was the image of the current pope that was displayed for the Indians. I didn’t want to push the film(11) because I would lose resolution and the pope’s name would be unreadable. So I placed the camera on a tripod.

In a few frames, I had stepped back slightly in order to include the window in the mission door alongside the pope and the TV. In one of these, an Indian peers through the window (fig. 6). It was the first photograph I made that said something about the relationship between the street people and religion: The Indian is on the outside looking in. I liked this photograph, but you couldn’t read the pope’s name. The one with just the TV and the pope was more tightly framed, and you could read the name, but it didn’t make the connection I now saw as important. In the early stages of the project, I thought that this photograph with the Indian made that connection very well, but later I decided that it was too heavy-handed. Nevertheless, it was an important picture because it led me to see the connection between the missions and the people who used them. It was a photograph whose structure reflected social relationships. Its three horizontal compartments relating three social units: society embodied in the man on the television screen, the street people in the Indian, and organized religion in the image of the pope.

Soon after, I made a photograph of a homeless man sleeping on a bench in the lobby of the Union Gospel Mission. Above him, a display of mission literature surrounds a picture of Jesus (fig. 7). This was another photograph that articulated a hierarchical connection between the street people and religion for me: the vertical structure puts Jesus above the sleeping man.


I was learning a lot about how people lived on the streets from my conversations with the Indians at the Chief Seattle Club. They told me that you didn’t go to just one


Stepping Back