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.