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This is Matthew (again)


This is Matthew, and it is the third time I’ve captured his likeness. Before I tell you about him, or what little I know of him, I have to tell you how this came about. The first photo of him I took a couple years ago. I had seen him on the street doing odd jobs and asked him and he said yes. Then I saw him a few weeks or a month later. He’s well-known in the neighborhood and doesn’t have internet access but someone who follows one of my pages showed him his image on their phone. He didn’t like it. “Do it over,” he told me. So I did, but had to take 4 or 5 photos—showing him each on on camera—before he liked one. I see him relatively frequently, always plying his trade, and we usually chat a bit. When I saw him last week he told me, “It’s about time you take my picture again,” which made me smile. He “upped his game,” he also added (he recently acquired a squeegee which is visible in the photo). I didn’t have the time right then, I told him, as I had to be somewhere, but I would soon. Then I saw him again yesterday and snapped a series, showing him each one until he agreed on one, and here it is. The reason he wanted me to take his photo and post it to social media even though he won’t see it is because he told me in the past it has actually been good for business. Matthew is on the street everyday as far as I can tell, no matter the weather, but he is not a panhandler; he is a worker. And he does this year round. In the nice months he cleans and details cars, and in the winter shovels walks, pushes and shovels out cars, and cleans the snow from them. In pre-pandemic days he’d work the streets around the bars, but these days I see him either in a parking lot of Walgreens or PriceRight supermarket. He has never asked me for money but did accept a couple gift cards to local restaurants (which others had given me to give away). He is a good man. Polite and hard working. If you are in the 716 and he approaches with his familiar, “Excuse me sir (or miss),” show him some love. And I have to agree that I believe he chose the best photo out of the set.

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