About four years ago, David Entrikin set out with the intention of photographing all of the city's parks. Then one day, on a picture-seeking mission, he met a homeless man in a tunnel in Madrona. The man, with a bible in hand, suggested Entrikin scrap the photos of parks for another subject. "He encouraged me to take pictures of the homeless," recalls Entrikin. When he thought about it, Entrikin realized the shots he'd taken of the man were great. So he followed the man's advice.
With photos of about 300 people finished, Entrikin read that more than 1,900 people had been found outside in 2006. Entrikin considered that number: 1,900. He figured he could take that many pictures of the homeless. "So I made that my goal," he says.
The results can be seen in the photo exhibit, "Outsiders," at the Upstairs Gallery, where enormous headshots balance hundreds of 3x5's of people sleeping under blankets and cardboard boxes. Sometimes, visitors overwhelmed by the show's scope are moved to tears.
Entrikin, 63, says gathering the shots have shown him the cruelty inherent in Seattle's sweeps of encampments -- "They're creating a tremendous karmic debt for the city" -- along with revealing that the homeless are "basically great people living in piss-poor circumstances."
Even when the show comes down at month's end, Entrikin, who long ago surpassed his original goal of 1,900 pictures, says he has no plans to stop meeting and photographing the city's homeless: "What else do I have to do?"
"Outsiders," at the Upstairs Gallery, 4611 11th Ave. N.W. Mon.