I met this bum well over a month ago, more like two month. I said hello and he didn’t say anything. He seemed friendly and I felt sorry for him instantly. With his appearance, hunchback and his nice old man look I thought he would be a good person to photograph. I thought it would be appropriate for me to give him a couple of bucks to help him at least past the night. But then I got closer. He repealed back. Then I got closer again and then he said you get that camera away from me. I didn’t even have it pointed up or anything to him. He then mentioned something about Vietnam and how the camera took his soul and shit. I couldn’t laugh, I felt a slight jump in my heart because this old man instantly turned into somebody who was ready to fight whenever I stepped over his boundaries. He then instantly pissed me off. I went along with my night and started taking photographs of what caught my eye in the first place.
I didn’t even think of his concerns. I was just focused about getting the shot. I thought of him not as a person, but more as a subject. I knew that it was wrong, only until I felt my well being was being violated. But regardless, I still managed to get the okay photograph at the top of the page of him and a couple more that I still have on my computer.
I had a feeling how people felt about being photograph, especially without their permission. I just didn’t think it was a big deal. I should have known and been better about being mindful of the other persons needs and wants. I should have not felt sorry for the guy because he was on the streets. I knew better and now I’m at a stage where I just need to treat people better. And if they don’t want to be photograph I should just respect their wishes.
However, looking at this photograph in black and white sets a mood that brings the viewer in more. They wonder about the man. They don’t see his face, but the rest of his appearance is spelled out. Then wonders what he is going to buy in the Family Dollar. And perhaps the feeling of the sorry of him kicks in. The scene instantly becomes dark and one begins to wonder what it is that this man is about.
I’m Still Glad I Took His Soul
I know how wrong it was to take a photograph of this homeless guy. But glad that I did take it. Sometimes the pictures that move us the most are the ones that we aren’t suppose to take. What I’m realizing now, and through just recent events, the camera is a powerful tool to capture the happiness of life and the crappiness and confusion of the world. The only thing I’ll give to this bum that I didn’t give before is at least a couple of bucks. I don’t even think he would have taken it. That just wouldn’t be his style. Probably if after I left he would have. Whatever, it is done and I just need to stop talking about this person.
What Would I Do Next Time
I still do want to do a series of photographs and interviews of homeless people around the Houston area. I know that I will get some amazing photographs and stories from these people. But, the right to entry is important in all of this. How can I get these people to trust me instantly? Well, money will help, but as I stated earlier and how I tried to talk to homeless people in the past, they are just not the people who feel obligated to engage in a conversation about them. I know I’m just generalizing and that I shouldn’t do that. I know that I should have more compassion, because the simple fact of the matter is that these people are living lives that are at the bottom of the United States poverty level. The question and answers that I hope to get from them would be how do they live without and be okay with only having what they need.
The next time this does occur, I’m not going to just snap away. I’m going to ask, then proceed accordingly.