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I didnt even ask his name


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#1 Elsa Hoffmann

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 19:34

I didnt even ask his name.

Winter's day at the beach and I encountered this gentleman. I took some shots of him, some stolen moments, and some he obviously was very aware of me. Yet he didnt mind me, didnt ask for money (they ALWAYS do), didnt ask for food or anything else. Just went about his way, and if anything, I thought embarrassed that he was eating and drinking out of the garbage bins. He walked towards me at one point and I shot a number of photos, stopped him and put my hand in my pocket and gave him money. I could tell this was unexpected for him, he thanked me, and wished me well.
I turned away and decided to go have a cut of coffee myself. Just to discover I gave him 10x more than I meant to - he got the big money and I got the small change. Am I sorry? no. Even though I didnt mean to give him so much - perhaps tonight he is sleeping with a full tummy.
1. Washing hands in the water on the brick paving at the beach. (I dont know why)

2. Scratching for food

3. Clearly his life isnt as happy as mine is.

4. His world in a bag.

Thank you for my camera. How else would I even notice life?

Attached Images

  • 130623 Muizenberg Beach 034.jpg
  • 130623 Muizenberg Beach 049.jpg
  • 130623 Muizenberg Beach 071.jpg
  • 130623 Muizenberg Beach 085bw.jpg

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"I drifted into photography like one drifts into prostitution. First I did it to please myself, then I did it to please my friends, and eventually I did it for the money." Philippe Halsman

#2 PedroS

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 22:19

Great moments, nice photos of a hurting life...

You did well!


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#3 Akira

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 00:51

Perhaps he is freer than most of us.


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"The eye is blind if the mind is absent." - Confucius

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#4 STS

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 02:19

you have done the right thing, rarely do we get that opportunity, great photos



#5 Ann

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 03:01

This story tells us as much about this particular photographer as it does about the subject in her particularly haunting series of photgraphs.

:)
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#6 tommiejeep

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 03:14

Excellent series.  Love the first one, particularly the tones.  Many thanks for the comments on the character in Istanbul and I finally found the spot to mark my shots for members to Play with :) .

Tom



#7 Elsa Hoffmann

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 06:46

Thank you kindly for the comments. I tried not to make the colours too vivid - I thought it wouldn't suite the situation. The garbage bin was too vivid for me already.

 

I honestly believe - given the choice - he would choose his life above mine. It's how life works.

 

Tommie - you are welcome :)


"I drifted into photography like one drifts into prostitution. First I did it to please myself, then I did it to please my friends, and eventually I did it for the money." Philippe Halsman

#8 tommiejeep

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 07:56

Elsa, think you were right about the saturation.  B&W is normally very safe for these types of shots and work very well but, in this instance ,  I really think the muted earth tones work even better :) .  Gives some warmth to the subject.  Sort of humanizes the situation.

Just my thoughts,

Tom



#9 Elsa Hoffmann

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 07:58

Thanks Tommie :)


"I drifted into photography like one drifts into prostitution. First I did it to please myself, then I did it to please my friends, and eventually I did it for the money." Philippe Halsman

#10 averity

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 09:40

the one of him looking right at you has the most impact for me, often I see homeless people here in Spain with the most stunning faces and think they would make great images, but so far I feel like I am not showing them respect by taking their photo, even when I have had conversations with them, offered a cigarette or a coffee bought from a local shop, I’m sure if I had asked they wouldn’t have minded, it just feels too uncomfortable. I also feel uncomfortable looking at your images, maybe it’s guilt for my life of comparative luxury, maybe it’s envy for wanting to live without responsibly and ties.



#11 Elsa Hoffmann

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 11:30

I dont feel guilty. I do what I can, and they do what they can. I respect them for that. Not many people are comfortable shooting the homeless, I respect that too.

I do feel sad for them though. Especially in winter when its cold and wet. Thank you for your thought Calvin - much appreciated.


"I drifted into photography like one drifts into prostitution. First I did it to please myself, then I did it to please my friends, and eventually I did it for the money." Philippe Halsman

#12 JohnBrew

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 11:36

Elsa, perhaps you should go back and ask his name. You obviously established a rapport of a sort with him.



#13 Elsa Hoffmann

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 11:38

haha John - I thought about it - but maybe next time I have to give him 100 bucks again!


"I drifted into photography like one drifts into prostitution. First I did it to please myself, then I did it to please my friends, and eventually I did it for the money." Philippe Halsman

#14 Ron Scubadiver

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 12:35

So many patches makes the subject interesting.


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#15 wildoat

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 13:11

This story tells us as much about this particular photographer as it does about the subject in her particularly haunting series of photgraphs.

:)

Agreed!

 

Good set Elsa, reckon you may have made this guys day and not just financially.

Perhaps he's used to being ignored, maybe it can be nice to be noticed also!


 

 

 

 

 

 

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#16 JeCeH

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 14:48

Oke, you didn't ask his name......

But maybe he will rember your face or what you did and that makes it worth while :D 

BTW, love the shots!


Kind regards, Hans
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#17 RogerB

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 15:35

Elsa,

 

This is a provoking series of shots. I'm sure everything about invoked some complex emotions and in a very short time. The reasons for being homeless span a gamut of mental health and loss of opportunity and I'm sure additional dimensions I can't even imagine.

 

As standalone images, I prefer #1 and #3. #2 is a bit puzzling to me because I can't determine what the man is doing, but in this set it's part of the overall tone. Part of my "confusion" in #2 may be that the type and color of cans and bags don't immediately signal trash to me (different colors and shapes in this part of the world).

 

#4 makes me the most uncomfortable. At first I didn't like it, then I tried to determine why. My monitor doesn't always due justice to B&W, so I played with it a bit in PS. I found myself getting familiar with the image and interpreting the very slim part of the facial expression. This became a "just going about business" image for both the man and me in Photoshop. That's when I got very uncomfortable. I became just an observer, the edge had worn off and I depersonalized the man and I felt sad and embarrassed.

 

When walking the streets of Chicago, I'm often approached by people asking for something. I often have a camera. I don't think to take a photo, I try to meet their needs if possible (and as they ask). I know a fair percentage is a scam, but the part that is real is worth my swallowing my don't-get-taken pride and trying to do what I can at the moment.


Best Regards,
Roger

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#18 Elsa Hoffmann

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 16:12

These people are part of most cities and you tend to forget about them - except when you see a photo opportunity - but they are human too.

 

For years we have a deaf man collecting here - and since I have a deaf daughter, I could sign to him and felt more responsible than most. Then a miracle happened and he came round admitting he found the Lord and have to tell us he was never deaf. I thought he was brave so gave him stuff again. Well then a bad thing happened to him (somehow) and not long after he was back begging as a deaf person again. I could only laugh. The Lord must have had second thought about his miracle.


"I drifted into photography like one drifts into prostitution. First I did it to please myself, then I did it to please my friends, and eventually I did it for the money." Philippe Halsman




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