Street portraits and street photography – The homeless

In my previous post I mentioned not wanting to photograph people who are at a low point and being careful with photographing the homeless.  Here are some examples where I endeavored to show that even though they were out on the streets, they were still people and not to be made fun of.

Yes, many homeless people have substance or mental problems but there are just as many who just ran out of luck or where in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I didn’t ask any of these men why they were living as they were.  It may have been an eye opener to do so but I chose to just say hello, ask for a photo, chat with them a bit and give them a few dollars.

This is Robert Henry.  He was quite the sit down comedian.  He was shouting out to all the ladies (nothing rude though) and being such a flirt.  He got my attention with “Hey there Lena Horne!”  We spoke and laughed for awhile..  When I asked to take his photo he assumed I wanted him to look like this; I suppose that may have been the way others have approached him or even thought he should look like.

But I asked him to be himself and that’s when I got this.  I should’ve known he’d be a cut up.

A fellow photographer friend of mine invited me to be his second shooter for a small fashion show.  We left together to try and do some street photos afterwards when we came upon this quiet man sitting in a doorway.  I don’t recall much about him other than he was the most sweet, polite and humble soul.

I should find out about this but these two men as well as many others I’ve seen in downtown Columbus must live in a group home, shelter, or whatever because they were wearing lanyards and selling some kind of newspaper.  I’ve run into many of them downtown but never the same ones.

I met Ron here on one of my first attempts at street photography/portraits in 2013.  He was sitting outside of Copley Square in Boston with what was probably all that he owned in a shopping cart.  There was something about him that drew me to him.  His signs say that he doesn’t drink or do drugs and that injuries to his back and shoulder keep him from working and that he was waiting for disability to be approved.

Homelessness is something that people “usually” don’t aspire to become and while no one who is trying to go about their day wants to walk past someone asleep on the sidewalk, or have their dinner interrupted by a very disheveled man coming into the restaurant begging for food (that actually happened to us once) or be confronted by someone begging for change, it is a sad problem.  I have no answers for it but maybe someone somewhere does or will and I hope that the lives of these men have improved to where they are no longer on the street.

Teri 📷



About imagesbytdashfield

Fine art photographer who loves to see and capture the amazing things in this world. Owner of Images by TDashfield photography.
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10 Responses to Street portraits and street photography – The homeless

  1. Timothy Price says:

    Happy looking guys you got there,

  2. Sandhya says:

    I like how respectfully you have done this post and the photographs. I also like to ask people before I photograph them. I like how you also chatted with them and we get to see them as a person, not just a photo. Well done!

  3. equinoxio21 says:

    Compliments on your photos. The homeless are a curse of our civilization. Or maybe I should say a sad by-product? They lead very difficult lives, some have sever mental disorders… Your pix tell a story about those people. Thanks for them

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Sadly the homeless are a sad by product of civilization and many do have mental and substance problems. I feel for those but will not approach them. You kinda get a feel in street photography for who you can and can’t approach but common sense and safety should always be paramount!

      • equinoxio21 says:

        Yes, better safe than sorry. I was very shocked in San Francisco a few years ago at the huge quantities of homeless in the streets. Most were in a very bad shape…

  4. yuri rasin says:

    Very nice portraits. It is about individuals, as you said you need to be a good people reader too.

  5. Elina Gomez says:

    Thank you. I personally like to capture street photography.

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