Boy With A Bottle

by MacEachern Ian

boy with a bottle saint nikon mm f nb kodak tri x pan nik maceachern ian

Gallery: Saint John, NB

Tags: boy bottle saint nikon 105mm f25 nb kodak tri x pan nikon f john,

Category: Uncategorized

Published: Sunday 28th of July 2002 03:10:16 AM


Philippe Mourdon
Thanks you I haven't word to say the power and emotions of this shot! Maybe "perfect" is the good one! I hope that one day, i do a shot like this one! Congratulations PHIL

choeN .
Can I be a fan? Your photos seem to expand from the 70's to today...and I think they're good enough to be produced for a book or even an exhibition. Then again I am not sure how many people out there actually appreciates photographs like these (some people I know would call it 'old style').

Jeremy Smith
This is just a wonderful, simple, real photograph. Love it. Thank you.

Ian MacEachern
Cartier-Bresson's photo definitely has more context, and is much more upbeat than mine. Choice didn't come into this photo. I was photographing in the opposite direction and my attention was drawn to something behind me. The boy. It was truly a snapshot, cranking the lens as fast as I could for this very fortunate moment. This was taken in a slum. The bottle was probably being taken back for a refund, maybe a penny or two, but to him, maybe a small fortune. And that is (I suspect) why the death grip on the bottle, and the downcast eyes are part of the concentration. He doesn't want to trip, doesn't want to risk breaking the bottle. The Cartier Bresson photo is obviously more joyous, he is bringing home two bottles of wine, and he lives in a totally different culture. This photo and the other ones in this folder were shot in one of the worst slums in Canada in the mid-sixties, and early seventies, just before “Urban Renewal”. This, as usual consisted of tearing down an established community, albeit very badly run down, and moving the populace to “Public Housing”, where the community no longer exists, and where the problems often become even worse, due to the displacement and the impersonal nature of the new housing, generally high-rise, or low-rise apartments, and where the crowding is even worse than it was in the previous slum. One bizarre irony of the slums in Saint John is that they had the best view in the city, they overlooked the harbour, and the train station and Main Street, so the inhabitants had lots to see. Of course it is all gone now, and there are new, modern (sterile) commercial (even, of course a McDonalds) buildings that have replaced what was once a vital community. I have hesitated to upload this photo because of the inevitable comparison to the Cartier-Bresson photo, but I feel that it is different enough that it stands on its own.

Linda Vermeiren
Fantastic This photo makes me I think remember a photo of R.Doisneau(also a child with a bottle , I believe.) This one is more introvert , because the child doesn't seem to be aware of you at all and looks in front of him. I also use b&w and hope to get the opportunity in Ireland , where I'm goin to toroow. Forgot to look what camera you use.

Marielou Dhumez
...Can't say how emotive is this photograph....It is a great professional work. Congrats.

John Orr
NON-digital mishmash I get pleasure from your image because of the mystery of the story behind the capture itself. Marvelous! Also, your image is a distinction between the uninspiring and maladroit digital mishmash images on that are tainting real photographic genius that we used to see here on As I stated elsewhere your talent behind the lens is far more competent and inspirational than those that work synthetically behind a keyboard. Thanks for sharing. –john orr

Bernhard Mayr
I don't know what I admire more, the picture that touches me, the photographer who was able to see and take it or the human being inside the photographer who shows so much interest and care for the world around him. I guess it's a little bit of everything. Thanks for sharing all your pics again, in contrast to all the cheap-trick eye candies they are something of lasting value, that I can look up to and use as an example I try to live up to.

Andre Vallejo
Resemblence Koudelka,Salgado,'re all on the right track! Really a photograph,if you know what I mean...(8-)

Ian MacEachern
Thank you Bernhard.

Ut Le
mesmerizing this picture is really mesmerizing, i can't stop looking at it, it's so gripping. the boy is clutching this bottle so protectively, i keep wondering what he's thinking about... what's he looking at... things like that. the picture has a lot of attitude and impact, wow all i can say

Marc G.
Hello Ian, Being a real admirer of your work, I'd say that this good, yet not your best imo. I miss the child's eyes somehow. Just see them a bit would have been great. I also feel that the arm's position is essential to this shot, but the image tells me less than your images normally do...

Nostalgic, yes, but maybe not as rich a content as your other boy picture. Imho. Best regards.

Jay Dixon
Emotive. Very well done. This is the highest rated true B&W shot I remember seeing. I am glad to see that it is still possible. The child's facial expression drives the image. The balance isn't perfect, but the mood of the piece is exceptional. J.

