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Sad And Lonely?

By AlanBW
My sincere thanks for all the comments and votes on my previous upload – especially to Trish (MRSbiscuit60) for the User Award.

Back to the more familiar type of image for me this time, although the extremely encouraging comments about stepping out of my comfort zone may tempt me to do so again in the future.

I espied this fascinating individual in Bangkok on one of our afternoon walks from Prachan through to Tha Tien; it was searingly hot and we had resolved to head for some welcome liquid refreshment and a rest at a favoured watering-hole near Wat Po called the Rub-a-Roon Cafe Bar.

Unkempt and ill-clad, shoeless and unwashed, this unfortunate character was slumped against the base of a tree near the corner of Tha Chang, quite close to the Grand Palace. Two or three plastic bags were by his side, which I assumed were all his worldly goods. He did not proffer a begging bowl as many do in this city; he did not even attempt to attract attention from passers-by. For much of the time he just sat motionless, in a forlorn world of his own, staring sadly into space. Occasionally he took notice of what was going on around him, his eyes flitting around as people went about their business, but not once did I notice him utter a sound or raise his arms to engage anyone’s attention. People walked by as if he didn't exist.

I moved to a vantage point about forty feet away, crouched as if adjusting my shoelaces, primed the camera for action, tilted the viewfinder and waited for the right opportunity. For what seemed an eternity my target was staring into space but facing away, but eventually he turned his head and I was able to squeeze off the shot between a gap in the thronging mass that was wandering up and down looking at the wares of the amulet sellers and other street vendors.

I have uploaded three versions of the same image - colour, sepia and mono. It will be interesting to see which you prefer.

The gentle amble from Prachan to Tha Tien was something that we did several times on other occasions during that visit to Bangkok but despite looking hard I did not see him again. Every time I look at this image I wonder what his story was – how did he come to be in such a situation, what was his background, what events had shaped his life, was there any hope on the horizon? For me it is a very sad image and a sobering reminder - there but for the grace of God ---------------------

Tags: Portrait Travel General Man Bangkok Candid Thailand Close-up and macro Portraits and people

Voters: barbarahirst, mrswoolybill, bliba and 151 more

Readers' Choice Awards are given to photos that get over 30 votes

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barbarahirst 12 27 12 United Kingdom
24 Nov 2008 3:30PM
His eyes show knowledge to me
I dont feel he looks sad
bliba Plus
15 2 Austria
24 Nov 2008 3:34PM
a great V3 best!!!

cheers 4 sharung

mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.7k 2395 United Kingdom
24 Nov 2008 3:35PM
V3 for me, Alan.
Richsr 14 91 223 England
24 Nov 2008 3:39PM
Like version 3 the best Alan - well processed.
Regards Richard
glyndwr 13 87 10 Wales
24 Nov 2008 3:52PM
This is a good portrait Alan, the angle of pose by head and shoulders suggest interest in something but those eyes look as though they trust nobody.
gary_d 13 576 13 Wales
24 Nov 2008 4:11PM
Prefer V2. - gary
JudeC 14 6 3 England
24 Nov 2008 4:13PM
Great shot - v1 for me - Jude.
bricurtis Plus
15 2.4k 51 England
24 Nov 2008 4:21PM
I like the look he has and obviously it is related to his lifestyle.
Quite a crop on this I would imagine Alan from your write up - strong noise is very prominent on his skin in all versions which is a shame.
Silverzone 13 2 England
24 Nov 2008 4:32PM
Great expression, view 1 for me. Sylvia
pamelajean Plus
15 1.5k 2211 United Kingdom
24 Nov 2008 5:46PM
Not too sad an expression, it could be that he is happy with his lot, a very expressive face, though, one that may be deceiving, those eyes indicate wisdom to me.
24 Nov 2008 6:07PM
A photo which raises lots of questions. A verry good portrait of this man but also of people who are left on the side of society. JNC
24 Nov 2008 6:14PM
You've captured great feeling in this Alan, with so little "worldly goods" it makes you appreciate how well off we are, emotive journalism, well done, Adrian
Stace Plus
12 2 2 England
24 Nov 2008 6:20PM
Powerful portrait, very well captured and described, v1 for me

RockArea 14 18 3 United Kingdom
24 Nov 2008 6:31PM
An excellent portrait. His eyes (and your description) give me the impression of someone who is troubled, perhaps haunted by disturbing thoughts. Another very evocative image, Alan.

