Saturday, September 3, 2011

Photographing Poor People

I have so many objections to street photography depicting the homeless that I felt the need to get them all down. Some are personal, some are political. I'd love to hear from you if any of my reasons resonate with you.

1. Unattractive: We usually avoiding looking at the homeless outdoors. Why make it hard for us indoors?

2. Elitist: By documenting the "otherness" of your homeless subject, you inherently separate yourself from his milieu and cannot avoid condescension.

3. Not sympathetic: Well, how would you like being photographed at your worst?

4. Not brave: Not when compared to asking a beautiful stranger if you can photographer her as she shops.

5. Trendy and facile: The excesses of an era are easy to document. Got anything else?

6. Self-serving: Always meant to indicate an eye for depth or pathos, they bring about such reactions only in the artistically naive.