ARCHIVES

ALEXIA FOUNDATION: “Lisa, the First Detox” A Women’s Initiative Grant Update

June 20th, 2013

Alexia Foundation Logo
This was originally posted to the: Alexia Foundation’s blog on 6/19/2013.

Mid morning, I forget the day, and she texted. ALL CAPS. I used to have a regular work schedule, but with some of the late nights I’ve been keeping it’s been hard. First it was riding with the cops, on a 5pm to 1am shift, but recently I’ve been following Lisa, the young woman in the robe.

She seems to live in three hour increments, which is about the longest she’ll go between getting high. She’s doing nearly three grams of black a day, often cooking the tar-like heroin with a couple crystals of meth. The clockwork of her habit supersedes all other things; daylight, food, shelter and especially me, the tag-along journalist she sometimes lets into her life.

“SORRY ABOUT LAST NIGHT MY BAD BUT HEY I NEED A HUGE FAVOR I NEED TO GET A HOLD OF SOMEONE FROM GENESIS ASAP MY PHONE IS ABOUT TO DIE AND NO CHARGER BUT I AM AT SAFEWAY ON 216 AND WANT TO CHECK INTO DETOX NOT NOW BUT RIGHT NOW BEFORE I CHANGE MY MIND AS LONG AS ITS MEDICAL THO”

Lisa grabs a last smoke before entering the detox center.

Catch as catch can. Sometimes she reaches out, only to disappear. Sometimes I find her, walking, working. This time she was making a big move. She’s got my number, because I’m persistent, but had lost the number for the Genesis Project, a drop in center started by police for people like her.

When we arrived, she was fidgeting at an outdoor table, amazingly still there. She hadn’t slept in the past couple of days and had been “around,” essentially drifting between friends’ motel rooms and different dates. With the rain, she didn’t have a lot of those. She has a few regulars, but Lisa primarily prostitutes from the street. She’s been doing that for six years, when she was turned out by a pimp at 13. He’s in jail now, for murder.
Read the rest of this entry »

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Posted in behind the scenes, documentary, human rights, human trafficking, iPhone, journalism, Leaving the Life, movies, multimedia, NGO, non profit, prostitution, social justice Comments Off on ALEXIA FOUNDATION: “Lisa, the First Detox” A Women’s Initiative Grant Update

ALEXIA FOUNDATION: “Organization for Prostitution Survivors” a Women’s Initiative Grant Update

June 17th, 2013

Alexia Foundation Logo
This was originally posted to the: Alexia Foundation’s blog on 12/05/2012.

I sat, on the end of the row of chairs, feeling like the journalist. The outsider, the observer, the untrusted. Not because my intention is exploitive, but because I don’t directly help people. I tell stories, hoping the people who see them will learn something and want to act on their new knowledge.

I was at a training meeting for the Organization of Prostitution Survivors (OPS); the intention of the series was to get volunteers and board members on the same page, although most already were.

The room was split fairly evenly between survivors of prostitution and social services providers, though to categorize so simply is unjust. Many fit both roles and, it seemed, all had some kind of a story.

This evening’s training was on trauma. Single event, vicarious; there are many forms. The evidence of trauma manifests itself in many ways too. While I observed, I was beginning to remember.Meeting Space for the Organization for Prostitution Survivors

Like the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting next door, whose cheers and clapping I could hear through the wall, this group thrived on sharing. On honesty and vulnerability. Some were talking about horrific experiences they owned; to do this meant trusting the people in the room.

The only reason I was in the room is I have been researching the story of domestic minor sex trafficking in Seattle for four years, hunting for funding and trying to do this without repeating earlier mistakes; the kind where I overextend myself financially and personally.

And that’s when it clicked. Sitting in that chair I remembered, and my own story became clearer.
Read the rest of this entry »

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Posted in behind the scenes, documentary, human trafficking, iPhone, journalism, Leaving the Life, multimedia, prostitution Comments Off on ALEXIA FOUNDATION: “Organization for Prostitution Survivors” a Women’s Initiative Grant Update

ALEXIA FOUNDATION: “JP” A Women’s Initiative Grant Update

June 17th, 2013

Alexia Foundation Logo
This was originally posted to the: Alexia Foundation’s blog on 11/30/2012.

I met James on a cold, clear night. There was a rally for the homeless in Westlake Park, in downtown Seattle.

James was clean and sober and in search of housing. He’s been in and out of prison over the last ten years. He doesn’t want to give “the DOC,” the department of corrections, any more of his life; he says he’s old enough now that every year counts. He shows a self awareness and intent that just may keep him out. We both knew, as a formerly incarcerated person, the odds are stacked against him. Even in his search for housing.

His body was in continuous motion, physically filling space as he filled the silence with stories of prison. Clallam Bay, aka Gladiator School, where they put the young gang bangers. The penitentiary, in Walla Walla, where the guards ask, when you arrive, where you’re from. It’s so they know where to put you. Meaning, you better have a group to belong to or, for your own safety, they’ll put you in the hole. Isolation. JP a former pimp and hustler

Then I asked him what he knew of the Life. Of pimping and prostituting. He laughed; he used to pimp, he had a few girls. They came to him, he said. They wanted to be taken care of. I asked if they gave him all their money. Yes, he replied, but they were expensive. Getting their hair and nails done and everything. One time he had two girls with a crack habit and a heroin habit. It was tough, he said, hustling for those two habits.

As a journalist, I’m looking for stories that will illustrate the theme I am pursuing. Sometimes I don’t feel this is a fair way to be in a conversation, in a relationship with someone, however brief. James wasn’t the story I was looking for, but he had some history, something I could learn from. And I relaxed; I let him lead the conversation again.