dawnmichelle 13 12 United States
24 Nov 2008 6:33PM
Hard to pick a fav.. but if I have to pick it would be V1.. you did a excellent job with his portrait.
photophantom 13 108 3 Philippines
24 Nov 2008 6:33PM
All versions fitted on this kind of portrait Alan. His eyes don't trust anyone. Excellent shot.
Ray42 13 3 England
24 Nov 2008 6:34PM
An excellent portrait - I much prefer v1 - he certainly looks far away and down on his luck
24 Nov 2008 6:53PM
An excellent series of images I like v1.
24 Nov 2008 6:57PM
Hi Alan, your portraits are brilliant...I spend lot of time looking them...Thanks..
pascalg Plus
13 37 1 France
24 Nov 2008 6:58PM
1 & 2 for me Smile
susanbarton 13 11 1 United Kingdom
24 Nov 2008 7:09PM
you certainly find some interesting faces on your travels, I like the full colour version best even though he looks sad he has a warm glow

24 Nov 2008 7:25PM
I appreciate your insight into the subject...I like the color version best. Nice study!
danbrann 16 640 17
24 Nov 2008 7:33PM
I prefer the Sepia version Alan. It almost looks as if it could be colour of his skin.All however portray a superb portrait.
ugly Plus
13 9 57 United Kingdom
24 Nov 2008 7:46PM
Here the vote that counts for R.C.
Very nice work..
V1 is the one I like best...

Buffalo_Tom Plus
14 2.3k 16 Wales
24 Nov 2008 7:49PM
Sad indeed Alan but a fine subject for photography.The colour image is my preference.
Rock 18 10 2 England
24 Nov 2008 7:54PM
Brilliant work.

koka 12 United Kingdom
24 Nov 2008 8:00PM
very sad and lost eyes but he has the wisdom of the tree in the background of this shot reflected in his skin, hair and shirt... all is not lost...a brillaint shot...katie
iancam 12 23 England
24 Nov 2008 8:02PM
Super images I like V1
piccy 14 8 Wales
24 Nov 2008 8:11PM
Guess we all have different paths to lead, some seeming attractive and others not so attractive.
Gaz_H 14 150 1 United Kingdom
24 Nov 2008 8:12PM
Brilliant portrait Alan.
Ayelet_A 12 11 3 Israel
24 Nov 2008 8:28PM
Another fascinating story, even if mysterious.
Beautiful capture, I like V1 best, I feel that in a true story the real colours of life are the most fitting.

24 Nov 2008 8:34PM
like all 3
GalleryGirl 13 4 2 United Kingdom
24 Nov 2008 8:40PM
Love the colour version. The tones and detail are super.
Marilyn x
jaktis Plus
17 84 Sweden
24 Nov 2008 8:51PM
He looks tired and I prefer #1

lostintime Plus
13 13 6 Germany
24 Nov 2008 9:01PM
An excellent character study, for me this works best in colour.
harrattp 14 11 4 England
24 Nov 2008 9:34PM
The face on V2 shows great texture and speaks volumes on a life lived.

Bodiewil 13 46 Wales
24 Nov 2008 9:52PM
Great character and love the treatment on all three
Rende 14 38 4 Netherlands
24 Nov 2008 9:57PM
Excellent, poignant portrait Alan; I prefer the colour version.
Joline Plus
14 34 59 United States
24 Nov 2008 10:06PM
The fact you get such intimate images from such a distance is amazing in itself.
This had tons of emotion in it.
imagio 14 12 1 England
24 Nov 2008 10:17PM
Excellent study Alan, no 3 for me..

MRSbiscuit60 13 224 United Kingdom
24 Nov 2008 10:22PM
I like the sepia best. Trish
derekv 13 3 England
24 Nov 2008 10:48PM
Cracking candid portrait, Alan, wonderful detail. No. 1 for me.
oll1e 13 57 2 United Kingdom
24 Nov 2008 11:07PM
There for the grace of....very well put Alan ,makes you think doesn't it .Thats the art of photography as well with images like this ,well to me anyway .
i like 2and 3 ,but i feel more pulled by 3
superb my friend
24 Nov 2008 11:36PM
excellent portrait. so much character in his face and you captured it well
MandsH 14 England
24 Nov 2008 11:38PM
Captured extremelly well, like the sepia version
sparrowhawk Plus
12 282 2 United Kingdom
25 Nov 2008 7:09AM
really great shot !!facefull of character
fentiger 19 920 24 England
25 Nov 2008 8:07AM
Super character study Alan whilst all three variations are good the colour version shades it for me.

ShedMan 15 3 2 South Africa
25 Nov 2008 8:51AM
I like all three versions. V3, the mono one, I thought could maybe have been a little darker and more contrasty to give it a more moody sort of look, but that's just personal preference.

