I met ‘Roofing Randy’ through Thomas Brown of Crossroads, an organization that helps homeless veterans get off the streets. Thomas is as dedicated an individual as you would care to meet. He is a towering man, former Special Forces veteran himself, and it is his passion to get every homeless veteran that wants to be off the street, into a home. We drove about 45 minutes south of town on to a dirt road off of the interstate. After walking a crooked path of matted grass, we spotted Roofin Randy‘s home. A tent with three plastic lawn chairs and a fire pit conveniently next to a small pond. There were blankets draped across the back of the chairs and on the ground. Memories of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden Pond came to mind. It was beautiful there and he didn’t want to leave. This has been his home for three years and he likes it here. This is his home. Over the past three years, Thomas and Randy had become good friends. Roofing Randy had sort of a scholarly way about him, quiet as he seemed to calculate his words before he spoke. I asked him what he did before he retired and he said, “These hands had kept me alive for over sixty years; carpentry, plumbing, electric and mostly roofing.” Then he was quiet again as he took a deep breath. His health was failing and he knew it. About two months ago Roofin Randy, who served his country from 1973-1977, past away. Rest in Peace Roofing Randy.
Featured in my book, ‘Dignity No Matter What’ “For my human smell, I ask pardon of the air of angels...” Salvatore Quasimodo
“I sing gospel like, like you never heard before...play synthesizer too.”
Studio visit in preparation for an exhibition.
Life doesn’t always work out as you plan but be thankful for what you have.
Thank you Creative Loafing for bringing attention to my work.
I’m looking forward to this: ) 11:30am: )
I was sad to learn that “Roofing Randy” passed away this week. He was a veteran.
I have been involved in the Ybor Chamber for a number of years but this is the first time I will actually be the speaker: ) I will share my experiences making street portraits. $25 members | $30 Non-members
We will show a few original prints along with a short presentation. Cafe Con Tampa is a great group of people who are informed and concerned about our community.
It’s often too easy to forget to be grateful for what we have.
I met Mario a couple of years ago. He told me he would leave the city one day. He finally took advantage of an opportunity to leave the city for country life. “I’m much calmer now, away from it all. “
Attitude, particularly a good one, is necessary to survive on the street.
It was my honor to spend yesterday afternoon with a living legend @herbsnitzer The photographer who has made the portrait of #MilesDavis #NinaSimone #LouieArmstrong #BetteDavis #DizzyGillespie #DukeEllington #JohnColtrane #sammydavisjr just to name a few. in addition I met his beautiful wife who is an outstanding painter in her own right.
It is so sad that as a society we equate self worth with net worth. “I used to have money. I used to be somebody.”
Today I had the honor of speaking to the students of Tampa Language Center. Every student at the lecture was from a different country. I shared my photos and a little bit about my encounters on the street and they asked extremely good questions. Beth Ross and Blanket Tampa Bay was there to answer all of the toughest questions :- ) Thank you to my daughter, Selena Rampolla for helping with the presentation.
Putting together some photos for a slide presentation to be held at the Carrollwood Cultural Center this Wednesday night at 6:00 p.m. I will talk about some of my encounters photographing people on the streets. This one is from Ybor city in 1980.
My instagram got real busy this morning and I soon found out that Ted Forbes of The Art of Photography had highlighted my book yesterday. I have been a fan of his for a long time and have learned so much about the history of photography by watching his channel. I am so honored that he mentioned my book.
“Things have been better.”
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. “ Victor Frankl
Following the matted grass deep into the woods where my friend Thomas Brown introduced me to Randy. “I live in the woods because I like it here. These hands had done roofing, carpentry,plumbing and tons of other things to keep me alive. “
“I flew fighter jets.” As we remember on this Memorial Day all of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, please also remember those who survived but are forever scarred beyond what we can imagine. Many of them are living on the streets.
There is beauty all around us...even in an urban retention pond.
“Guess how old I am. I’m 85 years old!”
“Let me tell you ‘bout a dream I had.”
“I’m from here. Went to school here til I got kicked out for messing up. I stay til I mess up and then move around. In and out of jail. But I’m straight now. Doing better.”
Often I’m asked for advice on street photography and I advise to try to feel the anticipation of a picture emerging. A picture is a gift given to you and you have to be ready to receive it. I know that sounds hoakey, but its real. We were talking as I was making portraits of him as I sensed tension. We get along great so I didn’t know what the tension was about. All of the sudden he jumped up abruptly and looked for someone in the park. I raised my camera as quick as I could.
“I will get out of here soon. Too many drugs and craziness. “
Women who live outdoors have to always be aware because everyone can be a predator.
Thank you #kings_third_age for featuring one of my portraits. If you like outstanding portraits, visit their gallery and have a look.
New website updates! Link in bio.