13 Rochesterians

13 Rochesterians

This article was scraped from Rochester Subway. This is a blog about Rochester history and urbanism has not been published since 2017. The current owners are now publishing link spam which made me want to preserve this history.. The original article was published December 16, 2013 and can be found here.

13 Rochesterians [PHOTOS BY: Arlene Hodge]

   In 2013 I gave myself a photo assignment. Pick 13 subjects, and take 13 snapshots of each...     13x13x13    . At some point during the project I decided it'd be much more interesting to open this assignment to anyone who wants to participate. I'm glad I did. The following series of 13 comes from local photographer     Arleen Hodge

external link

. These are portraits of 13 Rochesterians she's met on the streets. Arleen says she is grateful to call these people her "friends."

"They all have stories and they are truly a great bunch of men who are suffering another facet of the human condition," Arleen reasons. "When I'm shooting underground for a night, these guys look out for me. There are those who are quick to judge... but these would be the guys to jump in and save your life."

I can think of no better subject for this merry time of year - and less than a week after we were forced to face the facts; that Rochester stands as     the fifth poorest city

external link

in the United States. It's not just a city problem. According to that report by The Rochester Area Community Foundation, 160,000 people living within the nine-county region are living in poverty. These are our neighbors. Our friends. These could easily be portraits of you or me...

David. Near Hudson & Portland. Rochester, NY. [PHOTO: Arlene Hodge]

   "David. I met him near Hudson & Portland," Arleen recounts. "He was living inside a hole in the wall under the railroad tracks. When I met him he just kept saying, 'I am a man, I speak from my heart.'"

Gambino. South Ave near Saint Joe's House of Hospitality. Rochester, NY. [PHOTO: Arlene Hodge]

   "Gambino I met over on South Ave near St. Joe's, a friend of a homeless friend. He lives on the streets with his heart of gold."

Jimmy. Rochester, NY. [PHOTO: Arlene Hodge]

   "Jimmy has my heart. The first time I slept outside was with Jimmy. He spent the weekend looking out for me as I photographed the underground night life."

Main. That's his name. This photo was also taken on Main (Street). [PHOTO: Arlene Hodge]

   "Main is a staple on the streets of Rochester. I happened to take this photograph of him on Main Street."

Preacher. House of Mercy. Rochester, NY. [PHOTO: Arlene Hodge]

   "Preacher is wise - quiet and wise. I met him at the House of Mercy--a place dear to me--where he helps in the kitchen on occasion."

Reggie. A former Kodak employee. Rochester, NY. [PHOTO: Arlene Hodge]

   "Reggie has my heart as well. He was a well known basketball player and Kodak employee. Somewhere along the way, after his wife left him, he self-medicated his pain and suffering. Reggie taught me to listen - to really listen."

Rilley. Rochester, NY. [PHOTO: Arlene Hodge]

   "Rilley. He is such a character. Addiction has really taken its toll on him. Seeing him walking the streets, or sleeping in the parking garage, you would never suspect such a child-like innocence about him. I always feel an ache in my heart when we meet."

Slim. Rochester, NY. [PHOTO: Arlene Hodge]

   "I met Slim a couple times. His story I don't know... But his character, his presence... you know, it's an interesting one."

A man at Saint Joe's House of Hospitality. Rochester, NY. [PHOTO: Arlene Hodge]

   "This man and the next two, I do not know their names. I met them over at St. Joe's homeless shelter on South Avenue."

A man at Saint Joe's House of Hospitality. Rochester, NY. [PHOTO: Arlene Hodge]

   A man at St. Joe's

A man at Saint Joe's House of Hospitality. Rochester, NY. [PHOTO: Arlene Hodge]

   Another man at St. Joe's

Wadejo. Rochester, NY. [PHOTO: Arlene Hodge]

   "Wadejo. Now he has to be one of the most interesting people I have ever met in my life. Homeless on and off, he always makes me smile... Though I can barely understand a lick of what he is saying!"

Wolf. Rochester, NY. [PHOTO: Arlene Hodge]

   "And this is Wolf," Arleen pauses. "Love. I look into his eyes and I see love. Deep suffering, hopelessness, and love. Perpetually homeless... How do we help give him hope?"    * * *

"Arleen has been documenting the homeless for years with photographs, and lending a helping hand along the way that has created a second family for her." Video by Annette Lein, D&C.

* * *

You Can Help

Now is the time of year our friends need us the most. If you would like to contribute time or money to the shelters mentioned in this article, please use the following links:

House of Mercy

external link

Saint Joe's House of Hospitality

external link

Both organizations accept donations through their web sites (either via PayPal or printable form). Thank you!

UPDATE:    Previously this story stated Rochester is the fifth poorest metro. It's actually the fifth poorest city. When compared to similar sized metro areas, Rochester falls in the middle of the pack. Read the     full report here    .

Chris Gemignani

Chris Gemignani

Rochester, NY, USA