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Waiting for iPhone 3g - Jul 18, 2008 - 094

On the corner of Fifth Avenue and 60th Street -- i.e., at the opposite end of the block where the iPhone fans were waiting in line -- this young couple staked out a spot with a sign that said "Feed us." I gave them some money; I hope they did use it to buy some food ...

A few months after I originally uploaded this photo, this picture has been viewed so many times that it is now the 8th most-viewed of all 11,000+ public photos on my Flickr site -- and 3 people have marked it as a "favorite". I'm flattered by the attention, but also humbled: I have no idea what it is that makes the photo so popular. The couple shown here had nothing to do with the main focus of this collection of photos -- i.e., people waiting in line to get a new Apple iPhone3G -- and probably had no interest at all in the phone. I now wish I had spoken to them, to find out who they were, where they came from, what they were planning to do when they left (as they did shortly after this picture was taken, because the cops shooed them away). And now, three months later, I have no idea where they have gone, or what they are doing ... or whether anyone actually did feed them.

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Note: On Aug 11, 2009 I uploaded an edited version of this photo. There were various "hot spots" (overexposed" and "cold spots" (underexposed) that had to be fixed, and I bumped up the color saturation a little...

Note: on Aug 11, 2009 this photo was published in a French blog titled "Fooding or Feeding ? La guerre de l'espace publicitaire." And on Sep 29, 2009 it was published in a blog titled "'Loving Laura Mor'” by Harrell Fletcher." It was also published in a Dec 2, 2009 TextNexus blog with the same "Feed Us!" title as the caption on the photo itself. And it was published as an illustration in an undated (Dec 2009) "Only Jewelry" blog, in a posting titled "Apple anklet."

On May 30, 2010, the photo was published in a blog titled "Why You Shouldn't Give Money to Panhandlers." And on Jun 6, 2010, the photo was published in a German blog titled "Für eine neue Esskultur: Wohlbefinden ersetzt Wohlstand." It was also published in an undated (Sep 2010) blog titled "Special September 2010 fares for RTW tickets." And it was published in a Nov 11, 2010 iPhones information blog, with the same title and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page.

Moving into 2011, the photo was published in a Jan 27, 2011 blog titled "Editorial or Note to Stupid Hipsters who Beg for Beer and Pot Money on the Street: ." It was also published in a May 31, 2011 neue-lebensmittel blog, with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written for this Flickr page. It was also published in an undated (mid-Aug 2011) "Idiomeaning" blog titled "Fall on Hard Times." And it was published in an undated (early Oct 2011) IdioMeanings blog titled "Fall on Hard Times."

Moving into 2012, the photo was published in a Mar 21, 2012 blog titled "How my RTW trip would go." And it was published in an undated (late May 2012) "Idiomeaning" blog titled "Scrape By." And it was published in a Jul 17, 2012 blog titled "Don't Call Me Maybe If You're Drowning In Student Loan Debt." It was also published in a Jul 25, 2012 blog titled "6 Things Young People Should Think About When Trying To Find A Job." It was also published in an Aug 25, 2012 blog titled "Millennials Aren’t Buying Cars Or Houses, And It Could Hurt The Economy." And it was published in a Sep 6, 2012 blog titled "Why The Student Loan Bubble Is Much Worse Than It Looks."

Moving into 2013, the photo was published in an undated (mid-Feb 2013) Idiomeaning blog titled "Scrape by." It was also published in a Mar 26, 2013 Forbes article titled "Millennials, Hipsters, And Life After Financial Melancholy." And it was published in a May 11, 2013 blog titled "All Signs Suggest The College Bubble Has Finally Burst." It was also published in a Nov 25, 2013 blog titled "We suck and we’re sorry ~ Millennials respond to being called “lazy”."

Moving into 2014, the photo was published in an Apr 4, 2014 blog titled "将来のために30歳から始めたい事." And on Jul 24, 2014 the photo was published in a blog titled "Summer Panhandling Strategies."

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Silly me: after the iPhone 3g had been out for a full week, I thought I could stroll right into the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue & 59th Street in mid-town Manhattan, and simply buy one without any muss, fuss, bother, or delay.

But when I arrived at 11 AM, I found a line of approximately 150 people waiting outside in the broiling sun, not seeming to move forward at all; it turned out that the Apple store "concierge" folks were letting them in in groups of ten, when the previous ten had been taken care of. When I asked the woman how long she had been waiting, she said, "Four hours" -- she had arrived at 7 AM, having already determined that the AT&T stores were sold out throughout New Jersey and Connecticut.