DebbieBMP 12 33 1 United Kingdom
25 Nov 2008 9:04AM
Brilliant I have been looking out for your next upload. This is a wonderful sensitive portrait full of feeling - Debbie
RTDS 12 Cyprus
25 Nov 2008 11:11AM
Excellent portrait.
Awsome tones and details.
V3 for me...awsome.
videotec 12 8 United Kingdom
25 Nov 2008 12:16PM
Three marvelous shots Alan -Great write-up..
V 1 has the edge IMO
Mavis 19 143 2 England
25 Nov 2008 1:21PM
Version 1 will do for me Alan . A superb candid portrait of an old , tired man xx
TelStar 16 116 United Kingdom
25 Nov 2008 3:58PM
Another sensitively photographed, intimate portrait; I have a slight preference for V2 but like them all.

SandraKay Plus
13 233 4 United Kingdom
25 Nov 2008 5:28PM
You did brilliantly to capture a candid as good this in such difficult circumstances.
Makes you think though. I wonder what has happened in his life to lead to this.
phototime 14 8 United Kingdom
25 Nov 2008 6:29PM
Fantastic shots Alan,version 1 is excellent and well taken

nickyv32 Plus
13 135 England
25 Nov 2008 7:32PM
Version 1 for me, he looks very thoughtful, not sure about "sad", great shot

bunbeam 15 2 United Kingdom
25 Nov 2008 8:00PM
wonderful shot, I think v3 is my favourite
Glostopcat 15 255 2 England
25 Nov 2008 8:44PM
An excellent character study Alan, version 2 the sepia version is my preference
SueTurner 16 81 3 England
25 Nov 2008 8:44PM
LIKIE V3 - the black n white one myself
nice one
Mike_Smith Plus
13 744 1 United Kingdom
25 Nov 2008 9:21PM
version 1 i like great portrait
CaroleA 14 5 3 England
25 Nov 2008 9:24PM
Another great character study: such a story behind the image no doubt. Wistful? Sad? Not sure, but well caught!
John_Humphreys 15 69 2 Ireland
25 Nov 2008 9:42PM
A sad picture and story. V1 or V3. The sepia does not have the same impact for me but I can't quite say why.
DP_Imagery 16 24 6 Wales
25 Nov 2008 10:47PM
Terrific character/emotive portrait - like the colour best followed by the sepia.

steve_r 13 England
25 Nov 2008 11:05PM
GOOD SHOT. Great capture of this character, like all three versions in the order in which you have presented them, well done.
Regards Steve.
JimV 14 6 3 Canada
26 Nov 2008 5:36AM

Quote:Another fascinating story, even if mysterious.
Beautiful capture, I like V1 best, I feel that in a true story the real colours of life are the most fitting.


Not exactly what I had intended to say, but conveys the same meaning Alan, well done!
Rgds., Jim
A good shot in the sense you have caught this mans life and what he is feeling, but I feel so sad for people who have to live likethis, but this doesnt take anything away from the excellent capture you have taken. Well Done.
biscuit61 12 16 United Kingdom
26 Nov 2008 9:53AM
V2 for me.
ginz04 17 281 20 United Kingdom
26 Nov 2008 11:16AM
Alan another fabulous portrait you are certainly making this your niche.

panda 16 5 1 England
26 Nov 2008 11:59AM
Great character Alan, well captured.

Regards Phil
sunshot 16 24 United Kingdom
26 Nov 2008 12:13PM

Quote:Powerful portrait, very well captured and described, v1 for me


stace is right alan, this is a very powerful portrait indeed, well captured.....marc
cassiecat 12 39 46 England
26 Nov 2008 12:24PM
v3 for me.lesley
Artois 14 405 1 United Kingdom
26 Nov 2008 1:01PM
v2 works best for me. The BW is a tad flat. An excellent capture of the expression in the face.
26 Nov 2008 2:20PM
he is not sad and lonely,i think man is tired,v1 for me,exellent ptr
FeatherFriend 13 38 217 England
26 Nov 2008 4:26PM
A 1st class shot Alan, all 3 superb but #1 for me.
26 Nov 2008 6:02PM
The face says the title of this one Al'. A brilliant capture of an empty life. I can only say, 'there but for fortune'.
Well done.

John Smile
Caledonia 14 2 Scotland
26 Nov 2008 6:51PM
His eyes spell out total disinterest. Great angle and capture of this sad human being.
norton 17 2 6 Jersey
26 Nov 2008 7:00PM
He really is a sad looking character and you've captured this superbly Alan.
Great image..................

