Inspiration | San Francisco Vignettes



One stop after the airport, a family boarded the BART train. One mother with three girls, the youngest of whom sat grinning in her stroller.  “Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco. Uno dos tres, cuatro, cinco!” The mother counted the little girl’s fingers and toes, much to her delight. The two older girls looked out the window, reading each of the station names aloud.

At 16th and Mission, a group of college students came on board, radiant with youth and effortlessly put together with their disheveled hair, slightly bohemian style, no makeup. Two girls weighed the pros and cons of various majors they were considering.

Transferring from BART to Muni, the train pulled up just as I approached the platform. I stood to the side as a man wearing dark camo pants exited the train, dragging his garbage bag full of unknown items behind him. I looked down at the seat he had just vacated and saw the dark, sandy dirt he’d left behind.

At Folsom and Embarcardero, a white man, mid-thirties, boarded the train. He was wearing headphones with a long cord that hung down from the discman and the pile of things in his hands. He turned to his right, and before he even sat down, he began speaking. Loudly. It was all directed at the black man sitting across from him. You know the Crips? From Watts. They’ll make you disappear real quick. I know lots of Crips…” and on and on, having an entire conversation with himself as the black man closed his eyes and pretended to sleep. I looked over with sympathetic smiles of understanding, as the man continued to expound on the Bloods and the Crips and Watts, LA. He disembarked at the next stop, much to everyone’s relief.


I hadn’t seen her in at least ten, fifteen years. Lael Goodman, my elementary school friend from Grand Rapids, Michigan. We spoke enthusiastically and haltingly, a funny combination of first date and old friends reconnecting. After lunch at Oralia’s, we walked back up the street toward Mission Bay, enjoying the impeccably warm, sunny weather. Images of lines formed in my head, of our lives as they had diverged and run parallel and converged in all these different ways.

Later in the day, around 5pm, I had a sudden impulse to go outside with just my keys and my camera. I reminded me of the one time at Duke that I spontaneously decided to get in my car with my camera at 2am and simply drive around downtown Durham with no particular goal in mind.

I took these photographs:

Random, but these are the daily moments that fill life to the brim.