Colm McCarthy
Anti Cartier Bresson Just a wonderful photo, as are all the rest in your portfolio. All convey an incredible sense of time and place. Mind you, I don't think there's much hope of the NB Tourist Board hiring you any time soon :-). So happy to see your portfolio back on PN.

Tanvir Ahmed
I wish I could I wish I could Take A picture like this some day Superb!!!!

Valeriu Campan
Emotionally charged... Thank you for being there.

Jyri R.
The hand is good Somebody said that the hand is distracting. Right. But think about it - if this hand was just like you "expect it to be", the image would not be so powerful. The twisted hand is one of the most intriguing parts of this image next to the face of this boy.

Maria S.
Dear Ian, I think that you should not worry that Cartier-Bresson's photo has not left enough room for you. Your Boy with a Bottle is not a mere extension of the Cartier's happy-faced boy. I think you know that. I was tempted to do some art appreciation exercises here but won't. Literaly or symbolicly, one has to see a boy with a bottle much too heavy for him. And many will see beyond that.

Kevin Keller
7 6 Thanks for a real, nonps'd image. Great.

Marco Merici
Wonderful job.

Piotr Kowalik
Aesthetics 7, Originality 7 Great .

Desmond du Mont
Boy with a Bottle It reminds me of growing up in the streets of Brooklyn -- not the part that the Huckstables lived... And we would use whatever we found to play with. We could not even afford squirt guns so we would make them out of dish soap bottles. You have truly captured the spirit of what it is like. I am a huge fan of your work!

Giancarlo Vieri
A photo that speaks.

Ivo Bogaerts
Chindlers list Very very very good. Unbelievable beautiful folders.

flavio dom
Beatifull picture, congratulations. Thanks for showing that film, manual work and art is not old fashioned/dead . This image will live forever!!! Flavio

Philippe Rapoport
everything hs been said: incredible image. The parallel with HCB image is very interesting, for the difference of feeling and meaning. Thanks for sharing.

Martin Trygve
So much story in it. It really moves me. I love this photo.

Peter Mead
Ian, People tend to think in terms of brands and icons, and photographers are no different. I didn't see this as similar to the HCB wine bottle shot, but you do share a similar emphathy in your depiction of people facing their fate. Salgado comes to mind too, but his style imbues his subjects with a subtle nobility. You seem to go at it another way. You sense the moment when the subject can be seen without obstruction and you grab it. I like Salgado a lot. I like you too. This picture is a clear masterpiece. Keep it in circulation. We need it.

JH de Beer (RSA)
Ian This is truely wonderful. Timeless. I don't see photographs like this taken and displayed these days. Modern times cannot compare or relate. Not even if we tried to. This will make me capture what I can, when I can - for one day thirty years from now - we will look back at something that can never be again. One moment in time, captured. Amazing. JH

Paula J.
I want to pick him up and hug him. Fantastic.

K. Basu
Such a lovely image. No wonder it comes from you. Beautiful!

Bill Evans
Ian I am overwhelmed by this photo. I wasn't around when this was first posted. But so pleased that it was resurrected by the site for my viewing. I admit to a personal bias. I was about this youngster's age when I went to a local church's raffle and put down a dime from my earnings delivering newspapers. I won a watermelon. It was very heavy, and after carrying it a few steps, decided to try and put it on my shoulder with the inevitable results. It slid back and landed on the pavement and smashed into dozens of pieces. I was devastated then, but can laugh about it now, but relate to the intensity on the face of this child hugging his prize. I am 75 now.

Janet Cull - Western NC
I love the light-to-shadow on his face. Beautiful.

Stephen Farrell
Beautiful thought provoking photograph of the creed of some of the greatts. So refreshing to see an unmanipulated peice of work of this calibre on this site. Thank you for restoring my faith in this site as one for photgraphers instead of photoshoppers. I wish i had you talent.

Ger Foy
Wonderful shot, reminds me of the film Kes..

Naman Gupta
Ian There`s something in life money can`t buy , this moment is absolutely one of them. This is something I can compare to the level (emotional,innocent,worried,thinker) of Steve Mc Curry`s "Afghan Girl" . This truly is remarkable, the moment I saw the image I wanted to know his story. EXCELLENT.


