keeping faith
homeless woman
san francisco
december, 2006

the day is unsettling. it's cold and it's wet; and the mist is stubborn and seems to hover; only disturbed as huddled masses hurry through.

robin is not well. a bullet still rests near her spine. and she still feels pain. she needs more treatment; but doesn't get it.

she rustles through a large trash bag of something and bends by her cart overflowing with nothing. a man stands beside and waits. then leaves.

robin's sons visited her for thanksgiving. both of them; one about 22 and the other about 35. they came from sonoma. her younger son came with a bible and a fine set of clothes. her older son came to stay.

she says that all she wants in the world is to spend time with her family and for them to be happy and to be well.

she hasn't seen her younger son since about thanksgiving. and now she's been told he just got shot in the mission. he didn't want her to know; but she found out. yet she can't find him. she tried the hospital where they bring gunshot victims from the mission. nothing.

she is visibly shaken. "how can two people in the same family be shot like this?" says, it's like the city is trying to tear us apart.

her older son came to visit earlier than his younger brother and has been staying with her on the street. he's a "builder." she tells me proudly of the homes he's worked on.

robin is originally from marin (not sonoma). she spent her early years there in a catholic convent or such. they were planning to move to marin together. she would get off methadone. it was real nice.

but "he got real ugly" and mean a few nights ago, she says. and she hasn't seen him since. he just vanished.

says it's hard. says she doesn't know what to do.

