Homeless

Note: this photo was published in a Jan 25, 2011 blog titled "Council chiefs hit back in row over cuts to services for vulnerable people." It was also published in a Feb 18, 2011 blog titled "Real concerns remain about rising rough sleeper numbers, says St Mungo's," and a Feb 23, 2011 blog titled "Social workers reduce costly hospital readmissions by homeless people." And it was published in a Feb 28, 2011 blog titled "My Best Life - Helping Others Live Their Best Life." It was also published in a Mar 24, 2011 blog titled "Who's At Our Doorstep?" And it was published in an Oct 14, 2011 blog titled "America's Next President Must Remember the Poor."

 

Moving into 2012, the photo was published in an Aug 13, 2012 blog titled "Here’s The Story Of How I Became Homeless And How I Got Out." It was also published in a Sep 11, 2012 Massachusetts Daily Collegian blog titled "Homelessness and mental illness." And it was published in a Nov 29, 2012 blog titled "Band-aids from Slacktivists."

 

Moving into 2013, the photo was published in a Jan 21, 2013 blog titled "Spare a penny, or at least a thought." It was also published in a Mar 4, 2013 blog titled "New Reports On Poverty From The Joseph Rowntree Foundation."

 

Moving into 2015, the photo was published in an Apr 4, 2015 blog titled "Sprinklers Off, Still Homeless."

 

This was taken at the corner of Broadway and 79th St.

 

For a street-photography class that I'm taking in March 2009, I'm trying three things that are a significant change from my usual approach: first, I'm processing all images in black/white ("if a picture isn't good in B/W, it probably isn't good in color, either" says one of my instructors). Second, I'm trying to zoom in on the faces and head of the people that I'm photographing, rather than trying to emphasize their posture, their body language, or their interactions with other people. And third, I'm trying to find some interesting things other than people to photograph -- with emphasis on "interesting." We'll see how it goes this week...

 

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This is the continuation of a photo-project that I began in the summer of 2008: a random collection of "interesting" people in a broad stretch of the Upper West Side of Manhattan -- between 72nd Street and 104th Street, especially along Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.

 

As I indicated when I started this project in 2008, I don't like to intrude on people's privacy, so I normally use a telephoto lens in order to photograph them while they're still 50-100 feet away from me; but that means I have to continue focusing my attention on the people and activities half a block away, rather than on what's right in front of me.

 

I've also learned that, in many cases, the opportunities for an interesting picture are very fleeting -- literally a matter of a couple of seconds, before the person(s) in question move on, turn away, or stop doing whatever was interesting. So I've learned to keep the camera switched on (which contradicts my traditional urge to conserve battery power), and not worry so much about zooming in for a perfectly-framed picture ... after all, once the digital image is uploaded to my computer, it's pretty trivial to crop out the parts unrelated to the main subject.

 

Thus far, I've generally avoided photographing bums, drunks, crazies, and homeless people. There are a few of them around, and they would certainly create some dramatic pictures; but they generally don't want to be photographed, and I don't want to feel like I'm taking advantage of them. I'm still looking for opportunities to take some "sympathetic" pictures of such people, which might inspire others to reach out and help them. We'll see how it goes ...

 

The only other thing I've noticed, thus far, is that while there are lots of interesting people to photograph, there are far, far, far more people who are not so interesting. They're probably fine people, and they might even be more interesting than the ones I've photographed ... but there was just nothing memorable about them.

MyPublicOpinion, dnjfan, and 陳 添模 faved this
  • SJH Foto 6y

    Sad. A question though-do they try to get jobs? Are none available, or what?
  • Ed Yourdon 6y

    I don't think there's a universal answer to questions like these. Every one of these people has a different story to tell, a different sequence of accidents mistakes, disappointments and opportunities lost, all of which led to a downward spiral that might have lasted years, or perhaps (especially in this economy) almost overnight.

    Some of the braver, and more sympathetic, photographers that I've met will stop and ask each of these people to tell his (or her) story, and then offer whatever form of help they can ... I haven't done so yet, but I keep telling myself that I should...
  • Moondustwriter 5y

    Our blog site is doing a photo prompt this Sun (Nov14) with pictures of the homeless
    using this fine picture as one of those pictures
    using the attribution rules
    if you want ck us out oneshotpoetry.blogspot.com

    thank you
  • Ed Yourdon 5y

    moondustwriter,

    Thanks for letting me know. I'll take a look at the blog site on Nov 14th.

    Best wishes,
    Ed Yourdon
  • Community Care 4y

    Hi Ed
    It's a great photo - I hope you're happy for us to us it in our blogs!
    All the best
    Simeon
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Taken on March 12, 2009
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