Kimberley Roberts
poignant What a poignant picture! This child is clinging onto this bottle as if his life depended on it! Very well caught for a snap shot!! K x

Anthony Benjamin
Great Capture Great angle and I love the way that he's holding the bottle as though his life depended on it. Great image. Anthony Benjamin

Markos George Hionos
Excellent classic black and white photography !! - Regards M.G.HIONOS

Ehsan Oveisi
The boy The picture is talking to me

Owen O'Meara
Ian. It has all been said but what the hell, I will throw in one more Bravo. Well done lad, well done. -Owen

Sonia Squicciarini
Bravo Foto suberba! Sono stata guardarla per molto tempo e avrei voluto continuare

Dennis Aubrey
Wonderful eccentric curve of the hand ... ... on the bottle, as if it makes it somehow more secure and more possessed by the boy. The utter seriousness of it all, when does that feeling enter a child?

m p
A photo with a human subject. He's holding the child his mother once held. Come away, O human child! -To the waters and the wild -With a faery, hand in hand, -For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. The Stolen Child, W.B. Yeats Your portfolio is a hidden treasure.

Jonathan Van Matre
Even though the scan is a poor one by today's standards (this is a 6-year-old post - a lot has changed since then), it's still good enough to convey to me how absolutely wonderful the original print must be to see in person. This photo reminds me of the sheer joy of realizing how much can be read from so little when we look carefully at one another - a curl in the pinkie finger, a slight furrow in the brow. This little fellow is a novel in human form - so expressive in his posture and expression. This is a marvelous moment of seeing.

Frankie P
Captured My God.. this photo has truly captured me, I can't look away. An utter masterpiece. I can't help but wonder what became of your unwitting subject?

W J Gibson
simple, pure, draws emotion out of the viewer no matter where they have come from, no matter what was in their mind, this photo transports one if only every photo did that

Keith McFarland
Even after all this time, this image remains remarkably haunting to me. I can't help but wonder what happened to the boy. What a remarkably powerful image.

Antoni Tomadakis

Marianne Fry
Strong Ian, the truth is only one : you have the intuition and feeling, to capture something so special and incredible . congrat. NF

Patrick Hudepohl
Response to Boy With A Bottle by Ian MacEachern Please note the following:

Ken Papai
Response to Boy With A Bottle by Ian MacEachern "A powerful photograph ... Exploring how this image succeeds in evoking emotion could give us insight into the making of our own images." Well, all it invokes in me is sadness. I feel sorry for the little guy. Nothing at all happy abut this image; so I agree, it invokes emotions of sadness, pity, and dreariness in me. He's holding the bottle oddly -- I would guess this photo is from a slum in Dublin, Ireland or Glasgow, Scotland.

Shannon Disney
Response to Boy With A Bottle by Ian MacEachern Yes I agree, You get a glimpse of his eyes, and I too feel sadness. I do believe he is "protecting" that bottle. Love it. Wonderful capture. Stunning !!

Tony Dummett
Response to Boy With A Bottle by Ian MacEachern A photograph from another planet, one where the camera is always ready and the eye is always watchful. Ian does this so effortlessly, without the stylization that's taken over so much modern still photography, especially on these pages. More than a good eye and good technique, you need a great heart to make a photo like this. Paradoxically, you also need to free yourself from sentiment and from the temptation to indulge in obvious message-making. Ian's photographs reveal a true human being who - I can't think of any other way - was probably born with an empathy for human nature and the talent to present it in a compelling way. Look at his portfolio and you might (if you're lucky) see it conclusively proved that a picture is not a window into the soul of the subject, but a light shone on the soul of the photographer. There's a lightness of composition and an optimism about Ian's work that, even in his starkest images, gives you hope for the human condition. That is the true mark of a great photographer: you're taken along for the ride, you see what he saw... in the way that he saw it. The conclusions you draw are irresistable. The plainer the presentation, the less artifice is employed, the more powerful the image. It is the photographer's impression; an impression worth seeing. I don't know why "Ian McEachern" is not a world famous name. One thing I do know: it's the world's loss. It's not the photography, it's the person behind the camera we all should know better. The photographs, unaltered, unprocessed, straight from the heart, are simply the physical evidence that, out there somewhere, a truly good person lives his life and does us the favour, from time to time, of letting us in on the love he has for his fellow Man. A wonderful image from a portfolio - a life - of wonderful images.

Kristina Kraft
Response to Boy With A Bottle by Ian MacEachern Classic technology and old documentaristic photo truly evokes in me feeling of sadness for those past times of changing. I like very much classic cameras because I'm photographing too with the old one. Now I wish I could also capture that kind of scene too. But I can't find such a particular expression on a child's face. Those times are over. The child is very serious, which is for me unusual. It was perfect decisive moment, and the speed of a photographer too. Speaking about the bottles, well, here in Croatia, people also (but older one) brings to supermarkets plastic bottles and sells it, because an industry needs it back. I give 7/7.

