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Big Issue

By AlanBW
Moving away from the Thailand series for a short while, but there will be more images from there soon.

The above image was taken in Weston-Super-Mare, where Graham Walker was selling the street magazine 'Big Issue' whilst wearing top hat and tails to raise money for charity. Homeless since 1992, Graham has raised thousands of pounds for worthy causes throughout the South West. 'I like doing something which is an anomaly of what people expect a Big Issue man to be doing,' said Graham in an earlier interview with BBC Somerset Sound. 'It's not about taking, but actually putting something back into the community,' he added.

Dressed in his eye-catching attire at his 'pitch' outside Boots, Graham began his quest on 12th February 2007 and has vowed to continue selling until he reaches his 2,000 target. The money will go to Children's Hospice South West (where Graham's nephew died) and Somewhere to Go, a Weston-based homeless centre. On the day that I saw this scene, the total was already over 1600. People were stopping to speak to Graham, buy the magazine and / or drop donations into the collection bucket.

I had to find a vantage point on the other side of the pedestrianised street from where I could take the shot unobserved, wait for a gap in the crowd and go for it. A smiling security guard from another shop came out, thrust a cigarette into Graham's hand, exchanged a few words with him and disappeared. There were several failed attempts (not surprising given the number of passing shoppers) but eventually I managed to capture the above shot with Graham enjoying his smoke, but all the while keeping an eye out for potential customers. Wonderful character, great cause - I have the utmost admiration and respect for Graham's efforts.

Tags: Photo journalism General Man Candid People Selling Homeless Big issue Weston-super-mare Portraits and people

Voters: ecowarrior, woolybill1, elph and 145 more

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shortski 15 3 1 England
27 Feb 2007 8:41AM
brilliant capture and great description...jojo
AlleyCatz 15 274 6 England
27 Feb 2007 9:10AM
Excellent capture!
Well taken shot.
Love the description.

27 Feb 2007 9:12AM
Alan, this is a really great image emulating old B&W films, but in a contamporary setting, and for a good cause too! Thanks as ever for the full description - it builds the image so much through understanding.

TommyStr 15 9 3 Norway
27 Feb 2007 9:26AM
Love the subject, and great for mono. Would like to see it with a bit more contrast/punch. Superb work though
VintageRed 15 15 1 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2007 10:23AM
Hi Alan. As you say, it is often the anomalous situations that produce some interesting contrast shots. Understand entirely why you went for this one and it works well.
27 Feb 2007 10:32AM
Love this mono portrait.
Like so much the smokin and top hat.
Great work Smile

kaybee Plus
16 7.6k 26 Scotland
27 Feb 2007 10:35AM
Great shot.....made even better by the explanation

User_Removed 14 16 England
27 Feb 2007 10:42AM
Excellent candid, well captured!! Nice tonal range and detail in the mono.
bricurtis Plus
15 2.4k 51 England
27 Feb 2007 10:48AM
This is a cracker Alan. 'Exactly' the last person you would expect to see selling The Big Issue.A fine capture of a man dedicated to a good cause.

otter 14
27 Feb 2007 11:05AM
Brilliant shot Alan. its so good to hear a story like this... what a character!
JohnDyer Plus
15 80 2 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2007 11:09AM
A great capture
SharD 14 94
27 Feb 2007 12:00PM
Cute! Love the black and white tones - excellent!
Guillaume 14 119 2 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2007 1:32PM
Great shot Alan. If it wasn't for the story one could easily think that this picture was taken during the 1920s'. Click!
27 Feb 2007 1:35PM
Very good image Alan, the tones are excellent as is the subject, great character shot, Adrian
27 Feb 2007 2:30PM
This is a wonderful image - excellent, and as usual, a great description. Perhaps the Big Issue might like to publish it?
LauraBeans 15 32 Scotland
27 Feb 2007 2:42PM
great shot. Love a picture with a story behind it!

