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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sign Me Up!

Nikon D70 @ 70mm, 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200

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I have to admit that whenever I see a homeless person, I feel the need to photograph them. But I never do. I think it probably all stems from my mother always telling me not to look at them. Well, if you're going to say that then I'll just want to look even more!

And as much as I feel the need to photograph them, it seems that they feel the need to talk to me. The last guy that cornered me (not the one in the picture) told me that he makes £600 a week from begging. That's not a bad little earner. The hours and location are pretty flexible and you're your own boss. I don't think you need any qualifications either, and the training's relatively straightforward. Quite a nice little job actually. The tax man doesn't bother you either, which is nice. No company car though. Bummer.

He then proceeded to tell me that he was going to America to see Coldplay perform. At this point I was wondering where I could get my Mcdonalds cup and cardboard sign. Although, he did tell me that he was having to go into America through Canada... as he'd been banned from the country as a result of drug dealing. Damn nuisance.

That was the weegie. The one in Edinburgh (again, not the one in the picture) told me that he makes £100 for a two hour stint on a Saturday night. Now that's what I'm talking about... sign me up for some of that action!


Anonymous fly said...

Haha, I guess people in UK are prolly more sympathetic and donates more. The beggers in Singapore here are really, really poor. Not to mention most of them are very old, and have incomplete sets of the anatomy. :|
On a lighter note, I love the blurry effect that directs my attention to the begger. (sorry I don't know the technical term!)
And this picture tells a whole lot more story with the head being out of frame.

7:25 am, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Owen B. said...

If what they tell you about their earnings is true, my sympathy for their plight just went completely out the window... I work bloody hard for my money, rent, food etc.

I'm sure it's not the norm, though.

Anyway, the framing of this shot is great, but I'm not quite so sure about the zoom effect. I was never all that sure about using it on my own. I usually use it to give something a little dull some more pizazz, but I think the framing here does the picture plenty of favours without the zoom effect. :)

1:15 am, March 13, 2006  
Blogger Brent Vermilyea said...

Hi, John. I know exactly how you feel about not intruding with your camera. I would love to take more candid shots of strangers on the street, etc. I am, however, very shy in this respect. I also feel, as a guy who likes his privacy and the ability to walk down the street without being hassled, that taking pictures of strangers is innappropriate.

This shot is an anomaly; it doesn't follow any real principles of photography. That's a good thing. That said, the blurred effect distracts me. And while I understand the intent to not show the subject's face, the little we see of the person isn't particularily interesting. This capture is a great study in form and function; for that, I have a lot of great respect for it. Better to be on the edge than not on the edge at all. Cheers, Brent

4:37 am, March 13, 2006  
Anonymous owen said...

Amazing story. I'm clearly wasting my time working my arse off 9-5 every day ;) great shot too - really directs the eye to the right part of the image.

1:07 pm, March 13, 2006  
Anonymous Mona said...

Did you take any photos of him after you spoke to him? because from this image it makes it look like he has no legs and your story sure doesn't match it.

There is a homeless problem here in San Francisco, it's kind of passe' to take photos of the homeless, hear at least since it's been done hundreds of times.

I think it is the story behind the photo of the homeless that I'm attracted to.

2:20 pm, March 13, 2006  
Anonymous Roger said...

Great shot here. I have wanted to do something like this as well. I am in the same place as you. I don't want them to think I am having a laugh at their expense. It's just a shot at real life. Good shot.

3:11 pm, March 13, 2006  
Blogger Faustina said...

have you ever checked out this photoblog? http://www.snowsuit.net/ - I thought you might be interested in it's homeless pictures. Anyway, great photo.

5:34 pm, March 13, 2006  
Anonymous Tricia said...

Great photo.
This man will probably have trouble getting into the US from Canada because he'll still have to go through the border crossings, and he might not even make it into Canada- depending on how recent or how bad his record is.

8:38 pm, March 13, 2006  
Blogger John said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. I was slightly worried that this post might have upset/offended people, so I'm glad that it was taken in the right way. Interesting as well to hear the different responses re: the blurred effect.

Mona, I did not speak to the man but he definitely has legs!

Cheers guys.

6:33 pm, March 15, 2006  
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