I fancied myself an outlaw, for a number of years I did.
I spent a year walking down the train tracks of Colorado Springs. This was before I discovered photography. I was working to develop myself as a musician, and spent much of my time pursuing “found object” percussion. I would walk down the train tracks, or bike down to the junkyards on the outskirts of the city, looking for objects to bang. I kept a number of things in my apartment — a rusty oil drum, hubcaps, train spikes — to use for my music (I’m sure my neighbors loved me).
Walking the tracks, I would meet a number of the people who lived down in the outskirts. I met the homeless and the wanderers, and would even come across an occasional shanty town or collection of shacks. Often the people I met on the tracks would tell me their stories, and were glad to see I was there to gather information in an attempt to find some kind of order or beauty from what I found.
One lovely Saturday afternoon in May, I walked further down the tracks than usual. On the side of a steep embankment above a creek was a group of 6 or 7 men, sitting around a small fire drinking whiskey from bottles being passed around. They invited me to join them.
They were all older, unshaven, and dirty. They asked me questions about school. I answered all their questions with as little as possible, really wanting to listen to them instead. I felt glad to be welcomed by them, to be included in their Saturday afternoon on the outside.
When I did start photographing, I started in the same places, the edges of the city.