ChiliMan 14 135 17 Singapore
27 Feb 2007 2:47PM
What an amazing capture of such an interesting moment!! Not only was your timing perfect, Alan, but this picture is just top notch in quality too. Bravo.

Andrew Smile
Phoebecat 15 1 Italy
27 Feb 2007 2:49PM
Excellent capture - love his expression (which btw. reminds me of Sid James)

Possum 14 148 England
27 Feb 2007 3:27PM
Quality. Such an unexpected contrast within the one image, and your description is thought-provoking - as ever.
TonyA 16 11 Spain
27 Feb 2007 4:09PM
Like this photo jounalistic image with a great description.

15 13 1 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2007 4:11PM
Bags of interest and atmostphere to this Alan.
woolybill1 Plus
14 37 77 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2007 4:17PM
Superb - my compliments!
mickf1 14 2 England
27 Feb 2007 5:29PM
Lovely image Alan works really well in B/W, gives it that Raffles era.
Lovely work Alan great in mono ... looks like the legendary Frank Sinatra.
tull 17 181 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2007 5:49PM
Superb character candid Alan with that touch of vintage feel and a great and moving story too.

Glostopcat 15 255 2 England
27 Feb 2007 6:14PM
An excellent candid character portrait Alan and a superb story to go with it. This one could have been taken early this century if it wasn't for the advertising in the shop window behind!
cats_123 Plus
17 5.0k 30 Northern Ireland
27 Feb 2007 6:20PM
great pj...what a character!

27 Feb 2007 6:36PM
Great capture of a "character." Well done.

cantona43 15 928 4 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2007 6:42PM
Excellent capture Alan
moni 14
27 Feb 2007 6:43PM
GREAT image! love it!
RockArea 14 18 3 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2007 6:45PM
I thought it was Fred Astaire! Great character picture, Alan and great information to go with it.

bunbeam 15 2 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2007 7:05PM
brilliant.. he looks like quite a character... love it
Briwooly 15 454 6 England
27 Feb 2007 7:10PM
What a brilliant capture Alan superb

GeorgeRusky 15 1 4
27 Feb 2007 7:17PM
Excellent portrait, Alan
Thank you for your comments.
A Booth 18 11 4 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2007 7:40PM
superb capture - good character capture - (I thought at first it was Fred Astaire but realized you were in nappies when he was around!!)
thorn 16 124 2 Scotland
27 Feb 2007 7:45PM
Hi Alan,
Excellent candid image and photojournalism.Hope Tricia's mum had a great birthday.Excellent portrait,not many BI sellers in coat hat and tails.Take care.AnnSmile
elcid 16 150 England
27 Feb 2007 7:59PM
Great candid shot. The description as always gives the viewer much more than the shot itself. Your a star, Alan. Take care mate.

Brilane 14 5 12 Wales
27 Feb 2007 8:03PM
A great shot of a great character. Well worth the wait. - Brian.
bliba Plus
15 2 Austria
27 Feb 2007 9:23PM
stunning bnw portaitand good discription!

very well done Alan

trissie 14 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2007 9:53PM
A great capture Alan, and love the description.

Trish x
Nigel_95 Plus
15 262 2 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2007 10:44PM
Brilliant shot Alan. Thanks too for the description, I had not heard of him before.

Rogerex 14 32 12 Australia
27 Feb 2007 11:13PM
Interesting story, and good picture to go with it. Mono suits the subject well.
chrissd 15 304 United Kingdom
28 Feb 2007 4:20AM
superb capture and what a story, amazing work
chodge987 14 20 Scotland
28 Feb 2007 6:48AM
You have caught his expression perfectly. Smile

hebdens 15 5
28 Feb 2007 8:38AM
quite a character, great capture.
BigK 15 8
28 Feb 2007 9:14AM
Looks like a 1920's poster. Nice one!

sunshot 16 24 United Kingdom
28 Feb 2007 11:08AM
very intresting story and a fabulous candid capture alan, very well done.