"but i must have faith" she says and seems to swallow


Mariusz Kucharczyk says: Quite a story! -- 02:03PM, December 13, 2006.
jadefyr says: This is a great shot. Her face has so much written there. As always, your shots and stories are so interesting. -- 02:07PM, December 13, 2006.
leafy says: ... quite a poem ... -- 02:07PM, December 13, 2006.
Asli Kodan says: so impressive.. -- 02:12PM, December 13, 2006.
~BranchDesign says: I missed seeing your photos. Welcome back : ) I wish I could see your show. This made me think of Mary, m aybe it's the time of year, but she has a very spiritual, innocent, and calm look to her. -- 02:18PM, December 13, 2006.
Matt Harwood says: As usual, your photos touch me for the entire day when I see them. Collectively, they will touch me forever. This is no exception. Thank you so much. -- 02:19PM, December 13, 2006.
original_ann says: ..she can't find the way out and it's heartwrenching... Beautiful image to go with the text, stoneth. It's as if the world is spinning wildly. (And she can't get off). -- 02:23PM, December 13, 2006.
. Andrew Dunn . says: One for the Dorothea Lange scrapbook. Impressive. - 1-2-3 -- Seen in 1-2-3 (?) -- 02:24PM, December 13, 2006. says: wow! -- 02:24PM, December 13, 2006.
leeontheroad says: astonishing work. I hope your show touches folks as much as your photostream has. -- 02:24PM, December 13, 2006.
Carlos Ferguson says: quite striking!! -- 02:28PM, December 13, 2006.
Rosey* says: absolutely gorgeous !! -- 02:29PM, December 13, 2006.
slough59 says: her eyes speak volumes...stunning picture. -- 02:30PM, December 13, 2006.
Vivien Ayroles says: beautiful -- 02:31PM, December 13, 2006.
The Outsider says: thought provoking -- 02:39PM, December 13, 2006.
ed rawady says: powerful image and sad, compelling story. -- 02:44PM, December 13, 2006.
Azli Jamil Photography says: Powerful story and photo!! ps: Faith is also the title of my latest posting. -- 02:57PM, December 13, 2006.
redmann says: What a gripping story, and such a powerful image. -- Seen in 1-2-3 (?) -- 03:08PM, December 13, 2006.
Museum of Dirt says: Another heartbreaker Tom. thanks for showing us the side of life we like to gloss over and pay way too little heed to. -- 03:08PM, December 13, 2006.
plfoxx says: Beautiful and poignant. A portrait of strength/fragility and survival. -- 03:10PM, December 13, 2006.
S()M says: Great portrait of life! 123 -- 03:13PM, December 13, 2006.
Ömer Babadag says: Wow... -- 03:17PM, December 13, 2006.
Eliza Beth says: incredible portrait with story of life to match. -- 03:24PM, December 13, 2006.
Anderson Stevens says: You always catch fantastic expression! exelent work! -- 03:26PM, December 13, 2006.
Bravo213 says: Such wonderful work Stoneth. So hard to believe people live in such a state. I am trying to capture some of the same, please see: -- 03:43PM, December 13, 2006.
fridgeirsson says: A haunting and powerful expression. -- 03:56PM, December 13, 2006.
pîetbe says: i like it. knew i saw her face before. all those storys. i did an interview yesterday with a man who arrived to have an own apartement, but they will cancel (?) the electricity there during the next days. the only thing you can do is to make those people popular to a lot of others, to listen an give a coffee or anything else. -- 04:00PM, December 13, 2006.
Hans van Reenen says: Excellent! -- 04:01PM, December 13, 2006.
the mighty jimbo says: still one of the best sets on flickr. really important work you do. i mean that. -- 04:44PM, December 13, 2006.
petebeck says: riveting. and so sad. -- 04:50PM, December 13, 2006.
barvault says: I wish I could attend your latest show---it is all so necessary ! And it seems so few people care! -- 04:50PM, December 13, 2006.
adwriter says: Heartbreaking. -- 04:59PM, December 13, 2006.
* Ahmad Kavousian * says: Another excellent shot of a painful never ending story, long time no see Tom. -- 05:01PM, December 13, 2006.
kameraurmel says: There is so much pain and sadness in her glance and the hope to find her youngest son. I've got tears in my eyes right now. How small are our own problems. -- 05:53PM, December 13, 2006. says: wow. excellent shot -- 07:14PM, December 13, 2006.
anwesha013 says: ur bck as usual wid fantastic potraits! -- 08:04PM, December 13, 2006.
jinxmcc says: Winter is hardest of all for those without shelter. Thank you for keeping us reminded of their stories and their needs and their humanity, and how small the distance of good luck that lies between us. -- 08:58PM, December 13, 2006.
this instant says: Great picture -- 09:43PM, December 13, 2006.
nathalie booth says: magnificent portrait as usual tom -- 10:20PM, December 13, 2006.
ibh625 says: wow, spectacular! such great emotion in her expression and the tonal quality of the photo really adds to it -- 11:02PM, December 13, 2006.
mac218 says: Welcome back. As you can see.... you've been missed. Another great photo here. -- 11:56PM, December 13, 2006.
Leo Cavallini (inactive profile) says: amazing tones, spectacular! -- 12:38AM, December 14, 2006.
NYCArthur says: Thank you for this, Stoneth.... Welcome back - you've been missed. -- Seen on your photo stream. (?) -- 01:15AM, December 14, 2006.
