Ron Greene's Blog

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San Rafael Streets Team Portrait Project

with 21 comments

Lately, I’ve been working on a portrait series with the San Rafael Downtown Streets Team. After admiring Richard Avedon’s iconic portraits shot against plain white backgrounds, I thought I would try something similar, but using black.

Avedon took hundreds of photos in this style, traveling all over the United States to find subjects for his gigantic 8×10 Deardorff view camera. I’m slightly less ambitious.

I travel less than ten minutes from my home in Greenbrae to downtown San Rafael, where the St. Vincent de Paul free dining room is located. And rather than a Deardorff, I’m using small Nikon and Olympus cameras.

St. Vincent’s dining room is where the San Rafael Downtown Streets Team holds its weekly team meetings, and where I’m using the back alley as a studio.

The San Rafael Downtown Streets Team is one of the few programs for homeless and disadvantaged people that has received almost universal acclaim. If you’re interested in successful programs of this sort, I recommend visiting their website.

Here are two iPhoto snaps from Alvedon’s book, Evidence, to give you an idea of what I mean when I say I got the idea for my portrait series from him.

_Greene Avedon and Streets Team-2

Richard Avedon from his book Evidence

_Greene Avedon and Streets Team-

 Richard Avedon from his book Evidence

And now, some of the Streets Team

_Greene Avedon and Streets Team--13

_Greene Avedon and Streets Team--18

_Greene Avedon and Streets Team--17

_Greene Avedon and Streets Team--16

_Greene Avedon and Streets Team--14

_Greene Avedon and Streets Team--2

_Greene Avedon and Streets Team--4

_Greene Avedon and Streets Team micky-2


Written by Ron Greene

May 12, 2015 at 2:23 pm

21 Responses

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  1. Fabulous!


    May 12, 2015 at 3:17 pm

  2. Ron, as always, well done!


    May 12, 2015 at 3:51 pm

  3. Ron, extremely well done. Thanks for taking and sharing these. Hope to see more.


    May 12, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    • Thanks.

      Ron Greene

      May 13, 2015 at 7:35 am

      • You’re welcome. Are you a member of the Marin Photographic Society? I’m not absolutely sure on the name. I’m in the one in Santa Rosa. Great fun seeing what my fellow photographers are doing in the Bay Area


        May 13, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      • I used to belong, but stopped going during a cold winter and never returned. It was a fine group.

        Ron Greene

        May 14, 2015 at 8:32 am

  4. Your protagonists all seem to be very happy whereas Alvedon’s folks look mostly miserable, probably because life was miserable for them.


    Sent from my iPhone


    Uwe Wagner

    May 12, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    • We want to show the Streets Team in a good light. They really do seem to be a happy group.

      Ron Greene

      May 13, 2015 at 7:36 am

  5. Wonderful pictures – just as good as Avedon’s! Lee Ann


    May 12, 2015 at 6:11 pm

  6. Ron,Your photos are stunning. The faces are so beautiful!Is there someplace you could hang them for a show?San Rafael City Hall comes to mind. Other people should see theseSusan

    Date: Tue, 12 May 2015 21:23:25 +0000 To:

    Susan Kirsch

    May 12, 2015 at 6:11 pm



    Mort Stein

    May 12, 2015 at 9:34 pm

  8. Your photos are incredible!!


    May 13, 2015 at 8:47 am

  9. I’ve been wondering why you haven’t done this before. Publish a book and donate the funds to the Ritter Center

    Jane Beecher

    May 13, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    • You have to have extra energy to do these things, and books of this sort usually don’t make a profit unless you’re already a famous photographer. But thanks for the vote of confidence.

      Ron Greene

      May 14, 2015 at 8:34 am

  10. And the winner is…amazing photography Ron. Thanks for sharing. H Kennedy

    Sent from my iPhone



    May 15, 2015 at 8:46 am

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