Landrum Kelly
Three Photos of the Week--and counting Well, Ian, there was the Photo of the Week of December, 2001, and then the one of August, 2003--and now this one. Surely you have established yourself as one of the best, if not the very best, of the photographers who post on this site. Words fail me in trying to describe your work, except to say that there is pathos without sentimentality, beautiful composition without any sense of deliberate artifice, and, above all, a certain sincere and empathic humanity that shines through in everything that you post--and that tells us as much about you as about the world and the people that you capture. Thank you for this one and for all of the others. As far as I am concerned, you are the premiere photographer on the site. --Lannie

Erik Adams
Response to Boy With A Bottle by Ian MacEachern I cannot recall a photo receiving so much discussion prior to its presentation as POW. This attests to the photo's appeal and power to provoke emotion, as mentioned already. I think the emotional content is from two sources: the child's expression and the angle of looking down from above. The angle is interesting, because we're taught that superior photos of children are obtained by getting down to their level. Here, however, the angle shows the child in his own world, and it appears to be a world of difficulty or sadness. Ian's entire St. John folder seems to be full of pathos. It doesn't really send a "wish you were here" message, as so much travel photography does, but rather a province in economic hard times (can't exactly tell when the photos were taken; the automobiles look like they're from the late 60's or early 70's). The bottle is a good focal point, but I think too much has been made of the way the boy is holding it. Kids hold things strangely sometimes. The child's arms around the bottle do help to frame the photo nicely, however.

Marielou Dhumez
Response to Boy With A Bottle by Ian MacEachern Ian, I know this photo since a long time and it has been for ever my favourite picture among all those I've seen in all my life.
Each time I saw and see it I'm completely in admiration and my heart falls in great emotion.
This little boy describes all what can be poverty and how a strong character can fight against unhappiness.
As I do each time I look at this wonderful photograph I have a tear and this time again.... And so I have the opportunity to tell you all my admiration for your entire strong and so intense work. Thank you and congratulations. Marielou

Beau .
Response to Boy With A Bottle by Ian MacEachern Great to see Ian recognized in this space once again -- truly, nobody does it better. For me, all the power of this image is in the curious way the child's arm coils around the bottle. It conveys a sort of protective anxiety that makes him seem so heartbreakingly vulnerable.

Dennis Dixson
Response to Boy With A Bottle by Ian MacEachern It appears as though he has learned early in life that no matter what we possess, someone else who is bigger, stronger and meaner can take it away from us. If we must compare it to other noteworthy photographs it is only because words fail us in describing the power and beauty of this image. Thanks so much for sharing your work.

Ken Thalheimer
Response to Boy With A Bottle by Ian MacEachern A very powerful photo & a very good POW selection. It's an excellent piece of PJ work which is refreshing to see as a POW. It clearly tells a story. Congrats Ian

Bernhard Mayr
Response to Boy With A Bottle by Ian MacEachern Tony Dummett: "A photograph from another planet ..." Quite the opposite: It's photograph from THIS planet. But everything else Tony said is true, very true. Photography is about showing other people what you have seen. Problem these days (partly in the past as well) is that you don't know if you can believe what you're shown. What this photograph does in a most admirable way is to be authentic. We see what the photographer saw and we simply know it's true. We just know it. Remember the film "Being John Malkovich"? This photograph does right that, put you in the head of another person and let's you see if not experience what he or she did. In an amazingly simply and effortless looking way, where everything else disappears behind the image. A photograph from this planet taken by a photographer that has a deep connection to this planet. True art from one of the greatest photographers I know.

Peter Mead
Response to Boy With A Bottle by Ian MacEachern I agree completely with all the wonderful things said above. I'd like to point out some of the details that I think contribute to such an immediate impact. 1. The strong diagonal in the background. 2. The angle down. We are properly looking at a vulnerable child. 3. The 105 nikkor lens. Close enough to intrude on the child's private universe without disturbing his concentration. 4. A subliminal pattern in the pavement above the lad's head and just to the right: a pair of malevolent eyes. I know Ian is probably saying, "Enough already, it was a grab shot!" But we all know that so much more goes into a grab shot when it works than simply luck. You put your life arc into it.

thanksfor thefish
Response to Boy With A Bottle by Ian MacEachern Stunning in the truest sense. Technically flawless and emotionally ravaging. The same holds true for the vast majority of Ian's work.

