The majority of tips I’ve read about street photography have generally revolved around overcoming your fear of photographing complete strangers and whether you should do it with or without the subject’s awareness. All great advice but as I marched down the streets of Bushwick today, none of that advice really came to mind. Instead, the matter of respect seemed to be more of a thought.
With this photograph, I could have very easily walked in front of the older gentleman, taken a devaluing shot like this and kept it moving. I’m unaware of whether he was homeless or not but from the angle in which the aforementioned photograph was taken, I could have given the impression that he was because of how I chose to present him.
One of our jobs as photographers is to explore and find different angles in which we can best represent what captivated us to something in the first place, especially if it pertains to a person. I like to think we should treat them with as much photographic reverence as possible. To do anything less would be disrespectful. For this photograph, I felt the only way in which I could illustrated that I wasn’t looking down upon him despite his demeanor was to kneel down as far as possible.
With candid shots like this, one way of being unobtrusive is stay at a specific spot long enough so that people stop paying attention to you. I sat for 15 minutes at an apartment building entrance until he eventually stopped looking my way and continue his activity of people watching.