Originally Posted by Ross Chambers
"Chasing Some Sort of Glory"???
Maybe you should re-read my original post. Nowhere did I say that any of the subjects were homeless or looking for sanctuary. Nor did I say I was an aspiring street photographer. I went to the library to check out photography books as a means of bettering myself as a photographer.
You make it sound as though I left my home and entered the libary with my camera around my neck with the intent of taking advantage of some poor soul who was down on his or her luck with full passion and vigor which is false. It was not until I saw the gentleman reading that I went and retrieved my camera.
I have never taken a picture of a homeless person. I can say without a doubt that this is something that I will never do. I do not take joy in exploiting the pain and mysery of the less fortunate for the sake of capturing an image. Furthermore, if I were to do so would it be wrong? Are those who have and will wrong?
I said that the man was interesting looking with a kinky afro, the woman; dressed in clothes from the 1960's. This was an significant shot to me because three decades were clashing at once; the afro (1970's), the womans style of dress (1960's), and now, the 2000's. I viewed this as a merging of the three era's as well as a sign of progress, which is why I revealed what I believed to be their ages as well as their race.
I live in the Southern Hemisphere of the U.S. You would have never seen a white woman sitting that close to a black man in 1960. In fact, the library would have had separate sections, one for blacks and one for whites, or even worse, blacks would not have been allowed in the library at all. 1970 is around the time when things slowly began to change.
As I stated, their appearances and style of dress reflected 1960 and 1970, a negative time in our society, for race relations and equality. To see the pair of them sitting together in 2008, but dressed in clothing as well as adorning hairstyles from those two eras showed a step in the right direction; a positive reflection of the merging of three separate eras; 1960-1970-2000, but this was not the driving force behind my wanting to capture the image, but rather the two decades in between, 1980-2000; a twenty year gap that brought about a still ever growing positive change in the manner by which blacks and whites relate to one another in the South.
It would have been but nothing more than essay; a narative reflection of the human dynamics of change, and I felt it my duty to document it; thus sharing it with the rest of society. If this is what you meant by practicing a "CLICHE", then shoot me in my back with arrows as I walk away because I stand guilty as charged. Do not we all?
Thank you for responding.
Last edited by jamusu; 01-06-2008 at 12:11 AM. Click to view previous post history.
While working for Doctors without Borders, were there any shots that you refused to take?
Because there has been such horrible inequality in the past, people, very well meaning people have done all they can to make up for it. Then they go overboard. They regard humans as innocents that need protection from the baddies out to exploit everybody. Yet this exploitation is ingrained in human society anywhere you care to look. The earth is exploited, and everyone who wants to eat has to play a certain game. It's a game of give and take. Not perfect.
This awful market economy has done some nasty things, but more good than evil. So down on the ground in the everyday world where we interact , to a minor extent now given the effect of the car culture, may I say one of the worst forms of human suffering comes from isolation. Polite ignoring. Hands off. That's one reason that alot of people fall thru the cracks. So honestly, a little push and shove ain't so bad after all. Telling a bum he stinks, and he's not welcome in the library, is much better than that horrible tolerate/avoid thing that librarians who turn the library into homeless shelters accomplish. I'd like to know what harm a photograph does compared to that.
Wanted to write a lengthy post here, but decided against it. To make a long story short: Had you asked the guy and the lady in a friendly way, you might have gotten the perfect shot. Talking people into stuff like this, however, is an art in itself. If you like photographs like this, you've got to learn that talking thing just like mastering your camera.
Seven years ago we were in DisneyWorld (my wife, 6 year old daughter, myself, and my recently widowed father-in-law). While my wife and daughter were on a ride, my father-in-law and I were sitting on a bench waiting for them. Along rode these two obese women on scooters. The scooters each had baskets on the front for personal items. Those baskets were filled with several bags of potato chips and other junk food and gigantic sodas. I had my camera and so wanted to take the photo. Out of respect for my late mother-in-law, who had passed away from complications of a lifelong struggle with obesity (she eventually got it and dieted and exercised, but too late), I decided not to take the shot. Since then, with the advent of "reality TV" and "The Biggest Loser" I have decided to never again pass up a shot like that again.
We were in Disney again for the holidays this year and it was worse than it was in 2000. Very few handicapped people in scooters... but a great many obese people, with junk food in tote. I even found one fellow with FOUR plates of egg rolls in front of him. This country will never get it unless it is publicly presented so I have decided to make a project out of this. We saw a man with ONE leg (and a prosthetic one) running to catch a Disney bus with his children. We saw a gentleman in the employ of Disney with NO legs. We saw another fellow with one leg (no prosthesis)... all getting around no problem.
We were waiting in line for one of the night time Disney shows at MGM and when the gates were opened we were almost injured by someone in a scooter (not handicapped I'm sure). I heard the guy behind us with his family (who were also almost run over) say... "How handicapped do you have to be to get one of those?"
My project will be called "No Handicap... this is not about Golf".
If I have offended anyone or anyone who is politically correct, I apologize. Just remember... your body is a temple.
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I don't like taking photos of people I don't know either, but I have been known to do it. Personally I think if you really want to, perhaps an SLR is not the best option; a rangefinder is much quieter (I have a K1000 too, very loud camera!) TLRs are really good too, since people don't fully understand how they work. I read on some website somewhere that old box cameras are especially good because you can point them in funny directions and your average person on the street doesn't know what it is.
I prefer quiet cameras in general because I don't like to attract attention whatever I'm photographing.
Those who know, shoot film
I don't know whether I would've felt right printing this one but I think it could've been a tragicly comical one. There were a bunch of kids jumping around on these spring loaded boots launching themselves into the air in the city center. They were doing it for charity and they had to keep jumping for how ever many hours. Well anyway I was taking a few shots and this guy on crutches with one leg comes past. I can imagine the shot now but didn't react in time. It would've been oh so wrong but a shocking/provocative/great photo all the same.
EDIT: I only just noticed your post rcoda, strange haha
Originally Posted by Ralf
Normally that is what I do, and normally the results are great, but for this shot I did not want to compromise the realness of it. Also, I have yet to mention this, but I am pretty sure the guy knew I was taking photos of him. He at times would look directly at me and smile and then continue reading his book.
Also, I had no chance to ask the woman because she basically bolted as soon as I lifted the viewfindeer to my eye. At that point the shot was comprised just as it would have beenhad I asked.
As stated previously, this was the first and only time that I have taken photos of people without their permission in my two years as an amateur photographer.
Feel free to write as much as you want the next time. I would love to read more of what you have to say.
Nice documentary shots. When were they taken if you do not mind my asking.
Sorry for hi-jacking the tread....
You were asking about shooting for Doctors Without Borders.
I never came upon a situation where I didn't take photos for them, but it could come up if I shot for them longer. Most of the pictures I did were of doctors working at clinics or people who were attending the clinics. In Cambodia most of the injuries were related to land mines but I wasn't there when an injured person in real rough shape came in.
One time while shooting at the hospital in Gonaives in north Haiti I passed on the chance to shoot in the leper wing of the hospital.... I found the regular wards rough enough. I think the shoot was for International Child Care not DWB. I found the work in Haiti much tougher to do than in Cambodia.... of course in Haiti I felt sick most of the time myself so that might have something to do with it.