Billy Syk.
Response to Boy With A Bottle by Ian MacEachern This photo is a photo of a strong subject. Subject of discussion, thinking and admiring. This happens with well known photographs of famous photographers. Happens also here and now. Tri-x grains make the aesthetic upgrade of an original classic compared to a digital camera. The print could be better as the lines spoil the final result but the b&w tones are excellent for the specific kind of portrait. The photographer was able to capture only what was essential. And silence here is golden.

David Brown
Response to Boy With A Bottle by Ian MacEachern There is very little one can add to this discussion as it has all been said and explained in earlier posts by Ian. Saddness is the emotion that surfaces when I see this image having 4 kids of my own. It is tragic that one so young needs to survive in that manner. That been said my curiosity is asking what has happened to our subject, much like the Afgan girl with those eyes, it would make a great doco.

Marc G.
Response to Boy With A Bottle by Ian MacEachern Before anything else, let me just say, that all I have is an OPINION, whether expressed on this page or any other page on this site. Now... I agree wholeheartedly with what Tony Dummett and B. Mayr wrote here regarding the beauty of true (real life) photography. I love Tony's work, and I love Ian's work as well, for these exact reasons expressed here so well by Tony Dummett. That said, what about THIS photo...? I think it's a very good photo. Great authenticity, of course, and great position of this arm holding this bottle, which expresses at the same time 1) that the bottle's heavy, 2) that he's probably scared to drop it and break it, 3) that he's bored to go where he went (or to go back where he's going). Add the info about he's social condition of course, and that's the content as I perceive it. I'd be interested to read it if anyone sees another content here, by the way. Shot from the hip in a rush, Ian explained: yes, and we feel this very urgency in the picture itself. It has indeed the value of "the instant captured on film". But now, if we look at the actual content of this photo, and if we compare it with other masterpieces by the very same Ian MacEachern, what's in this picture, that would make it as special as or more special than "Sharing" or "Minor's children" for example - just taking here 2 other kids photos from the same folder ? In my opinion, Minor's children for example is much stronger. And I wish Ian could post here again this picture of a kid who just wet his pants. THAT ONE was, in my view, a true masterpiece. This POW is a very good shot, that I'd be glad to have taken, but there are other shots by Ian that strike me as much great than "very good". And I'd conclude with this: my personal opinion is that Ian MacEachern is the name of a FANTASTIC photographer OF HUMAN INTERACTIONS. Meaning: that I feel the general strength of Ian's portfolio comes most of the time from the way he looks at SEVERAL people together as they interract with each other or with their surroundings. Anyway, kudos to Ian for all the great work shown here for years, and I hope this post of mine wil get an answer or two to restart the discussion and better identify the true magic of this POW with regards to content.

Bernhard Mayr
Response to Boy With A Bottle by Ian MacEachern Marc, > And I wish Ian could post here again this picture of a kid who just wet his pants." I think is what you're looking for:

Nadya R.
Response to Boy With A Bottle by Ian MacEachern When I was a child my father drank a lot. But if recycle 5 bottles it was enough many to get a ticket and watch a cinema film - to be far from reality... Absolutely sure the boy smells the alcohol and may be will lick a bit... he tries to hide the bottle... It can be money for him...

Marc G.
Response to Boy With A Bottle by Ian MacEachern Yes, Bernhard, thanks. That's the one. I looked in the wrong folder. Not as strong in terms of composition as this POW, and it certainly doesn't have the same "instant grab" from the hip flavor to it, but the face really has it.

Ian MacEachern
Response to Boy With A Bottle by Ian MacEachern Well.....where to start....I guess first is thanks to the "Elves" for picking this as POW. I just found out about it a couple of days ago as I have been away since the 1st of January... we left London, ON in a snowstorm to drive to Tampa, Florida, and then went on to New Orleans for a couple of days.....(and there is a lot more to do in New Orleans than checking email) back late Friday night, so now I have some time to reply. And then thanks to all of you for the very kind and positive comments about this photo, and my work in general. Regarding Billy Syk's comment about the quality of the print (scan) and the lines, they were caused by an inexpensive scanner, and not really noticeable on my monitor of the time. There is only one print and no negative from which to make a new print. I have to get this print and a couple of others back from a Toronto gallery to get good scans done so I can get high quality inkjet prints made. Again thanks for the comments and interest.

Nathaniel Rowe
Response to Boy With A Bottle by Ian MacEachern THIS IS A GREAT IMAGE

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