Street shooting Downtown Boston - As I passed this guy I noticed he was pulling discarded cigarette butts apart and collecting tobacco on an empty tobacco bag. I stopped to asked him if I could take a few shots of what he was doing and he asked me if I could give him money. I told him I was out of work and I did not have anything for him unfortunately. I took this as my cue to leave him alone and as I started to walk away he called me back over and said, "As long as I can do what I gotta do, you do what you gotta do."
So I took a few shots while he is focused on unrolling butts, dumping the contents onto his bag and while doing so he asks, "You know I am Native American, right?" "My Indian name is Crazy Bear" "You know why they call me Crazy Bear", said Crazy Bear with a maniacal look in his eyes. I answered "because you are crazy?" "Yes, that's right, but not as crazy as when I have been drinking." Crazy bear was trying to scare me away.
I continued to take photos while he asked what magazine I was working for and where the photos will end up. As Crazy Bear started feeling more comfortable, he opened up and started talking about his necklace(canadian wolves teeth / turquoise) why he was homeless, etc. Out of nowhere gust of wind comes and blows away all his hard work all over the pavement. Tobacco everywhere. I felt terrible as he screamed "THAT REALLY FUCKED ME!"
Feeling bad, I quickly asked what brand he smokes and told him I would be right back. Not knowing Boston well enough it took me a short while to find cigarettes, but I did, and on my return Crazy Bear was amazed to see I came back. "I thought you took off" he said. When I handed him that pack of cigarettes, watching his eyes light up, it was such a good feeling as Crazy Bear jumped up out of his seat, shook my hand, and said "Hey man, my name is Scotty, you didn't have to do this. thank you so much!" This gave me an amazing feeling.
It is truly profound that in such a short time, complete strangers bonded over a few photographs. I hope to see him again.