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A Night Walk With Seattle Photographer Tim Durkan

This story originally aired on Jan. 14, 2017

The sidewalks of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood are home to drug addicts, the mentally ill and kids who’ve run away from home. These are the people most of us give wide berth to as we make our way in and out of trendy restaurants and bars. We turn a blind eye to then when they are camped out in a bus shelter. The level of caution afforded to these individuals goes up significantly when it’s dark outside.

The people we avoid at night are the people Seattle photographer Tim Durkan actively seeks out. Durkan has been walking the streets of Capitol Hill at night for more than 20 years, camera in hand, chronicling the lives of the homeless, capturing what it’s like to live on the margins.

Durkan knows these men, women and kids by name. He knows the circumstances that led to them living on the streets. He knows when they die and how it happened. Sometimes, he’s had the pleasure of seeing his unhoused friends overcome enormous obstacles to go on and lead productive lives.

“The streets start really showing their personality after dark. The commuters have gone home; all the yoga stores have closed; you know, the PCC and the Whole Foods — everybody's got their freaking quinoa. Everybody's home behind their little closed doors. But not Rick, not Jessie, not Daniel. Their day is just beginning; they’ve got to survive. And that’s of interest to me as well ... connecting with those individuals that might not otherwise have anybody to share even a moment with,” said Durkan.    

Join us, as we spend an evening walking the streets of Capitol Hill with Tim Durkan on one of the coldest nights of 2016.

Jennifer Wing is a former KNKX reporter and producer who worked on the show Sound Effect and Transmission podcast.