Black And White Photography, Joseph, Photography


Β Fujifilm X20 – 1/220 @ f/2.8 – 28mm – ISO 100

New York City – 34th Street and 6th Avenue – January 2014

More of my images can be seen at – The Visual Chronicle

37 thoughts on “Homeless

  1. Joe, I’ve read with interest all the comments that have come before mine and there really isn’t anything different that I can add. I, too, feel sadness for this man’s plight and am thankful that you reached out to him with a helping hand. It’s all to easy to cross the street or look the other way – but images like these continue to promote awareness of the heartbreaking plight of so very many.


  2. Joe, I am very impressed with this photo and with the measured and cool responses you have given to every one. It would be so easy to get up on a soapbox over the issue of homeless and shout and rage against the inequality. I don’t think this current generation has created the problem, but the split between those who have and those who have not is of such great divide that there seems to be much more despair and hopelessness etched into the faces of the homeless now. I think our job, as photographers, is to chronicle the age we live in. Whether as professional or amateur photographer, even if taking photos of family and friends, that is what we do.


    1. Thank you very much Emilio. I don’t think the current generation has created this problem either and I agree that the difference between the haves and the have nots is greater than ever. Then again the disparity in salaries between workers and CEO’s is at an all time high. I think some people are so consumed with accumulating things and how big a house they live in that they lose sight of what is really important, health and community. I agree with your comment that we as photographers should chronicle life whether pleasant or unpleasant. Have a great evening Emilio πŸ™‚


  3. HI Joe , 1st off let me say this is a fabulous photo, there is an enormous amount emotion I feel when I see this. It serves as a big reminder to all of us commenting that we are very fortunate compared to many such as this gentleman . If we can all find a few dollars to help the homeless that is the least we can do but of course as a society and the wealth generated it’s staggering to think being homeless is even a possibility. I personally do not see an issue with this type of photography as it serves as a reminder to all of us that we need to do more and do our part to help in what ever way within our means we can.


    1. Thank you very much for you kind and thoughtful comment Mark. I am also of the opinion that photos like this need to be shown to remind people that this is still a real problem that faces society. I also agree with you that it it is a reminder to all of us how fortunate we are compared to this gentleman. Having said that I am also a believer in listening to and respecting other point of views. Any sort of talk whether agreement or non agreement opens a dialog which is more than I can say for our elected officials πŸ™‚ Have a great evening.


  4. A thoughtful and thought provoking shot Joe. Personally, I have lost track of the number of homeless people I have shot – most of whom have either stopped me on the streets and asked to have their photos taken or have been happy enough for me to take their photos during the course of long conversations, sometimes I don’t take photos. Most of the time it’s just good to talk.


    1. Thank you Patti, I imagine being in Manhattan as much as you are this is very common. I agree sometimes talking is good πŸ™‚ Have a great weekend.


    1. Thank you very much Laurie πŸ™‚ I think one of the problems today is the inability of people to talk and come to a compromise and solution. People are so polarized in their beliefs that talking or the art of compromise is not an option anymore (as evidenced by what’s going on in Washington DC). I have to tell you I’m still thinking about those tapas πŸ™‚


  5. Gosh Joe – how do you do that? Your capture of the unknown man is heart-wrenching. Every crease and line on his face echoed in the creases and lines of his clothing – the image so perfectly conveying loss of hope that it brings tears to my eyes.

    Re the moral question of photographing these people – I assume you have their permission to do so and to publish [here if you didn’t you might be in big trouble!] I feel that the shocking awakening of compassion that must occur in the viewer carries such a strong social impact that good MUST come from seeing these images. I always think of Bob Geldof accidentally watching a documentary featuring starving children in Africa and the enormous world-wide movement that arose as a result of that. Your photo makes me view people in a new light and I am grateful for your expertise, artistry and compassion!


    1. First of all thank you very much for your heartfelt comment Pauline πŸ™‚ It is depressing to see homeless people but reality sometimes is cruel. In the USA if someone is in a public place you do not need permission to take their photo (the papparazzi prove that every day with the rich and famous). Where you will get yourself in trouble is if you publish a photo of someone for profit without the persons permission or a signed release. Obviously I am not making any money on this blog because that was not the objective so it is perfectly legal to publish. If I had sold it to a magazine I could have been in trouble.

