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© © 2014 John Crosley/Crosley Trust, All rights reserved, No reproduction or other use without express prior written permission fromn copyright holder

'The Refugees'


johncrosley

Artist: JOHN CROSLEY, Copyright: © 2014 John Crosley/Crosley Trust, All rights reserved, No reproduction or other use without express prior written permission from copyright holder;Software: Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 (Windows);

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© © 2014 John Crosley/Crosley Trust, All rights reserved, No reproduction or other use without express prior written permission fromn copyright holder

From the category:

Street

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John, my first thought/question was if this is a posed photograph or as seen on the street? In any case, it speaks volumes about folks having fallen on hard times. The physical divide of the small group is interesting as well, with the children divided amongst the parents. It's as if they are in this predicament together of necessity, but they are not together in spirit: each in their own worlds pondering how they wound up here and what in the world are they going to do next.

This has the despair of some of Dorthea Lange's work. I guess that's why I wonder if it is posed. It's almost too perfectly captured.

Congratulations.

Amy

 

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Ukraine's East is now a divided place, where once it was peaceful, and

now there is a huge outflow of residents to Russia and others who are

just displaced from fighting 'hot spots' despite a unilateral government

'cease fire' which has not been honored by separatists. This family

showed up recently in Kyiv's central train station, obviously destitute,

and obviously hoping for aid. Your ratings, critiques and observations

are invited and most welcome. If you rate harshly, very critically or wish

to make a remark, please submit a helpful and constructive comment;

please share your photographic knowledge to help improve my

photography. Thanks! Enjoy (or at least be more knowledgeable), john

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Not posed.  EXIF shows 220 or 240 mm extension on tele with DX format, meaning somewhere around film 300 mm full frame tele extension.  They never were aware I was there, except possibly the kid, left, who may have wondered.

 

More later, after others have had a chance.

 

Thanks for kind words.

 

john

 

John (Crosley)

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Looks really, really good in color too, and depending on whether the photo is presented 'dark' or bright and contrasty, it can take on more than one different aspect in color -- in essence, become like more than one color photo.  One is kind of limited by the marble wall behind, but even that can be 'chosen' or 'selected' and worked on a little.

 

I actually had to choose to post this in B&W because of the subject matter, but a photo agency would choose 'color' because that is all that sells now; though B&W is classic.

 

Best wishes.

 

john

 

John (Crosley)

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Tele focal length 155 mm which on DX yields a full-frame mm telephoto equivalent of 232 mm, according to Photoshop.

 

The figures given above were from another, different shot taken a few seconds later, which I happened to glance at.

 

I apologize for the error.  In any case at f 5.0 (f4.9actually) the focus is as 'dead on' at one could hope for at 1/80th second with V.R. (kit lens).

 

john

 

John (Crosley)

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Nicely captured. Good choice of B&W. Rather than a frontal shot, I might try to offset a little more to the right. I think that might help.

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Hitting it sideways at 1/80th of a second would have required stopping down for additional depth of field to get all parties 'in focus' -- that just not was possible given the lighting and the fleeting instance in which this group was visible through the crowd and assembled so.

 

ISO was at 400 and to boost the aperture, one would have had to increase ISO to about 1600 to try for a more 'sideways' shot, and that would have been something worthwhile, but the crowd interfereed, and the group moved, so it was just impossible.  As it was, I got about four shots, then nothing -- lots of people were 'in the way' and I didn't want to disturb the naturalness of the scene by moving in - it was as Amy Helmick noted above'just too perfect'.

 

I have one rule I learned my first year here:  'Don't mess with the ju-ju!.

 

I still will 'work a scene' when I can, and am actually almost famous for it, but when one shot will do it, I often can get just that one shot.

 

Best to you, and thank for helpful advice.

 

john

 

John (Crosley)

 

 

 

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John.  For my money, one of your best.  I hear what Amy is saying but even though the moment is perfectly captured, it does not have a contrived feel for me.  Their despair and weariness seem palpable.  I don't have an issue with the framing.  The baby's head sits at about the middle of the photo and the adults and other children form a nice symmetry around that point.  Way to see it.  Dana...  

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Thank you so much for the compliment AND the analysis, for the compliment does not mean nearly so much without an informed analysis.


I happen to agree, although at the time, on thumbnail, I was not so sure, but since just before I began to work this one up, I became more and more the convert, compared to another TWO wonderful photos I took that day (the first two photos by the way, which I'll post anon).

