Justin Beck shot the above portrait on Shattuck Avenue. He paid the man, whose name he couldn’t identify, $2.00 and chatted to him for a while.

The portrait was taken as part of an initiative Beck is participating in called the $2 Portraits Project which was launched by San Francisco photographer Thomas Hawk on June 12 2008.

On that day, Hawk vowed that every day until he died he would offer $2.00 to anyone who asked him for money in exchange for their portrait. As he explains it: “While I’m taking their portrait I’m going to ask their name and try to learn a little bit about them. I plan on doing this for the rest of my life — assuming that I can afford to. In part I’m undertaking this project because I realize that I’ve been avoiding people asking me for money. My biggest motivation behind this project, however, is simply that I think human interaction is a good thing.”

Beck’s friend recorded the conversation he had with the man above. He has taken a number of other portraits for the project in Berkeley, including Michael and Kim, both on Telegraph Avenue. Find out more on Beck’s Flickr page.

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...