106th St and Amsterdam Avenue, New York

Another sad situation and ethical dilemma for street photography. Passing this woman I thought a portrait would be nice so I stopped and went back to ask her if I could take her picture. She wanted money for food. I gave her my singles and asked her again if I could take her picture. As you can see she sort of posed for me and I showed her the image on my camera screen and she said she liked it (without much enthusiasm). I left not feeling great about the transaction and I’m sure it can’t have been great for her either, though I do like the picture. Obviously I can’t solve hunger and poverty on my own, taking pictures, and it’s not exactly like I’m profiting from this picture but it does feel slightly like that. We both got what we wanted but I walk on in my relatively comfortable life and she’s very temporarily a few dollars farther from hunger.

Here’s a link to Feeding America on Charity Navigator.

Published by

Adam Isler


4 thoughts on “Portrait”

  1. It is a very difficult issue whether to photograph or not. Sadly, homelessness is without doubt a tragic part and failure of our society and should not pass unrecorded, but on an individual basis taking photographs does feel like a kind of exploitation although it shouldn’t as you photograph everybody else on a street. As you say it’s an ethical dilemma.

    Liked by 1 person

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