The Queen of Hearts

Multimedia photography

Tree lives in the Mission Hotel, San Francisco’s largest single room occupancy (SRO) hotel. This 49-year old mother of two adult children is new to this kind of living. Once a successful casting director and student Academy Award winner, Tree was employed until less than two years ago, when she stopped the heavy psychiatric medication that had (mostly) kept her out of the hospital. She was homeless for three months before moving into the Mission Hotel, where she started using drugs and selling sex.

I spent four months in 2010 documenting Tree’s daily life in the hotel. In 2013, after losing contact, we met at a diner on Sixth Street in downtown San Francisco. She was staying at a hotel nearby. She had gotten a colorful peacock feather tattoo on her arm, but other than that not much had changed.

Tree (left) and me (right) at a diner on Sixth Street in San Francisco in January 2013.

Tree and Vanessa