 

There was the chance of other possible photos, but fighting the crowd crossing between me and these people was difficult, and to stand pretty much exposed and alone in the vast expanse between where I took this and them would have caused me to stand out too much, like a sore thumb, and destroyed any chance of a good capture had they spiedme plus the cops at that point have to be taken into consideration, not only now but in the future, so no use in antagonizing anyone by being TOO conspicuous.  

 

Ukrainians are pretty forgiving of photographers, but around, especially INSIDE train stations, is where they draw the line - outside they tolerate, but they're very vigilant and always have been.  I think it's a leftover from Soviet times, and now with a sort of 'war' going on . . . well, again, no use in antagonizing.

 

The color version is wonderful - posting it was a possibility, but classic won out here.

 

Thanks Dana, your comment helped make my day.

 

john 

 

John (Crosley)

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I apologize for misspelling your name, above. 

 

I recognize your name, and its proper spelling is very important to you, and there's no excuse for misspelling it.  If the editing window were open longer, I would not have to post this correction separately -- just quietly edit the post above.

 

Best wishes.

 

john


John (Crosley)

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Wow! The expressions you have captured here say it all! I think presenting this in b/w really lets the expressions and body language speak. Great job John! Thank you for sharing! :)

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Thanks for the laudatory comment.  I missed getting a clear shot where the mom was nursing, alas, and had a very poignant and exasperated look on her face.  The grouping was wrong--too crowded, and the passersby interfered.  Alas, so I figured this was 'second best' but in looking at it, it looks almost like a statue . . . 

 

Look at all those hands, arms, pairs of eyes, legs, faces -- each of them different, each adding to the story, and yet each combined with the other in one whole -- this is a very complex photo when one goes to analyze it.

 

In other words, compared to the one I thought I missed, this is far from 'second best'.

 

(and though it's pretty darn good in B&W, in color it's also pretty darn good -- I'm looking at it now on a big screen in color and their tanned limbs and faces in color seem to bind the whole photo together in a way the B&W photo is bound by the whiteness of the exposed flesh -- in other words -- two different views, same photo.  You'd be surprised, also at the depth of the color version because of the shadowing and side lighting (my favorite lighting).

 

Best wishes, and thanks again.

 

john 

John (Crosley)

 

 

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If they're Ukrainian in Ukraine, then the strict view is they cannot be refugees, as refugee suggests that one has crossed an 'international border' for protection or asylum.

 

Under a less strict view, and one that has some modern usage  the more correct and strict view for such persons, if known with precision, would be to call them 'displaced persons'.

 

Here, however, we have a 'quandary' because if they come from the city of Donetsk, it's now called something like 'The Independent People's Republic of Donetsk' and has declared itself a country, so if so, they would be refugees, but I could not and did not quiz them, so I had to go on less than perfect evidence AND what I was told.

 

It's obvious they had just arrived and were 'displaced' at least, and if displaced from a self-proclaimed new republic then one could reasonably call them refugees.  Sure, 'displaced persons' also would work --- but that's nit picking, and since you're so good at picking nits, I'll let you pick those particular nits.

 

I take the photos, and in this one, I hope a pretty good one.

 

They surely were without assets and had just arrived from afar at the Kyiv Central Train station, and needed help, but I couldn't offer any -- I am not a charitable agency, am unfit to offer any, have no assets, and cannot even communicate with them.  A hundred thousand Ukrainians (or Donetsk Republic and Sloviansk (republic?) people, the UN tells us have fled across the Russian border, many never to return, fearful of 'fascists' of Ukraine, and although surely there ARE some fascists, their candidate got 2% in the May 25 presidential candidate and the Jewish candidate got more!!!

 

'Fascists' as an enemy, in my experience, appears to be something 'ginned up', but I am not possessed of perfect knowledge, and the few 'fascists I did meet were 'militant' (though few).

 

These don't appear to be gypsies or Romany if one looks at their features (blond haired boys (dirty), and not darker skin as one would find in Romania or in former southern Soviet Republics where poor itinerants come from and squat, impecuniously such as Chechnya, and the woman has no head scarf - a giveaway for itinerant Chechnyan women.

 

I'm pretty good at reading a situation, and I'll give you strong odds these people if interviewed are from 'The People's Republic of Donetsk' or nearby, are Ukrainian speakers, and escaping the fighting (as I was told, I believe reliably).  Are they refugees or displaced persons?  You can make your point either way.

 

I do know the difference, but I also know when it's not so important.

 

john

 

John (Crosley)

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Double click on the photo to make it 'full posting size'.

 

This is a more complex photo, and the larger it gets, the more interesting it seems, at least to me.