KingArthur 14 8 Malta
28 Feb 2007 11:24AM
What a fine candid Alan, you've captured loads of character here! Even better in mono.

oppo 15 6 2 Scotland
28 Feb 2007 12:25PM
Brilliant quality in this one Alan. Looks as if it was taken in the 1930's.

franken Plus
18 5.2k 4 United Kingdom
28 Feb 2007 12:42PM
Works well in b/w, excellent candid.

Rock 18 10 2 England
28 Feb 2007 2:00PM
At first glance I thought it was Fred Astaire.

Another great candid.

tmann 16 4 2 United States
28 Feb 2007 3:31PM
Love this one!
Great capture, great in B&W!
28 Feb 2007 3:59PM
caught with perfection.....

LenaP 14 United Kingdom
28 Feb 2007 4:20PM
What an expression you caught there, amasing. thatnks for a comment on my image Smile
xinia 16 54
28 Feb 2007 5:36PM
great character - perfect timing for that expression Smile
jan 1 17 12 Netherlands
28 Feb 2007 6:37PM
Very well seen, Alan.
Front page news.
Mrmojo 14 2 England
28 Feb 2007 8:11PM
Fine Work Alan you have caught the momment in time perfectly.
And what a great character !
Buffalo_Tom Plus
14 2.3k 16 Wales
28 Feb 2007 8:37PM
Bit of a poser this chap Alan.Great picture.
ginz04 17 281 20 United Kingdom
28 Feb 2007 8:53PM
good jounalistic pic he looks a bit like michael barrymore ???

John_Humphreys 15 69 2 Ireland
28 Feb 2007 9:24PM
Alan, this is a fabulous picture! You've caught a great expression - one eye closed, pulling on the cigarette. You'd almost expect Jeeves to step into the frame! What a great guy too. John
GregorP 16 4 Slovenia
28 Feb 2007 9:52PM
Smile You are The best story-teller... SmileI like your work!

Mavis 19 143 2 England
1 Mar 2007 7:57AM
WOW !! Alan one of your best shots yet . Looks like a double for Fred Astaire . I bet people were curious . You usually see some so full of despair selling THE BIG ISSUE . A great capture xxx
KKmoments 14 12 1 United Kingdom
1 Mar 2007 9:30AM
Excellent candid of this interesting character, wonderful double for Fred and the mono suits his 'era'. I admire people like this and wish him well in his fund raising I somehow think he'll exceed his target Smile Well done
panda 16 5 1 England
1 Mar 2007 10:31AM
Fred Astaire to a tee! Where is Ginger Rogers ?. Super image Alan.

Regards Phil
Desh_M 16 410
1 Mar 2007 1:31PM
gud capture works well in B&W
Bronnie666 15 42 England
1 Mar 2007 2:05PM
A great image Alan. I enjoyed your description, but even without that, the image and the copies of Big Issue tell it all.

iajacks 15 24 England
1 Mar 2007 3:08PM
classic he looks a bit of a carrictore.

great social comentrwork, ian
1 Mar 2007 3:31PM
Excellent capture, great information.
Alfoto 14 Wales
1 Mar 2007 5:48PM
Super image...Great capture Alan.
glazzaro 16 70 23 United States
1 Mar 2007 7:26PM
I thought Fred Astaire passed away? Spot on! Click!!!

1 Mar 2007 7:42PM
Fascinating shot. A really great capture. You hit the button at JUST the right moment.
John (-:
StevenPrice 16 30 2 England
1 Mar 2007 7:57PM
An excellent image Alan.