Ron Harmon says: Your photos really don't need any text but I like the way you string the words together. They writing is a story in itself. You should think about doing a book with these images. I think you would have a good chance of getting it published. Jodi Cobb helped with a National Geographic book about homeless people. You might be interested in seeing her work. -- 04:07AM, December 14, 2006.
TobiTobi ( now says: stunning, touching story, great image. Thanks for posting! -- Seen on your photo stream. (?) -- 09:22AM, December 14, 2006.
*blackRose* says: very nice shot!!!! -- 10:14AM, December 14, 2006.
simurg(parm..) says: good portrait and contrast!! thanks!! -- 11:41AM, December 14, 2006.
AntonioArcos aka fotonstudio says: impressive, no more!! -- 07:11PM, December 14, 2006.
lipsanchez says: very moving. -- 12:56AM, December 15, 2006.
SkyShaper says: absolutely amazing :-D -- 05:33AM, December 15, 2006.
Anjul ★ says: i guess this is one of d most emotional pic form your set.... -- 07:02AM, December 15, 2006.
Reem-o says: The photo shows all the words you didn't have to say. Nice shot. -- 06:05PM, December 15, 2006.
karen_2020 says: What a compelling image.... (Seen on Explore/Last 7 Days) -- 12:59AM, December 16, 2006.
Photography by Suzan says: Excellent Detail.....:) Cheers, Suzan :) -- 07:45AM, December 16, 2006.
howie silvers says: What is San francisco doing about their homeless. We have the same problem in Chicago. Howie -- 02:24PM, December 16, 2006.
Water Walk says: Very intimate shot -- 05:09AM, December 17, 2006.
Federica Erra says: great! -- 11:27AM, December 17, 2006.
site not secure says: there are just too many people like this, always just a little different, often with great insight themselves, society does not like square pegs. What happens to people who slip thru the cracks brings us all down. It should never happen. -- 09:19PM, December 18, 2006.
site not secure says: Eternity -- 09:23PM, December 18, 2006.
site not secure says: this is Arthur Stace. He roamed the streets of Sydney writing "Eternity" in chalk. -- 09:23PM, December 18, 2006.
alex-oz says: Again, Fantastic shot. Like I mentioned before, I have always wanted to know and was curious about all the people wondering the streets of SF, specially in the Tenderloin area. -- 05:28PM, December 19, 2006.
Me duele el corazon says: You have a gift, for showing life as it is, yet each individual appears to carry such strong dignity. It takes my breath away. -- 05:48PM, December 19, 2006.
Paul Presnail says: extraordinary - both the quality of your portraits and the depths of your compassion. Thank you. -- 08:29PM, December 19, 2006.
Ana Benedict says: Stunning! -- 01:48AM, December 20, 2006.
dlemieux says: as usual, your compassion shines through...beautiful work -- 09:44PM, December 23, 2006.
jconn0403 says: You sir, are an artist! -- 05:49PM, December 31, 2006.
trinitystar2002 says: My favourite subject matter ... people and their faces all ... although I have not taken any with my digital. I feel every line on a persons face tells the story ... and this does portray pain. I have looked through all of your photographs, absolutely fantastic. thank you for sharing. from a novice. -- 11:35AM, January 03, 2007.
Tony_ia says: WOW, amazing photo and story...sad. -- 06:01PM, January 06, 2007.
grzes0407 says: great work ... -- 10:53PM, January 08, 2007.
sephia1369 says: Superb catch.... -- 01:34AM, January 10, 2007.
Lycurgo C. Querido says: Life is amazing, isn't it? -- 10:16AM, January 26, 2007.
spokanitis says: You have an AMAZING set of portraits! The stories are touching. -- 06:14PM, February 05, 2007.
Ania100 says: Niesamowite są te portrety! -- 07:48PM, February 13, 2007.
becca_1890 says: what an incredible portrait -- 10:14PM, February 20, 2007.
luvlight says: I think the secret to the depth of expression you "catch" in the faces and the eyes of those whom you photograph is the fact that you care, that you have compassion and love for these people. The connection shows in the moment of each portrait, and in the words which go along with them. Amazing work, as I've said already . . . -- 05:27AM, March 08, 2007.
moby1kenobe says: wow- if wrinkles could tell stories... i want to "favorite" one of your pictures, but don't even know where to start. beautiful work. -- 04:31AM, March 11, 2007.
moby1kenobe says: she looks like a madonna- not the current one, but the one of bibles and paintings. -- 04:35AM, March 11, 2007.
artOtek says: I love the way she's completely lost in thoughts... Moving... -- 08:56AM, March 28, 2007.
Rafael Pieroni says: great images with the homeless serie! -- 04:54PM, August 02, 2007.
thedeming says: Reading the story, I feel her pain, her suffering and longing for her family and sons. What gets you to that stage? What is the pivoting point which causes everything else to not matter anyone? -- 05:50AM, April 07, 2008.
eleinad says: Stunning. -- 04:11PM, August 25, 2008.
Letincelle says: ... -- 09:09AM, September 28, 2008.
Steven P. Moreno says: The emotions are pure. -- 05:23PM, October 03, 2008.
Kara.Neko. says: wow. you are incredible. i wish you were shooting a series that i could fit in. -- 07:41PM, November 29, 2009.
Gislaadt Art - 2 000 000 VIEWS ! says: Extraordinary ! Your Work is FABULOUS ! Please join us and add your image The Gislaadt's Theatrical Human Tragedy (Post 1 ~ Award 1) -- 12:02AM, August 19, 2011.
shirin marshall says: Oh gosh, this is incredible. -- 04:12PM, July 27, 2013.