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Relevant issues for this story, separated by commas (eg. war, race, gender):
Poverty
Geographical region for this story (eg. Africa, Middle East, Southeast Asia):
North America
Relevant key words for this story, separated by commas (eg. Africa, Hurricane Katrina, Mother Teresa):
Homelessness, San Francisco, Bay Area, Train Station, California, USA
A short summary for this story that will go on the stories page (1-2 sentences):
The Transbay Terminal is San Francisco's primary mass-transportation depot. Because it is one of the few public buildings downtown, homeless people go there to pass time or sleep.
Matt Black

1994 — student award of excellence

The Transbay Terminal is San Francisco's primary mass-transportation depot. Because it is one of the few public buildings downtown, homeless people go there to pass time or sleep. Commuters and business people in the area have long complained about their presence at the terminal. But little has been done, save increased police presence, to improve the situation for the people who are forced to live there.

I have always tried to avoid the individual stories of homeless people -- they are too diffuse and varied to allow for the formation of an accurate overview. To me, the collective weight of their plight is the most telling; I have tried, therefore, to take photos which speak more to the generalities of their ecperience than to the specific situation of the individual photographed. While this approach might be open to criticism by traditionalists, the same classic photojournalism goal is being pursued: social change through awareness.

I began this project in the summer of 1993 and I continue to work on it now. I am working towards publishing and/or exhibiting these pictures later this year. I hope that with publication, something might be done to improve the situation at the terminal.

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Pigeons fly freely throughout the building. Matt Black/Alexia Foundation
A man enters the terminal. Matt Black/Alexia Foundation
This woman is always at the Terminal. Despite the bags, she never goes anywhere. Matt Black/Alexia Foundation
A man panhandles, shyly. Matt Black/Alexia Foundation
A man sleeps in the warmth of the terminal's radiators. Matt Black/Alexia Foundation
A man rests against the entrance to the waiting room. Matt Black/Alexia Foundation