 

This is one of those photos that captures a 'scene' that is complex enough that to me seems 'more interesting' shown larger.

 

john


John (Crosley)

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Very good documentary, gloomy days for Ukraine. You can read a lot from their faces. Wish them best and oblivion...

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Believe it or not, the gloomy days may be settling down; whille the Russian speakers in the East may be scared out of their wits, it's mostly a problem not of their making or of the Ukrainians either.

 

It's mostly a 'ginned up' problem that is costing lives and disruption.

 

That's my limited view; but it has REAL consequences, nevertheless, aside from a fall in the economy and rapidly rising inflation that the outgoing president couldn't have stopped either as he was running out of reserves to prop up the weak currency, Ukrainians in Kyiv are leading rather normal lives.

 

Believe it or not, you'd be hard pressed to know there is a 'war' going on elsewhere, unless you had a radio tuned in to the news or TV news, as otherwise people go about their business, and there are literally no or few extra guards almost anywhere.

 

It's time for picking up the pieces and getting on to business, with the aid of France, Germany and the USA, I think.  The bank was broken and only waiting for the currency to inflate even under the ousted president; it was inevitable, since he was out of currency reserves to shore up the hrivna, then Putin has 'piled it on' to 'punish' Ukraine' for 'what?? and I'm not against or anti-Russia.  I'm neutral.

 

I just don't see the point to what's happened between long-time allies Russia and Ukraine -- the Russians-speakers really weren't threatened -- I lived in a Russian-speaking major city and they're firmly pro-Ukrainian.  No one threatened their rights or worried 'fascists' would take over their major city or threaten their language, I think.

 

In the meantime, unless you're in Slavyansk or Donetsk or thereabouts, things are mostly normal and recovering minus the gas shutoff which has happened but it ameliorated by storage (until December) ,and the falling currency value, which was going to fall anyway under ousted leader Yanukovich.

 

This really for Kyiv is an outlier.

 

john

 

John (Crosley)

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Posted

There's no arguing with this photo in terms of its sense of humanity, expression, weariness, and familial bond. I think the straight on perspective puts it right out there and works. It gives it the feel of a tableaux and whether it's posed or not doesn't make a difference to me. It is what it looks like and it captures my attention and imagination. Posed shots can be as effective as candid shots and neither has to be contrived and, interestingly, both can appear contrived. A photographer can easily approach a candid scene and make it feel contrived by the way it's shot. But that didn't happen here. You approached it plainly, honestly, forthrightly, and with a good sense of the moment, even though the moment is in many of the subtleties your eye picked up and the family offered. Your vantage point aids the feel of the photo, which is personal. 

 

Perhaps it's the processing, but though it has much of the emotional sensibility of Dorothea Lange, it looks a bit less earthy and organic than her work. This leans a little more toward an illustrative feel, the harder edged lines, the flatness of light, the sharpness of eyes. That could be finessed to not have such a hyper feel to it, but the instinct behind the shot and the emotional draw and character are top notch.

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You said it all.

 

Let's help these people; the East is full of hungry, destitute people who fled combat zones with only what they could pile on their bicycles or their cars (if they have them and could get any gasoline (petrol), since the East is largely without fuel.

 

We could make this an Internet meme and gather some money to help people like this if you think it's so powerful -- three people (here and on Facebook where color is posted) have compared it to Dorothea Lange's famous photo from Natomas of Migrant Mother, though it certainly falls far short.  But it's of the genre.  

 

Without the knowledge of Migrant mother, a San Francisco newspaper (I recall) used that photo of Lange's to gether over $100,000 in a short time to help her and maybe others like her . . . can we do the same for the displaced and refugees from Eastern Ukraine -- in the East the countryside is littered with people like this -- few get as far to the center as Kyiv, like this family.

 

Whaddya say?

 

Oh, and I LOVED you photo of 'self' which I found in someone else's 'favorites', and I meant to write you separately about it.

 

Can we make this an Internet and fundraising meme (without destroying my copyright and authorship rights?  How about a campaign on a crowd funding site to help those in the East using this as the main photo (and some of my other Maidan photos?)

 

Fred?

 

Anyone?

 

We can say nice things about this photo (taken yesterday) or we can do something about it to help them.

 

My e-mail's on my bio page.

 

I have Skype and can respond promptly.

 

(Photo is copyright, however, until I release it for use).

 

Feel free to contact me.

 

john

 

John  (Crosley)

 

 

john

 

John (Crosley)

 

 

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Like many times before just recently on comments, I tried editing the comment above, and it was rejected by the antii-Spam software, so my apologies for errors.  They can't be fixed through editing even during the time limit until someone fixes the anti-Spam software.

