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Shelter Home

By iancrowson  
Southsea Sea Front this last cold spring. She was around for a few weeks before moving on. At this stage she was chatty and happy to be photographed, later became drunk and did a lot of shouting.

Here is another one shot on HP5 400 ISO film with a Leica M6 Rangefinder 35mm film camera with Summicron F2 50mm lens
How does it look? It was a dull and cold day. Exposure on 400 ISO film about f4 1/125th second. (??)
Advice and comments on all aspects would be welcome.
This was snapped for my ongoing series on people and Southsea Shelters. Does this have interest?

Scanned with Epson scanner. Treated to contrast adjustment in PS and Neat Image software for noise/grain reduction.

Here is a bit more info for those interested.
The Leica M6 TTL Rangefinder 35mm camera meters exposure though the lens an area of about 10/15% of the central of the frame. Correct exposure is acquired setting the shutter speed or aperture when correct exposure is indicated in the viewfinder. So in most cases it's a matter of metering the important subject area, setting the exposure and shooting.
It's a range finder camera which mean focus is achieved by merging two dots positioned over the area required to be sharpest. Once focus is made using the focus ring on the lens it is held whilst the exposure is made. Idea should your main subject to be one side of the frame.
DSLR and some compact camera will operate in manual mode. Using a camera in manual a good way of improving photographic skills and adds to an understanding of exposure and focus/depth of field.

One advantage of the Leica film cameras and lenses is that they increase in value unlike my outdated Nikon DSLR.

Thanks for looking, comments and advice.


Tags: Photo journalism Black and white Portraits and people

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


mrswoolybill Plus
11 1.2k 1794 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2014 1:22PM
Yes the series has interest. It's a bit like the premise behind Chaucer's Canterbury Tales - find a setting that will include all walks of life, all rungs on the social ladder. They will all stop off at some point to look out to sea.

That's what she's doing, looking out into emptiness, towards an empty horizon, with empty eyes. I find this extremely moving. In strict compositional terms her possessions and dog should be where she can see them, we should know what she is looking at - that would produce a settled, satisfying, no-questions-asked composition. This asks questions, which is much more important.

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dudler Plus
14 628 1197 England
2 Aug 2014 1:41PM
Actually, Ian, it's heartbreaking.

A brilliant picture. I can't suggest any change - except, perhaps, making sure that a lot of people see it.

"We're all in it together" - but some are deeper in than others, and will probably never get out.

I could suggest straightening the verticals, or stooping when shooting, but this has wormed its way so far into my psyche that I see significance in the viewpoint: we're looking down on her, in various ways. Not how it should be. Just how it is.
bwlchmawr 5 32 1 England
2 Aug 2014 5:00PM
A very sad and important image. I think of when they were born into the world and what their parents would feel if they saw this picture. And these unfortunates always land themselves with a wretched dog, when they can scarcely take care of themselves.

Technical considerations are largely irrelevant with a subject like this, but I'd still crop off a chunk from the left which would focus attention on the poor woman.
cats_123 Plus
13 4.7k 28 Northern Ireland
2 Aug 2014 5:31PM
But how does she afford a dog?
dudler Plus
14 628 1197 England
2 Aug 2014 5:48PM
Dogs sort of happen to some people.

I have a feeling that your priorities change when you are homeless, and something warm, friendly, and possibly capable of biting a mugger is more of an asset than a lot of other stuff.

The other thing that I notice, on the occasions when I meet homeless people, is that they aren't actually very different from me. They aren't as mentally healthy (and they don't have easy access to a regular GP, or counselling, unlike most EPZ members. There but for fortune go you, go I...

And there's other people's charity: some will offer a tin of dog food. Or other random stuff.
Jestertheclown 9 7.6k 252 England
2 Aug 2014 8:26PM
Hiya Crowson!

Long time - no speak!

This most definitely has interest and I find it hard to follow what Phil's said.
I wouldn't change it at all. You've captured a moment in her probably pointless, certainly humdrum, existence and it's written all over her face.

She's looking past you and out of shot . . .
. . . but at what?

Today and endless others just like it stretching into the distance . . . ?

To her credit, despite her drinking, she's pretty well turned out and her kit's in good order. Likewise the dog looks well cared for so perhaps her lot isn't quite as bleak as it might be.
I'd certainly like to think that that's the case.

All the best,

banehawi Plus
13 1.7k 3771 Canada
2 Aug 2014 10:17PM
Really good Ian.

paulbroad 10 123 1195 United Kingdom
3 Aug 2014 8:50AM
A point I alsays make with the so called homeless. How can they have a dog?

A good well processed image of some interest. My only real comment, which cannit be corrected, is that I would prefer her facing right.

mrswoolybill Plus
11 1.2k 1794 United Kingdom
3 Aug 2014 10:03AM

Quote:My only real comment, which cannit be corrected, is that I would prefer her facing right.

Interesting comment, but I don't agree. Because we read everything, images as well as text, from left to right, facing right is what we expect to see; it's the natural direction for a narrative, it means movement forward into the future. It's positive, upbeat. Looking leftwards conveys memories, regrets, reflection. That's what is working here.
pablophotographer 6 804 304
6 Aug 2014 12:14PM

Quote:But how does she afford a dog?
My guess is that at night the dog acts as the walls of a house, it is there between you and strangers who may harm you. It's safety, can you afford not to have it?

The tonal range of the picture is great Ian. I would cut-off a bit from the total height of the frame so the too bright part of the pic is eliminated.
will try to upload a mod of what I mean.

I am not jumping from joy when I see a homeless person. Nobody can tell with certainty what the future holds for them.

pablophotographer 6 804 304
6 Aug 2014 12:26PM
Mod uploaded; not the final or finest version, I think it should work better if some space from the bottom is excluded, probably 2/9ths from the left too. Yes it looks like someone is TRAPPED there, even better then for what people believe that the story of the frame tells them. She is not thinking of the past, but she is looking for a WAY OUT. ''Last exit(?) Rita Hayworth''.

pablophotographer 6 804 304
6 Aug 2014 10:32PM

Quote:A point I alsays make with the so called homeless. How can they have a dog?/quote]

It is my guess that apart from guards, when homeless people sleep on the rough, their dogs, who sleep next to them, provide extra warmth at cold nights. Dogs can survive on food left-overs, not only pet food.


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