San Francisco doctor showcases some of city's unhoused residents in outdoor exhibit
SAN FRANCISCO - A family physician in San Francisco said his many walks in the city has opened his eyes to the plight of homeless individuals.
Dr. Eduardo Pena Dolhun took their photos, and they're now on public display.
He's also telling their story through a short documentary called "FOG" or Facing Homelessness Together.
"You're looking at the culmination of two years’ worth of work interviewing and photographing my homeless neighbors," said Dolhun. "They're human with a story that is often very different from what you might think. Almost everybody here has dreams, and they haven't given up."
The first homeless person he photographed was Reginald, a U.S. Air Force veteran.
"Such a kind individual, very eloquent, not on drugs, not a criminal, just a good person," said Dolhun.
Now, Reginald's photo is one of 31 portraits displayed on two sides of a San Francisco Unified School District building on Franklin Street at Fell.
Men and women from all walks of life, from across the country and beyond.
"The third from the left: he was one semester away from getting his law degree. His name is Yoda," said Dolhun as he pointed to the portrait display.
The exhibit is in partnership with SF Jazz.
Dolhun said as a doctor, he's treated many homeless patients and that this project is an extension of that work.
"I think medicine begins with getting the right story and that means listening," he said.
Their stories in their own words, captured on cell phone by Dolhun.
In one video, the doctor asked a woman what's the hardest part about being homeless. She replied tearfully, "Losing my grandmother. She's all I had."
In another video, one man said, "Unfortunately, I got mixed up with the wrong people."
One woman told Dolhun, "I never thought I would be homeless because I had a job."
A collection of these interviews has evolved into a 15-minute documentary to be premiered at SF Jazz on Jan. 21.
"There are a lot of sane and sober individuals on the streets that happen to fall through the cracks," said Dolhun. "I made a promise to them. And I want to keep my promise take their photographs and their stories and bring it to the world."
The public photo exhibit will be up through January 22.
After that, Dolhun plans take it across the country, fulfilling the promise he made to the homeless people he interviewed to tell their story.
For more information on Dolhun's project and his documentary, please visit DoctorsOutreach.org or SFJAZZ.org/exhibit.