Gaz_H 14 150 1 United Kingdom
1 Mar 2007 9:20PM
A stunner Alan - love the description too.
pamelajean Plus
15 1.5k 2213 United Kingdom
1 Mar 2007 10:15PM
What a great description and marvellous portrait, thanks for sharing.
G73photography 14 417 15 United Kingdom
1 Mar 2007 11:03PM
very good candid. looks the part in the mono too, G
JimV 14 6 3 Canada
2 Mar 2007 6:32AM
Agree with all the above Alan, have no idea what the 'Big Issue' is tho'.
Rgds., Jim
Chant57 Plus
15 395 3 United Kingdom
2 Mar 2007 8:46AM
Captured at just the right time Alan, well suited to Mono, he certainly looks as though he is enjoying that cigarette, one eye closed as he takes the draw and the look of satisfaction . I love the contrast this image portrays, the gentleman dressed in top hat and tails and looking every part the Gent seling the Big Issue.
Humph 14 1 England
2 Mar 2007 9:09AM
Looking through your critiques, I can see that there must be an affinity among us snappers, I like your shot and so do many of the people that I get comments from and send them to, welcome to the club! Tim.
vparmar 16 7 United Kingdom
2 Mar 2007 9:26AM
great shot - lovely character

Malc_V 15 England
2 Mar 2007 2:41PM
Superb image Alan.

Nice one.

Simply one of your best photos Alan. The expression you caught is terrific and b&w fits this as perfect as his hat. Congrats
KevinMW 14 14 Wales
2 Mar 2007 3:22PM
A great piece of photo-journalism Alan. Excellent.

summ3r 14 26 1 United Kingdom
2 Mar 2007 4:05PM
Great character shot and wonderfully informing description as always. Brilliant.
daringdaphne 17 82 United Kingdom
2 Mar 2007 6:07PM
Fantastically funny - I thought; " Burlington Berty from Bow". Having read the story it's really great piece of Journalism!!!! Great picture.


Dotrob 15 Wales
2 Mar 2007 9:28PM
Amazing capture, well seen. Interesting description.
2 Mar 2007 11:37PM
a great piece of photo-journalism this would make!
danbrann 16 640 17
3 Mar 2007 11:24AM
I had to scroll a long way down to find this space.Tremendous photography.
cat_mc 14 17 Australia
3 Mar 2007 12:08PM
stunning b&w alan well deserved with all this attention
its like you have captured time

damn it i gotta scroll all the way back up now..
DYankee 15 6 United States
3 Mar 2007 2:22PM
Lovely grand style!
Dawn Smile
Carl40 15 18 United Kingdom
3 Mar 2007 3:37PM
I like your stories Alan they are very good.

Great image.
Portknockie 16 48 Scotland
3 Mar 2007 3:55PM
Hi Alan..great shot and a superb story to go with it...Hope you put something in the bucket after he gave you such a superb shot...LOL

AndreG 14 20 England
4 Mar 2007 12:40PM
Great shot, well worth the wait I think.

phototime 15 8 United Kingdom
4 Mar 2007 4:34PM
Wonderful photography Alan,this is superb.

Pegon 15 78 1 England
4 Mar 2007 10:30PM
An excellent capture and write-up Alan.
tuhin 14
5 Mar 2007 6:13AM
Frend you are great.
DP_Imagery 16 24 6 Wales
5 Mar 2007 10:53AM
What an inspiring story and wonderful capture. Bruce
angelamary 15 6 England
5 Mar 2007 11:55AM
What an amazing man! Can't help but smile... Very well caught shot. Makes for a super image.
Paul_cats 15 61 22 Scotland
5 Mar 2007 12:25PM
This is a real outstanding capture. Superb b/w.
Djemde 17 1 Tuvalu
5 Mar 2007 1:23PM
Fantastic capture and great story. Brilliant expression, he's certainly playing the part.
5 Mar 2007 5:49PM
this is a fantastic photograph and what a great description and a fantastic guy. lovely capture!
Richard707 14 14 United States
6 Mar 2007 5:54AM
Nice shot. It's so cosmopolitan and the story that goes with it is neat in itself.
sputnki 16 10 Canada
6 Mar 2007 5:45PM
Well caught! Priceless expression, you can see his 'weather eye' out, even as he takes a quick drag.