What struck me most is how he saw himself; the provider for these women who went out to have sex with anonymous men, and then turned all their earnings over to him. I had the sense that in this transaction there was a kind of intimacy, however skewed in my opinion, where it wasn’t just business. That there was some kind of love. After all, he said, the girls came to him.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Posted in behind the scenes, documentary, human trafficking, iPhone, journalism, Leaving the Life, multimedia, prostitution Comments Off on ALEXIA FOUNDATION: “JP” A Women’s Initiative Grant Update

ALEXIA FOUNDATION: “On Aurora” A Women’s Initiative Grant Update

June 17th, 2013

Alexia Foundation Logo
This was originally posted to the: Alexia Foundation’s blog on 11/28/2012.

It happened one evening in early August. We saw a woman sprawled beside the road, holding her head. We looked, drove past, then my wife asked if we should stop. We did.

I rolled down the window and asked if she was ok. She said she was in pain and everyone was driving by. She said all she needed was a ride. It was crushing, but I quickly understood what she was doing and probably why she was in pain. I asked where she wanted to go.
Just off Aurora Avenue
“Aurora,” she replied. We were 200 feet from the highway. I asked where.

“Anywhere,” she replied. “By the donut place.”

“Near 125th?” I asked. She replied yes. That was not a go; we had a nine year old in the back and I didn’t want him any closer to her. In the driver’s seat, my wife asked if I’d get out and talk with her. I did, and she drove up the block and waited.

Kneeling down, I asked the woman if she was “working.” She replied, softly, that she was. She identified as a prostitute.

I asked if she wanted me to call someone, that I knew of a safe place she could go. It wasn’t what she wanted to hear, because she started screaming at me for not giving her a ride, for wanting to take care of my family, not her. She got up and walked off.

She was an adult, she wore a short black skirt, black tank top, and had a rather large black hand bag. Her hair looked to be bleached, she wore heavy makeup, and she moved erratically.

North of 125th is where the older prostitutes tend to work. It is likely that a john or a pimp hurt her then dropped her beside the highway, leaving her to find her way back to where she would earn the night’s money; for the pimp, for the drugs, for whatever.

For us? She walked away; you can’t force help on people who don’t want out of “the life.”

But I, we, wanted to do something, to help. We didn’t want to turn away but, in the end, we did. And now our son is scared of the bad people who hurt her.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Posted in behind the scenes, documentary, human rights, human trafficking, iPhone, journalism, Leaving the Life, multimedia, photography, prostitution Comments Off on ALEXIA FOUNDATION: “On Aurora” A Women’s Initiative Grant Update

ON STORYTELLING: IT’S NOT THE GEAR, IT’S YOUR SKILL

April 6th, 2012

With the release of the new Nikon D800 and the Canon 5D Mark III, both amateur and professional photographers have new tools at their disposal. Questions abound: Which camera is better? Should I upgrade? What will it let me do? Should I go pure-video like a Canon C300 or a Sony NEX-FS700?

I am appreciative of the Canon 5D Mark II; I own two, and these compact DSLR’s have allowed me to shoot more video for my clients and for my personal projects. I’m enjoying the medium and how the combination of video, audio, and stills gives me more tools for storytelling, in spite of the increased complexity and greater workload. Will I upgrade? In due time, when it makes financial sense and there’s a need. For me, my main concerns are better ergonomics, audio capture, rolling shutter and moire.

The thing is, it’s just gear, and without story you’ve got nothing.
Read the rest of this entry »

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Posted in Canon 5D Mark II, coolness, editing, gear, human rights, inspiration, iPhone, journalism, media, technique, technology, video, war, work of others Comments Off on ON STORYTELLING: IT’S NOT THE GEAR, IT’S YOUR SKILL

FATHER’S DAY

June 19th, 2011

As Father’s Day draws to a close, I’m reflecting on, and thankful of, my father. I was looking for a father’s day cards for him, and finding far too many celebrating a stereotypical inability to cook, the pride of the barbeque, and an infatuation with sports; none of these really fit him (or me) except that he’s great with a steak and excellent with salmon. So I wrote my own card. The image at right is of him last summer, on a family camping trip.

I am not a biological father, but 50 percent of the time I get to play one on TV. That doesn’t mean I have any fewer responsibilities; I’m sure there are many step-parents, or divorced parents, who could nod in agreement. Parenting seems to be easy, but being a good parent is an incredible amount of work requiring commitment and unconditional love. I strive to be good.

Getting to know T was fairly easy, as he’s a great kid, but becoming part of his life was a little more complicated. I’m reposting my “instant parent” video as a reflection of this. It’s a couple years old now which, in kid-terms, is forever. I’m throwing in a few pix of that “forever” time; I hope to make the time for a second Instant Parent video. You really do learn a lot about yourself, from your kids.

Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there, biological or otherwise.

The Instant Parent

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG BOY

June 1st, 2011

Tim Matsui portraitWhile in San Francisco for my aunt’s memorial service (she died just shy of her 61st birthday), I looked through old albums my uncle and my mom pulled out for the service.

I don’t know who shot this one, but I had to make a copy of it.

Me, somewhere between five and seven years.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Posted in family, iPhone, parenting, travel Comments Off on PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG BOY

TIM MATSUI CONTACT INFO

VIEW PROFILE
US mobile: 1.206.409.3069
skype: timmatsui
e: tim(at)timmatsui.com

PO Box 17941
Seattle, WA 98127 USA