Irene and Brian Michaud
Photography and Story by Brenton Gieser
The benevolence of Officer Brian Michaud was on full display the first time I "met" him. It was a Friday afternoon during the heart of spring. Felix and I were making our street photography rounds in and around the Tenderloin which wasn't amounting to much. After a couple of hours on the street, we decided to walk back to our usual pre and post photo walk spot, Blue Bottle in Mint Plaza. During our walk back I came cross my last scene of interest for that day. From my vantage point, I saw a police officer standing in front of a homeless man. The officer's head was down, paper in hand, which was soon to be handed over to the man in front of him. I stepped behind the homeless man, framed up the scene, and took the photo.
A week or so later, that photo made its way on to Instagram where it was promptly met with a comment from the star of the photo himself, Brian (using his wife and partner, Irene's, Instagram account). In a succinct and surprisingly understanding manner, he exposed my utterly erroneous caption which assumed the paper that exchanged hands on that day was a citation. Brian let me know that the homeless man in that scene was his friend Steve, and that he was giving him $5 to put towards dinner.
Often, if not always, anecdotes fall short in effectively illustrating the ever changing essence of an individual. However, in the case of Brian and Irene, this anecdote serves as the perfect microcosmic event that shows exactly who they are, and more importantly, how they serve.