myrab 14 United Kingdom
26 Nov 2008 9:23PM
What a sad picture, but truley wonderful,

tuhin 14
27 Nov 2008 1:16AM
GlenD 14 United States
27 Nov 2008 6:29AM
Always a great story to go with you great images Alan, I was sitting in Logan airport in Boston waiting on a delayed flight and across from me was a pretty buff guy, shaved head sitting doing his knitting! I wanted to get my camera out so bad but didn't have the nerve lol
Grifoto 12 United Kingdom
27 Nov 2008 2:01PM
Wonderful image, well documented

cheesey 14 2 United Kingdom
27 Nov 2008 2:06PM
Great shots, nicely captured.
cjl47 13 5 3 England
27 Nov 2008 4:05PM
Three nice versions of a fantastic portrait.
27 Nov 2008 4:32PM
The face tells the story, no explanation necessary, its a fine shot
kanu 13 India
27 Nov 2008 5:03PM
very expressive shot, liked V1 more.
BERTRAM 13 United Kingdom
27 Nov 2008 5:47PM
V2 for me.
foggytwo 17 36 1 Scotland
27 Nov 2008 8:06PM
Fantastic expression Alan with number two getting my vote.
Pegon 15 78 1 England
27 Nov 2008 9:31PM
A superb portrait Alan. I can't really choose one over the other, all three versions look great.
Frase 13 Scotland
27 Nov 2008 9:49PM
Brilliant image . just prefer v1.
beriah 15 1 Canada
28 Nov 2008 3:33AM
I especially like this in colour as the highlights of his skin seem emphasized giving his expression more depth. His eyes are sooo tired and the redness in them shows his sadness. Such an excellent image!
Mikelane 13 1 Wales
28 Nov 2008 10:03AM
Excellent work all,but my fav is V2,excellent work regards
mrsvee 12 1 England
28 Nov 2008 12:17PM
Superb image.
Great colour & detail.
Portknockie 16 48 Scotland
28 Nov 2008 1:08PM
He dont look very happy ..But then reading your blog..I dont think I would be...

Great face and a superb shot..

franfoto 13 2 32 England
28 Nov 2008 4:18PM
A sad story of this poor man and it's etched into his face.
This is another of your excellent character shots, I quite like the toned one but #1 just has the edge.
Mynett 12 142 6 United Kingdom
28 Nov 2008 8:41PM
How sad, we are so lucky to have so much it humbles me to think I can feel so sad over a computer fault, I must think more of people worse off so Smile have a good weekend
29 Nov 2008 10:38AM
Very good but sad portrait.
WillieH 15 2 Scotland
29 Nov 2008 10:42AM
Love the Mono version of this image, for me it just captures the mood of the situation. Well spotted Alan another fine shot.

Kind Regards Willie
Misteree 14 2 Australia
29 Nov 2008 10:46AM
Fantastic portrait. Full of character.
BigK 15 8
29 Nov 2008 11:38AM
V3 works very nicely.
Hi haven't been here for a while, nice to see I can still travel the world through your camera.

sergedlm 12 9 United Kingdom
29 Nov 2008 12:42PM
you have some of the best portraits I've seen on here
oppo 15 6 2 Scotland
29 Nov 2008 5:46PM
From his expression it looks as if he has given up on everything ! Fine street photography Alan. Now to choose... That's a hard one ! Perhaps the colour version has the edge for me.

29 Nov 2008 6:08PM
Great All your Portrait work & Thanks for comment.
Kishan meena
helenlinda Plus
13 374 22 United Kingdom
29 Nov 2008 7:45PM
A fascinating fella.
microchip 13 1 United Kingdom
29 Nov 2008 7:48PM
A wonderful candid portrait with super detail you have captured a
rather haunting expression on this sad gentleman,
paul_indigo 17 259 United Kingdom
29 Nov 2008 9:43PM
I like version two the most. Interesting portrait.
Tigress 13 Scotland
30 Nov 2008 9:30AM
Nice piece of writing- I like hearing about how you took the photo and your thoughts behind it. I like the sepia version best .
Best of all, I like your empathy towards your subjects.
Have a good day
30 Nov 2008 12:05PM
This is a wonderful image - Thanks for your great comments on my silouhette upload today. Bruce
30 Nov 2008 1:09PM
Brilliant trio.
A Booth 18 11 4 United Kingdom
30 Nov 2008 3:08PM
excellent masculine portrait, I find the colours in v1 most striking.
Brilane 14 5 12 Wales
30 Nov 2008 5:47PM
All good, Alan, I can't decide between the colour or the sepia vers. as my preference.
taggart Plus
16 47 14 United States
30 Nov 2008 9:02PM
Difficult choice for me, the monos , both, seem to emphasize his situation-- A great character shot!
thorn 16 124 2 Scotland
7 Dec 2008 11:50AM
Hi Alan,
v2 for me as i like the toning,it could be his skin colour as has been said and for me i agree with PJ,i think he is a great character,expressive and his eyes belie wisdom.Excellent capture.take care,AnnSmile
goodone 12 1 United Kingdom
7 Dec 2008 5:21PM
I think he is preoccupied. Great shot!
brownsilent 14 7 2 United Kingdom
13 Dec 2008 10:34PM
I've always loved your portrait shots Alan, this is one of the best ever!
27 Dec 2008 1:07AM
Great shot Alan and I feel you have named this appropriately.


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