 

john

 

John (Crosley)

 

 

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John, really a wonderful, if tragic, picture of the disruption of lives and the accompanying despair caused by war. When people talk about how much we have evolved as a species, a picture like this causes us to wonder how much real progress we have made.
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Sometimes, I'm blind to the value and power of my own work and it takes Photo.net critique to wake me up, though I had an inkling.

 

What do you think about the idea of a crowd-funding or other fundraising campaign to help these people and others like them make it through the next few weeks and beyond until they can get their lives in order and maybe coordinate with bigger agencies if they step in (they have their hands full with Syria, Iraq, etc.)?

 

Let me know, would you?

 

Anybody can contact me at 

 

jcrosley@photo.net, and I have a Skype dial to USA number (no dial in on Skype however right this minute though I can fix that.)

 

It costs me pennies to call the USA.

 

Let me hear from you -- any of you, Jack McR, other readers, PN members or not.

 

john

 

John (Crosley)

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Is a sad story that unfortunately is true and I know what happens there very well.I am sure is not a posed composition is exactly as it was that moment,each one  expressions reveal to viewer how hard this situation is,what will be for them tomorrow?and so many other as them.All this are happens under our eyes today and all this contrast in our life in this world from luxury to poverty,hopeless, sometime overwhelms us and really make us to have a sad feeling.

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Thanks for such a glowing tribute and compliment as well as the acknowledgement that this is not (and could not be) 'posed', as it is far too elaborate to be 'constructed' by the likes of one photographer and would be a challenge for a movie director and several assistants with skilled actors.

 

The war has resumed after days of cease-fire which the separatists did not honor, so in addition to the UN estimated hundred thousand Russian speakers who fled supposedly permanently to Russia, there are about 40,000 or so Ukrainian and Russian speakers wandering through Eastern Ukraine, displaced, without assets, some living with friends and relatives, some with some goods and some with absolutely nothing but their lives -- which are precious of course.

 

Look at these people --- they're a close family and the kids are very well nourished, but that may not last for long.

 

They and others like them need help.

 

I'm prepared to devote myself to helping them, but need help from others, such as readers here.

 

I can be contacted by those who would help at jcrosley@photo.net.


In-kind donations won't make it past Ukraine's Byzantine customs import restrictions, as I have learned from airport officials, but everything these people need including accommodations can be purchased locally with money contributions, and with no chance of loss to crooked officials.

 

Please contact me if you, your church, company or organization would like to help -- before these people and those like them sink into deep, bottomless poverty and winter comes.

 

jcrosley@photo.net

 

Thanks Radu for an excellent critique.

 

john

 

John (Crosley)

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Posted

Lange's Migrant Mother was, in fact, posed, and is no less effective, true, or revelatory than had it not been posed. In that case, it is probably more effective for Lange's ability to pose it and wring out of the moment as much as she did. John and his camera saw a moment and made a great photo out of it. Lange saw and also helped create a moment and made a great photo out of it. Street shooting is usually candid and documentary work has often been a little more posed, though not necessarily so of course. Staged shooting and candid shooting have differences, certainly in the process, but not always in the results and, interestingly, each has elements of the other that might not always come to mind. In the way John shot this candid photo, he almost creates a stage on which these people exist, having isolated them from their larger context so. This approach creates a much more intentional and deliberate feel. Is that false? Of course not. Does it make it less expressive than if he had taken a wider view of the street so it seemed more "real"? Of course not. The choice to zero in so intently on what was before him is a form of staging and directing and in no way undermines the authenticity of either the moment or the photo. It simply heightens the presentation and grabs the viewer in a particular way, which any photo will do though not usually as well as this one does. When Lange posed her picture, she was well aware that she could tell a deeper and more salient, iconic, and lasting photographic truth by doing so than had she simply shot what was originally before her lens with no direction from her. That was an important and well advised decision on her part. A photo is a different animal from the scene it depicts and how best to depict the scene and convey an emotion will vary from scene to scene and from photographer to photographer.

 

Any good photographer owes so much to his or her subjects. It's the subjects here and the content that make this shot, just as it is with Migrant Mother. Both John and Lange made the most of what their subjects were about and what their subjects were providing them with both emotionally and visually speaking. Each photographer's effectiveness in bringing us that content, via two different types of approaches, matters a great deal to our ultimate experience of the situation and what that situation represents. Each approach serves the content well and each results in a significant photo that greatly moves the viewer.

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