Al is a newspaper salesman I met on Flagler street. He had only made 50 cents by the time I talked to him but he is happy with where he is at in life. His girlfriend is well off and lives in Texas, but he said he wouldn't ask her for a dime.
I found Bob on the corner of Duval and State street. He is retired at 67 and has lived in Key West for a few years. In the morning he usually paints small canvasses on the sidewalk and for the rest of the day he does what he pleases. He said he was going to go swimming or kayaking on the day I photographed him.
Dominique (aka Catman) has been performing his cat show at Mallory square since 1984. Almost every day at sunset, he performs tricks with his cats such as the tightrope walk and hoop of fire. His zany personality embellishes each performance as he yells at the sky and contradicts himself, "Hurry up, take your time!." www.catmankeywest.com
The mechanic pictured here is named David. He is 27 years old -- born and raised in Key West. The bike he's standing with is an original 1966 Vespa 150 that he was wrenching on for a client and was ecstatic to be working on. If you're out there David, keep up the good work.
Justin works on this boat taking people out for fishing charters. The boat is named the "Discretion," pictured here in the Marina on the north side of the island. Justin was sitting on the railing smoking a cigarette when I found him. It seemed like a slow day. www.discretionsportfishingkw,com
The first time I saw this man he was biking on the shoulder of U.S. 1 in the midday heat with all of the gear pictured here. George is a pretty hardcore biker. Here he is taking a break on Marathon Key as he bikes from Key West to the northern keys and back.
Heather works on a sail boat called the "America 2.0", supposedly the fastest sailboat in its class. She was hired in New York to be part of the crew for the boat, which travels between New York and Key West. The crew was in the middle of cleaning the deck and repairing some damages. With it's shiny black hull, the boat definitely stands out from the rest.
Jason is a full time resident of the Keys and also my Aunt and Uncle's neighbor. I decided to photograph Jason at his prized Tiki Bar, complete with decorations, stripper pole, and a great view. Jason is a renaissance man with his street knowledge and myriad of skills. He can often be seen walking the street talking to neighbors or bumming around with a cold beer.
This man was splashing water at birds on a beach crowded with tourists. He claimed not to have a name since those are terrorist labels and he asked if my camera would capture his soul. All in all, he was actually a nice guy, but obviously had mental issues. As I was leaving he thanked me for talking to him.
Pieter was sitting at Higgs beach on the south side of the island in the morning, a time and place where it is typical to see homeless folks. He was quiet and didn't have much to say to me. I learned he had lived in Key West for about 20 years. His friends said nobody looks after him and he might not last long.
I also met Robert near the Higgs beach area, but in the late afternoon. A long time ago, he had worked with heavy machinery building underground drainage systems on the islands. Nowadays he bikes around and plays guitar for fun, sometimes for money. We shared a few stories, he played a song, and I took his picture. He told me one story in particular about drinking a beer that had been drugged by accident. He didn't know what was happening to him and had to be taken to the hospital. Apparently some people find that gag to be quite funny around these parts.
You guessed it, Tony is a coconut salesman. He spends his time between working in the Keys and relaxing in Honduras. When I set up my large format camera, he was so excited to be part of the process because it reminded him of cameras they would use when he was a kid. We talked for some time and as a token of our encounter he gave me a 10 dollar Honduras note as I was packing up my gear.