A street shot & document for 'jazz for the homeless'

Discussion in 'Seeking Critique' started by inoneeye, Sep 6, 2020.

  1. I was in Manhattan a few weeks ago and parked in Midtown in the morning. I had a dental appointment, so my wife waited in the car. So there were two homeless homes about thirty feet apart. The first, the woman was still there getting dressed for the day. She put on pearls, perfume, and decent clothes and then left with a cart to do her work for the day, whatever that is. I was embarrassed to take a shot, frankly, I didn't want her to see me doing it.

    So I took this shot of the second home with my cellphone. The guy (or gal) was gone when we parked. But just like you or me, he locked up his place when he left. Of course, he didn't use a lock but a couple of strips of tape to seal the "door". That says a lot to me. Despite his cardboard home, it was his place and his property and he respected it enough to lock it up if only with tape. I think that's indicative of the pride even homeless people feel as desperate as they are. Maybe even more prideful as that's all they have.
    This Side Up - Park bench to Park Avenue
    by Alan Klein, on Flickr
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
    michaellinder likes this.
  2. Clearly there are lots of reasons for homelessness today. One of the many problems is that over the years, all of the social services we had in place for mental health and other issues have been defunded, one by one. There used to be a whole network for keeping people either safe or off the street. As this system was being systematically dismantled, the number of people living on the street rose. Given the current, deteriorating economic (and social) conditions, the homeless population has since skyrocketed.

    I am of the opinion that we should find compassion in our hearts for these folks. We should try to have a little understanding. Be a little softer on them, a bit kinder to them.
    (In fact ideally we would treat everyone this way, no matter who they are, regardless of their circumstance!)

    At the end of the day, "street" people are simply, "people". Fellow human beings.
    When we choose to "help" them in any way, we must do so without judgement and without expectations.
    michaellinder likes this.
  3. The interesting photographic issue here is what’s not in the frame. If someone shows us a pic of a modern skyscraper, do we notice the missing tenement? Why isn’t the subject of this photo a black person? Why not someone younger? Better yet, why not a trans person! We could go on, no?

    PN could hold a ruin porn contest someday (if they could figure out once again how to hold a contest). Who can find the most revolting, seediest, smelliest abandoned building to present? More palatable examples need not apply.

    Whose choice or obligation is it to represent the absolute worst side of homelessness? And will that view elicit viewer empathy and help effect change?

    I’ve lived in San Francisco for 45 years. My main form of entertainment and exercise is walking throughout the city. Defecation and urination occur, but not in the magnitude I often hear it made out to seem. I’d say homelessness has increased in quantity over the years and what’s also increased are exaggerations about it in what are obvious political hit jobs on “Democrat cities” by weak, mentally tortured presidents, right-wing media outlets and social networking memes.

    As to coaches being pelted by the public, those monstrosities have been reviled and pelted not just by homeless folks but by lots of protestors of all types, as these super-sized buses blocked traffic, public bus zones, and quiet city streets, idling while waiting for passengers, defecating toxic exhaust while they wait. I don’t personally have an issue with them, though. Better the folks working Silicon Valley and other out-of-town jobs carpool to work in this manner than each driving an exhaust-spewing vehicle to work individually.
    dcstep and Ricochetrider like this.
  4. It is. Black, female, young & trans disenfranchised people are all the same. They are disenfranchised. End of.

    Still a sh1te photo :)
  5. Way to bring it back to a photo critique ludmilla. I was thinking that maybe you had changed your mind o_O. quite a lump job btw! We progressed to a #1 crappy photo. You're still showing your true grit...shallow as it is.
    I hope it is truly end of ... the spiteful & personalized vindictiveness.
  6. All others thank you. I enjoy reading all thoughts that reach out beyond the image.
    dcstep likes this.
  7. My take away. A few people did not post a critique of the photo but were inspired to discuss their feelings about shooting street homelessness. I suppose any photo depicting a reality of the visible homeless should expect that reaction. I do. and it feels right to me when a photo reaches anyone on that level. I hope that it doesn't come to only portraying street life as if those realities don't exist.
    And can only be written.

    There was a model release signed for the producer because of the nature of the project. There was compensation and an offer to tell her story in a later public venue. Still I set that aside when deciding to post it. At this point I would view the release as nullified for a few reasons. In truth I would have posted as a stand alone without a signed release. As I remember her name was Carol? and my memories of her informed my decision. I do not think she would have objected and she was very happy with the portrait and indicated that she treasured the print I gave her.
    I realize that some would object to the future impact it might have for a person photographed when they are "down and out". She was not out imo and she appreciated someone wanting to connect. Exploitive? yes it was but when is it not. Treating Carol as an equal, yes I did, in person and in the photo. So many question how it would feel to have someone take your photo when you are destitute. I have answered that for myself in the way I took and kept the photo.
    Of course not all I say comes through in the photo. This was presented as a stand alone photo. It is a homeless person on the street. I was not just making a portrait of Carol. I was attempting to show a homeless perspective by focusing my camera on one persons experience. The subject was first that of Homelessness. and I hoped to be respectful of the person I was exploiting to get there.

    1 image or 100 to tell a narrative sets up different expectations. in posting this as a stand-alone I did not have expectations beyond the usual controversy but that is not a good enough reason to hold it back imo. When I talk with people living their lives in public view (as hard as that is) I find they are more offended by being ignored in their home than someone shooting them in their home, the street. Talk to them. They are just as likely to be pissed at sneaking a shot as anyone else. Yeah that cuts into the beauty of candid shooting and moving on but times have changed. As have i.
    Thanks all.
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  8. My experience has been that the causes of homelessness are many and varied. Some have lost jobs with no immediate hope of finding another. Some lost a spouse, others were evicted from their apartments or lost a home due to foreclosure, etc., etc. I still remember talking to a client of the facility at which I volunteer, who showed me a photograph of himself while participating in the the New York Yankees' training camp. He had an unexpected, early departure from playing baseball due to a severe injury. I could go on and on.

    To me, the OP image is a powerful reminder of homelessness narratives.
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  9. Alan, indeed homeless persons still are persons.
  10. Ludmilla, have you ever spoken to a homeless person? If not, perhaps this explains your dislike of the OP image.
  11. I remember one time when I was speaking English and they spoke Serbo-Croat and things deteriorated from there. I didn’t sleep for weeks. Maybe you are right.
    michaellinder likes this.

  12. I don't find the photo self-explanatory... AlanKlein's commentary is important. .

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