Bowline 14 28 England
7 Mar 2007 8:37AM
I know of only one, celebrity Graham Walker, but if it is this man he has lost a lot of weight. I met him once in Warwickshire. Very funny man, and it doesn't surprise me that he did something like this, nor the reasons. Nice shot Alan. Candid's are you..
7 Mar 2007 12:19PM
Brilland picture, the black and white is done very well, I don't think it would be the same in colour, the b&w makes it. great picture, really good.
HowardA 14 231
7 Mar 2007 5:29PM
What a great story to go with this shot. The conversion suits the subject perfectly. Congrats on all the attention this has picked up!
davidbailie 17 457 7 United Kingdom
9 Mar 2007 10:38AM
Excellent - full of character

anthhope 15 1 England
9 Mar 2007 8:09PM
Great timing and tones Alan. An excellent take..
ericfaragh Plus
17 149 5 United Kingdom
10 Mar 2007 9:26AM
Great humour, excellent timing. Thought it was Fred Astair!
annefromleo 15 11 1 United Kingdom
11 Mar 2007 12:00AM
great, such clarity Alan
elph 15 10 Russian Federation
14 Mar 2007 9:21PM
It's a sensation!

LesleyJ 14 247 England
16 Mar 2007 9:39PM
Apart from great candid photographs the background to them is fantastic. Stunning collection.
16 Mar 2007 10:12PM
Superb shot,well done.

ecowarrior 14 577 England
17 Mar 2007 9:24PM
Great photo, super sharp! Works great as b&w too.

What a character!!
19 Mar 2007 2:56PM
Great capture Alan - lol

What a good way to raise funds.

Jennywren ( :
andmolliethedog 15 120 11 United Kingdom
23 Mar 2007 10:27AM
superb image..from people who deserve more support than they get..have you offered thiss to the mag?
Eden 16 40 United Kingdom
1 Apr 2007 11:21AM
excellent candid capture - a real character!
10 Apr 2007 11:33AM
What a character, Toff meets Homeless , Excellent ...Riff
helena 17 134 United Kingdom
19 Apr 2007 5:25PM
Brilliant and what a great man, Tara x
petra16 15 169 Scotland
25 Apr 2007 9:25PM
what can I say that has not been said.................crackin shot

2 May 2007 12:38PM
Hi Alan, I have to say out of all the photos on epz I keep showing this one to everyone. I really love it and altough I commented on it already I feel I have to say it again. The story behind is so great also !!!.
daveFTM 15
3 May 2007 9:15AM
brilliant. an absolute corker!
WillieH 15 2 Scotland
8 May 2007 10:02PM
Superb Alan, not only a top drawer image but a fantastic heart felt story line, I admire your candid work well done.

Best Regards Willie
27 May 2007 9:38AM
Hi Alan. On a pal's computer. came across this photo of me. Excellent. Thanks also for your comments.The total i managed to raise was 2,800. Have now moved on to another town. Another experience.
Juliet 14
28 May 2007 12:49PM
Hi there, It's amazing portrait of an amazing man !! If the comment above comes from the real Graham Walker it's the next amazing thing that happened ! Smile
AlanBW 15 20 England
23 Jun 2007 11:38AM
Graham Walker, pictured above, caught sight of this image while playing around on a friend's computer. He made contact with me through EPZ. Graham has written a book to raise money for charity (coming out in August 2007) and asked if the image could be used for promotional material - or even possibly on the front cover. I was only too pleased to agree. Nothing confirmed as yet and of course it might not happen, but still great to be asked.
CaroleA 14 5 3 England
23 Jun 2007 11:52AM
Coming late to this, but I was fascinated reading all the above. What a great story from start to finish and including all the little sub-stories in there too. Well done both of you! Oh - and it's a cracking shot!
9 Jul 2008 4:10PM
Visit Graham Walker's (the man photographed) blog, where you can see what he has to say and find out how to purchase his autobiography -

Graham's blog

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