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Monday, May 12, 2008

Could You Keep It Down?

After a Rough Night
Photo by myself in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.


When we first walked by this fellow lying across a stoop, he was out cold. I don't know if he was homeless, but he looked like he'd had a rough night out. It was Saturday afternoon, a brightly sunny day. I took a few photos from behind the railing.

'You should stand above him and take a photo,' Mark said, making the universal hand gesture for picture taking.

It'd make a great shot, but I didn't have the courage to do such a thing. We went about on our errands. When we returned, the man had rolled onto his side.

I snapped a few photos while Mark talked about whatever he was talking about. Then suddenly the man woke up, looking confused and a little annoyed.

My heart pretty much just leaped out of my body and bounced on the ground. I walked away very quickly, pulling Mark by the elbow.

Related posts: Castaways and The Underclass.


Olivier said...

des photos qui sont dures a faire. J'avoue que je suis comme toi, je n'ose pas, peut-être la peur qu'un jour.....

photos that are hard to do. I admit that I am like you, I dare not, perhaps the fear that one day .....

Kitty said...

Hi Olivier
haha. I was telling Mark I was afraid of what might happen. He said the man might be upset by ruining his public image.
Better to be safe than sorry

Mab said...

I really have a hard time with the issue of homeless people.I feel such sadness that we live in a world where people can just be so overlooked and ignored.They are part of the human race like all of us and there but for the grace of god....

Tammy said...

That would have scared the crap out of me when he woke up. You had Mark with you so I sure he wouldn't have said anything, but the confused look on his face is priceless. Have a great week Kitty! :o)

Kizz said...

I don't know that I would even have had the courage to take the shots that you did!

Lessie said...

hee hee -- great story.

J.A.Aldeia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J.A.Aldeia said...

Thank you for sharing what happened, but I think You should have talked to him, kitty, or at least made some friendship sign. He is a fellow human being, just like you. I certainly would search for him and talk to him. Go with a friend, you if you don't feel safe.

I prefer to take pictures of people that are aware of the fact, or, when I tray to capture something spontaneous, I stay after, so the people photographed become aware of the fact and get a chance to say something. I don't often speak to the people I photograph in the streets, but I try to make some kind of "thank you" sign.

We must be aware that we are "stealing" something from those people, but that we are entitled to it; anyway, the people photogtaphed are also entitled to be informed about our intentions, and refuse being photographed. It is not practical to ask previously anyone, but if they noticed you and don't say nothing, I assume it is OK.

Finaly, we should never publish a photo that doesn't picture every human being with the dignity that we demand for ourselves. I wouldn't mind being photographed and published like that; what about you?

Kitty said...

Hi Mab
The homeless depresses me as well. I'm not completely certain this person was homeless, however. I believe the door to the house was open.

People don't completely overlook the homeless. A good number of people give money, food and clothing either to the people themselves or to organizations. I prefer to give food.

I'm sorry if I provoked any sadness. I feel compelled to show the larger picture, however, not just touristy side or banal side but the more difficult side of things, too.

Thanks Tammy!

Hi Kizz
He seemed to have been out cold. I didn't expect him to wake!

Welcome Lessie and thanks.

Thanks for your response. I understand your point of view. It's good to hear of your approach to photographing people.

I try to represent all sides of living here, some of which aren't so comfortable.

To answer your query, I would not want to be photographed while asleep either. However, I would not have slept on a stoop on a well-traveled street in the middle of the day.