Amazing street work, but?

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by javier_gutierrez|1, Oct 6, 2016.

  1. Greetings folks,
    While sitting here at work during my lunch break, I ran into this story. First, I would say that half the pictures in this story are NOT on skid row as I know the area. These are also not the types of pictures I normally make. Personally, I believe my UN willingness to make these types of pictures will for ever hold me back from progressing forward in my hobby. But to me personally, it does not feel right. Having said that, I have indeed made some pictures like these in the past, not in recent time. Then again, sometimes it is hard to tell who is homeless and who is not. No judgment here, but I am curious what are your thoughts on shooting these types of pictures?
    Having said this, these pictures are pretty amazing. Much respect to the photographer.
  2. They are great, but they are more like PJ work than street to me, not that there's a big distinction. It's very nuance for me. They are more portraitures to me, like what Brad~ does. I personally don't like the subjects looking right at the lens/shooter all the time. Or, them knowing I'm shooting at/of them, it may enhance the dramatic effect, but also less natural imo.
  3. Sigh...yet another homeless photographer. I often wonder just how one can convince themselves that they are serving some greater good by photographing the homeless. For most photographers it seems they are simply trying for sensationalism for the sake of making a name for themselves which is to say they are exploiting these people purely for personal gain which I think is truly sad. Sad, but not surprising as it doesn't seem to be longer then month goes by when another batch of homeless pictures makes the rounds on social media. I couldn't find any mention of this photographers work being part of a paid commission for some publication so I guess it's simply a vanity project intended to impress her followers on social media. Homeless photography is truly the low hanging fruit of documentary/photojournalism (I also don't consider this to be "street photography" in the generally accepted definition of the term.) Her pictures are a notch above the typical drive-by style of homeless photography being that she can interact with her subjects but that still doesn't save these from being unoriginal. She should look for subject matter that is new and hasn't already been done a million times over. I too photographed on LA's skid row five years back one Christmas morning. It was a long story on how I got to be there and I've already gone over it before.
  4. If you want to shoot something sad, head to Downtown Los Angeles, go about two blocks West of Skid Row proper, and shoot the hipsters living in what used to be the low cost housing of last resort. Those old 10x12 hotel rooms are now insanely overpriced studio apartments-- each with a couple of people and a couple of dogs all cozy in there.

    There they'll be with their dogs, complaining about the noise, parking their two cars about six blocks away, and looking like walking ATMs. Idiots.
  5. Norman 202

    Norman 202 i am the light

    rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief. does it really make any difference?
  6. I think these images and others in the series are much better viewed on the photographer's own site, which has a lot more context, insight and sympathy:
    Seeing them on the site of a deeply xenophobic newspaper like the Daily Mail, which has no real interest in the social issues, it's hard not to think the editors included them just to give their readers someone else to despise.
  7. I agree, there's more at her site. The subject of exploitation is always there for argument with pj/documentary photography, or even street. The homeless is probably the easiest to exploit, but I think it's difficult to know one's true intention...
  8. I think for the most part I agree with Marc, which is why I struggle with shooting that type of homeless folk. In a picture on
    her sight, I can see a homeless person holding a fresh dollar bill suggesting to me that she paid for the pictures. Should
    that matter? Is that dollar helping or hurting? I would agree that it is more photojournalism than street. I do believe the
    quality and comp of the pictures are strong. Very good. But I could not do it.
  9. Damon. So true !!!!!!!!
  10. Shooting people in helpless situations. No empathy or connection, just exploitation. No thanks...
  11. Norman 202

    Norman 202 i am the light

    i agree with Richard. the photogs site is much more sympathetic.
  12. I don't know Suzanne Stein personally, but I have been following her work on Instagram and her website for a while now. I share all of the reservations about taking these kinds of photographs that many of you have already expressed. However, I believe Stein's work is consistent and strong. I differentiate between the kind of dedicated, immersive work that she does with the type of photographer who only occasionally takes the quick and easy shot of some disadvantaged person sitting or laying on the sidewalk. In the end, disapproval of this kind of photography is subjective, a personal judgment call. If I separate myself from the subjects and locale and concentrate only on the photographs themselves, I can appreciate the strength of her body of work. I don't want to condemn it or defend it. It is what it is and will impact different people differently. [Brilliant insight on my part, eh? ;-) ]

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