Photo by myself on Avenue A, around 7th Street in Alphabet City.
A young fellow sat slumped over on a stoop, around noon on Sunday. He looked like he wasn't feeling well.
Fortunately the weather was mild and sunny. It was a welcome relief after days of relentless gray drizzle.
A split second after taking this photograph, the guy walking into frame addressed me. He couldn't believe that I took a photo of the fellow on the stoop without asking first. I didn't want to get into anything, so I just smiled and walked away.
I wanted to say that the street is a public place. If you're on the street, there is nothing illegal about taking someone's photograph.
I can't tell you how many times I've had people ask me to delete a photo. Every time, it's been a person selling something, and they're worried that I'm going to report them for selling without a license or that I'm stealing their ideas. It has never, ever been a person who didn't want their picture taken. Surprising, but true.
I photograph people because I find them striking or beautiful, a small part of a larger image.
There's nothing to be embarrassed about. No one is ever too tall or too short or too heavy. They are simply who they are, perfect in who they are. Even when someone might feel at his absolute worst, he can be a part of an image that moves others.
All this I wanted to say to the guy. Maybe next time.
Related posts: On the Sidewalk, Chinatown, Surprise, Suprise and Life in the Balance.