Well, I'm a gadget freak and a Mac fan, but there's a limit to my passion for such things; four hours was just too much. So instead, I decided to take a bunch of pictures of the people who were in the line. Of course, I have no idea whethere the people queued up in front of Apple stores in other cities (or at other stores here in NYC) are similar to this group ... but I'm inclined to think that they are. And if that's true, then the demographics of this group -- in terms of age, gender, nationality, ethnic groups, etc. -- is particularly intriguing. I saw only one guy dressed in a corporate uniform of suit and tie; Apple may be trying to break into the "enterprise" market, but that's not who was standing in line for all those hours in the sun...

mocgurl78, Kim Hjalmarsson, and 48 other people added this photo to their favorites.

  1. Ven16(my camera is a social weapon) 71 months ago | reply

    For me, it's the social meaning of the photo. Little to do with any female aspect — after all, half the population of the world are females, they have the usual feminine attributes, etc. Notice the bare arms and legs (as far as I can see) free of injection marks; probably a genuine request, or issue-raising, or possibly a jape, or even a satire, who knows?

    Seen on your photo stream. (?²ˣ)

  2. Ed Yourdon 71 months ago | reply

    Well, from a social perspective, there's a lot going on here -- though I will happily admit that I didn't notice or appreciate most of it during the brief moment that I took the picture....

    The girl is barefoot, and has sprawled herself out in a way that looks both innocent, naive, childlike, and inviting. And the guy looks dark, brooding, and suspicious. You can't help wondering whether they're just surly teenagers, with rich parents back home ready to accede to every whim and demand they might have ... or whether they (or at least he) are hard-core homeless vagabonds who have been on the street for months...

  3. wolfgraebel 62 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Barefoot Redheads, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  4. Bob Maynard 60 months ago | reply

    This might sound flip, but your photo's popularity is in all likelihood due to the fact that you can see up the girl's dress. Simple as that. I've noticed the same trend with my Flickr stats -- any time there's a female figure, the stats go up. Occam's razor, yo.

  5. Ed Yourdon 60 months ago | reply

    Sadly, I think you're probably right. I first began to appreciate this "reality" when I photographed some professional football games last fall. The photographs of cheerleaders turned out to be 10 times more popular than the photographs of the various players...

  6. wenn607 59 months ago | reply

    Hi. I saw this photo on Change.org. I am on that site. I read alot of the articles there. I am also here on Flickr.
    They don't look as if they have been homeless for long. That is what I get when I look at this photo. To me, they look like they are traveling around. Like they have a place to go if they really need to.
    Great photo!
    How did this get picked for the article?

  7. Ed Yourdon 59 months ago | reply

    I did not speak to these two people, so I don't know whether they were actually homeless, or hitch-hiking across the country, or perhaps something else.

    I have no idea how the photo was picked by Change.org, but I suspect that they did a search through the CreativeCommons photos on Flickr, based on keywords like "panhandle". In any case, they did not contact me before choosing the photo, and I happened to find it (as well as the other four instances of its having been published) through search mechanisms, and by using Flickr Stats.

  8. wenn607 59 months ago | reply

    I think it's great!

  9. becksta_treksta [deleted] 51 months ago | reply

    Hi, I used this pic here toxicwastecloud.com/news/editorial-or-note-stupid-hipster... and was inspired by it to make fun of the people in it.

  10. Ed Yourdon 51 months ago | reply

    Thanks for letting me know ... glad to see that the photo inspired you :)

  11. bobloveswendy 49 months ago | reply

    Female looks like a richkid on an adventure. Hasn't been in the sun much. Hair is not matted down- to well kept with matching hairbands evenly spaced. The bags aren't dirty & the clothes aren't worn out. Male doesn't look like a street kid. His gaze isn't detatched enough. Bracelets are to new. Shoes are clean. The jewelry & hair show these people are still concerned about appearances. Not street kids. Maybe not yet...

  12. Ed Yourdon 49 months ago | reply

    Good observations!

  13. Brent_Zupp 16 months ago | reply

    Hi Ed! Great shot! I used it for a blog post:

    We suck and we’re sorry ~ Millennial's respond to being called “lazy”

    Let me know if that's not acceptable. I'll be sad, but will remove it. Thanks for sharing your great pics!

  14. escribientedetodo 2 months ago | reply

    Gracias por compartir este hermoso retrato. La expresión es magnífica. Un gran trabajo

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