, I scared myself. It’s crazy how some people can still keep their faith and continue living, being in that particular situation. I will for sure think twice when I think life, school, whatever it may be is getting “too hard”. At the end of the day, I have a bed to sleep on, four walls that make up my home, a family that cares about me and can afford to eat everyday. I am forever grateful for these people giving me some of their time.

Kay is a free spirit. She has no home by choice and makes accessories and clothing. She started her adventure a few years back and picked up a guitar on the way. She sells her artwork at the Farmer's market during her short stay in Chico. Photo credit: Jordan Rodrigues
Kay lives life one day at a time, going with the flow. She lets off an aura of good vibes. "I picked up guitar about 3 years ago. I want to cover Beatles songs whenever I get the chance to play." Photo credit: Jordan Rodrigues
"I couldn't afford my house so they took it."
Getting hit when you are already at your lowest, yet still breathing at the end of the day; this man is a soldier of life. Forever grateful that I had the chance to speak with him. Photo credit: Jordan Rodrigues
Mike, proof that life happens to the best of us. "My wife passed away 7 years ago. I couldn't afford my house, so they took it." Photo credit: Jordan Rodrigues
Teanna has been in and out of Chico for about 10 years. She stays because there is always somewhere to stay. When she does leave, it's for a change of scenery. As of lately, she's been roaming around Chico with her friend Erick. Awesome people, with full hearts. Photo credit: Jordan Rodrigues
Erick was using an X-acto knife to cut a design into his grip tape on his longboard. He put on his sunglasses to conceal his identity, but worked adamantly as Teanna just wanted to talk about her past and present. Photo credit: Jordan Rodrigues
This man "Amber" wouldn't let me take a photo of him until I gave him his meal I promised him. He was a man of few words, and pulled his hat down to cover his face as he attacked his Wendy's. Photo credit: Jordan Rodrigues
"Amber" the one word he said. The one word that resonates with each picture I see of him. Photo credit: Jordan Rodrigues
Amber communicated with his eyes, and his actions. I could tell he was content for that moment in time because he had a hot meal that he wasn't expecting. Photo credit: Jordan Rodrigues

Jordan Rodrigues can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_arts on Twitter.