Back at Last

Medical issues, financial woes and deep depression made the last seven or eight months pretty harrowing, diverting all my time and energy, and thus Up From The Deep has languished. Recently, I had to pawn much of my equipment to cover medication costs, thanks to bureaucrats and bean counters at my Medicare Part D provider. On the upside, my eyesight has been restored by my brilliant ophthalmologist, Dr. Gary Aguilar, and I have at long last pulled myself up out of the worst depressive episode in over twenty years. Now it is high time I bring you up to date with what I managed to photograph.

For starters, here are a few of the people who — entirely unbeknownst to them — kept me from altogether losing my mind.

wendy-mid-market

“Wendy – mid-Market” (2014)

Sketchers - mid-Market

“Laurie Wigham & Sketchers – mid-Market” (2014)

My friend Wendy MacNaughton, author and illustrator of Meanwhile in San Francisco, in partnership with the wonderful Laurie Wigham of SF Sketchers (“I want to sketch on paper without an undo button and get inkstains on my fingers”), invited me as a guest lecturer to lead a sketching expedition of the mid-Market corridor. What a grand time it was, and how fascinating to observe the ways different people perceive the same things.

Lewis Jackson

“Lewis Jackson” (2014)

Jackson for many years had a shoeshine stand near the corner of Mason and Turk. After he retired a few years ago, I lost track of him. When a mutual friend now living in Florida asked about him, I decided to look him up. I found him one bright Sunday morning, dressed in his Sunday best, near where his shoeshine stand had been, and learned that he returns there every weekend to visit with old friends. Whenever I would see him in years gone by, Jackson never failed to make me smile, and when I caught up with him last fall, I was not disappointed.

Gangway 01

“At the Gangway” (2014)

Occasional visits to the Gangway with friends Koffi and Dan would always raise my spirits.

Mark & Julia

“Mark & Julia” (2015)

Julia Scott, author of Drivel, invited me to participate in a soundscape audio tour of the Tenderloin called “Detour,” which ended up being a thoroughly delightful experience. Julia is a sweetheart with the patience of a saint, who even on my worst days managed to pull me up out of my funk to record voiceovers for her project. Not many people could do that, I dare say.

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Out of Sight

To my followers, I apologize for the long hiatus since I last published anything here. Unfortunately, my eyesight has been ruined by cataracts to the extent that I can no longer see well enough to take photographs. The good news is that I am scheduled for lens replacement surgery on 12 November. If all goes well, I hope to resume publishing sometime after Thanksgiving. In the meantime, best wishes to you all.

Mark Ellinger

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Filed under Tenderloin