Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Portrait of a Homeless Man

It was about one or two months ago, in my usual shutter therapy sessions, I stumbled upon a homeless guy lounging out in the open by the Pertama Complex.

Photographs in the following were taken with Olympus E-5 and ZD 40-150mm F3.5-4.5



I was drawn to him in some ways, because he sat out there as if he was one, blended in with the crowd, yet he stood out in such stark contrast in the way he dressed and obvious appearance in the lack of personal hygiene.

Did I walk to him and ask his permission if I could take a photograph of him? No, I did not. Did I just steal a shot of him and run away? No. Why not hip shot? Too impersonal, and I wanted to establish a connection between the photographer and the subject.

So I stopped my walk, and turned my body to face him directly, standing about 6-7 feet away from him. He did not appear threatened or agitated. So I looked into his eyes, assuringly giving him the unspoken message that I am not an enemy and I meant no harm. Then I gestured my camera, and nodded my head as a sign of getting his consent, from that distance. He nodded back, to my astonishment. There onwards, the shutter just fired away.



These portrait shots are nothing extraordinary, not award-winning material, but I love them to bits. That eye contact of the man was extremely important, to create the sense of connection. I acknowledge that most street photographs work best in their natural, undisturbed state. However, sometimes, moving in to stir the look in the eyes to emphasize, and amplify the intimacy and closeness of the subject can make the image even more compelling, and haunting in the same way. Sometimes, the story all lies in the eyes.

18 comments:

  1. OMGGG panic... hey wait... you have nine lives.
    *whistles.

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  2. Is he digging his ears, I like the tones. Just for your info, I got myself an E-5 today. Thanks for being such a steadfast champion of Olympus!

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  3. Thanks Peter !!
    Yes he was digging his ears. Not the best pose, but it was partly natural.
    Congratulations on getting the E-5 !! I am sure you will be making great images with it.

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  4. Thanks Chong and Yeow !!!

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  5. Nice portrait. Very daring! I tried street photography & I fear shooting people on street.

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  6. best blog post ever! for a person who knows nothing about photography except looking at photos, this blog post digs deep with only a few words to reveal to the untrained the connection that a photographer and his camera have with his subjects!

    -Marcus

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  7. Marcus,
    You are being too kind ! Thanks

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  8. Great shot, deep.

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  9. hello Colin !!
    How is your new camera?

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  10. Wow... KL version cylei-go... looks cool & handsome thru ur lens... LOL

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  11. Its a good camera. Having fun with it. Take personal photos mostly. Really enjoyed it.

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  12. Hi Colin
    I am glad you enjoy your camera !!

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  13. i love this photo too. very nice!!

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