      I am glad this photo stirred so many comments and feelings. That was exactly the idea behind taking it.

      Speaking for myself I think this greed is good society we live in created or exacerbated this problem of homeless people. People should take care of each other rather than consume their lives with who can accumulate more useless crap. Have a great day Pauline.


  6. I remember this photo from your blog Joe, it is a powerful image that makes you stop and think. No-one should be homeless and cut out of the society due to situations that were beyond their control. It’s really sad that it happens.


    1. Thank you Elina πŸ™‚ I knew you would remember this image. I agree with every word you said in your comment. Have a wonderful evening and I hope the birthday boy is stuffed full of cake, LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you, Joe. I’m sure we understand each other and I’m glad that the gentleman was able to perhaps have the opportunity of consuming something more substantial than a cigarette. And I appreciate your candour. Images such as this one will always raise questions and emotions – most poignantly for me, the realisation that we really are the fortunate ones.

    Thanks for your candid and honest reply, Joe.
    Best regards,


  8. For the record: english is neither my mother nor father language. so excuse me in advance should it feel somehow strange to read it.
    I was homeless for some weeks when I was 19. I never ever would have allowed anyone to make a photo of my misery. but the point is: if someone decided to do it without asking me, I never would have recognized it. I feel like you/me/we should really start to ask before ‘banning’ something lifely for eternity and passing it around. but, in our culture. we are porn. and we are used to it. so my only way with dealing with photos of people in misery, can be homlessness, can be illness, can be war. poorness… my way is when feeling this scrathy bite in my heart that this is too close, too intimate, I’m donating. that’s the work of this great and heartful pic: helping people to get back in touch with their heart, charity and compession and share it with others who need it. so, many thanks for your help β™₯


    1. You made your point perfectly Amobi and I thank you for commenting. Sometimes the whole point of a photograph is to open a dialog or discussion on a subject that a lot of people would rather just sweep under the rug. Discussion and dialog is the solution to problems and if I can post a photo that brings out the emotions of people that starts them talking about an unpleasant subject, I’m glad to help. Have a wonderful evening πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  9. First let me say that I in no way object to any of your comments and everyone is entitled to an opinion. I do agree with your thoughts on photographing less fortunate people with expensive camera equipment, you can’t help to feel anything but shame that these individuals are so much less fortunate than you. I did put a few dollars in his hand which was the correct thing to do because even though I am not wealthy I do believe in helping out less fortunate people even when I am not with a camera. There is a very big difference between beggars and homeless people to me. Beggars are just scammers that don’t use computers they try to fool you into believing some sad story but are fully capable of getting a regular job. Homeless people are by my definition victims of corporate downsizing and cannot find a job or perhaps had a medical situation where they lost everything because they had no health insurance (situations beyond their control). Lastly thank you for your comments on the image and have a great evening Rob πŸ™‚


  10. Hi Joe. Firstly, this is an excellent capture. But I wonder if it raises a moral issue when it comes to photographing some people when we intend to publish? When I wander around Glasgow with my (obviously expensive to those who can’t afford such luxuries) camera equipment, I often feel more than a hint of pity, maybe even shame (at myself) that I can afford to buy a camera that would enable me to capture a photograph not dissimilar to this one. Not long ago, I passed such a person on Glasgow Bridge and ended up not taking their picture simply because I had no cash on me, which I would put in their hand. Obviously, there is a huge chasm between the truly homeless and ‘beggers’ – I myself have found myself homeless in my younger years and do know what it feels to have absolutely nothing. I hope you put a couple of dollars in his hand for the shot. I’m sure there are publications who would publish images such as this in an attempt to highlight an issue, but I would like to think they would also do something to help those whom they would wish to benefit from. I’d be interested to know what others think? On a different note, superb mono from the X20, Joe and I hope you don’t object to my comments. Best regards, Rob.

    Liked by 1 person

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