Sunday, August 19, 2007


Tompkins Square Park
East Village, Manhattan

Keith has brain damage suffered during a severe beating that nearly cost him his life at the hands of fellow homeless people in the park. I provide details in the comments section of this post.


YourFireAnt said...

Wonderful composition. The inclusion of the hands MAKES this shot. The humanity of this man bursts out of the frame. Good work, Michael.


Michael said...

Thank you, FA. Yes, I really like this portrait. I think it captures Keith's essence -- what's left of it.

Keith saw my friend and I chatting and started walking slowly toward us, quoting some soliloquy from "Star Wars" and concluding with the words, "I am Yoda." Then he literally melted into this pose.

Keith is an extremely peaceful and gentle soul. Nonetheless, he recently was savagely beaten by some fellow homeless people in Tompkins Square and was kicked repeatedly in the head. He had to be placed in a medically induced coma during his tenuous recovery.

He checked himself out of the hospital against doctor's orders, only to be struck in the head and wounded by a cane wielded by another Tompkins Square Park denizen (who's now in jail on unrelated charges). He has brain damage from the initial beating and speaks painfully slowly and with a slur that makes it hard to understand him sometimes.

My friends Lorcan Otway and Bob Arihood have taken Keith's portrait and written about him numerous times. Their blog links are on the right side of the main page on this blog. Please see what they have done.

Brotha Buck said...

This photo made me laugh. He's not a happy camper.

Michael said...

Hey Buck,

Please read the above comment. Without knowing the background of this man, it's easy to take this photo out of context -- and that's MY fault for not putting it in the proper perspective.

YourFireAnt said...

Michael, thanks for the tip on Arihood's and Otway's blogs. Great heartful work there. I was glad to see/read it.


Michael said...

My pleasure. Bob Arihood and Lorcan Otway do wonderful work and deserve the praise they get.

Anonymous said...

great photo!

Michael said...

Thank you! Keith has a very strong presence about him.