Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Photographing at the Rescue Mission

       I often find myself becoming uncomfortable when I photograph people in homeless shelters.  In the same way I become uncomfortable when I photograph people dealing with other hardships, such as being injured.  I think the reason I become uncomfortable is I think people wish to be known for traditionally good things.
    Winning, wealth, success, and happiness are the things I imagine people wish to be known for.  But the truth is those things can be very boring, they look more like commercials than reality.  When I see people enjoying themselves in commercials I am not deceived.  I know that drinking beer does not make life more fun or exciting, and a new vacuum cleaner is not going to change my life.  So when I see good news I am not curious about it, at the very best I give it a cursory glance and forget about it.  But when I see something outside of my normal life.  Outside of my normal advertising saturated life.  I am curious and I want to know more about it.
   For me the top photograph is good because although the man in the photograph has suffered from some major setbacks in life he has a thoughtfulness that gives him nobility regardless of his situation in life.  My theory is that the best stories are like my favorite movie, "Gladiator," with a strong protagonist, who finds themselves in a difficult situation and must struggle to overcome adversity.  I think this photograph shows a man in a difficult situation who is struggling to overcome it.

--Darren Breen

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