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  #1  
Old October 4th, 2009, 02:22 AM
Paul Abbott Paul Abbott is offline
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Default My Homeless Photo Project

I have been documenting the homeless population in my hometown of London for just over a year now. The project is called End Homelessness Now.
Ever since the Mayor of London has gone on record stating that he'll help these people with homes, healthcare and social exclusion I thought I would start a project in photographing these people from the street. I get to know every one of these chaps in my photos and get their name and information on their background, and how they came to be homeless.
By doing this I have expelled a lot of myths and preconceptions that people have about the homeless, lets just say they're not all mentally ill.
I usually like to take a street portrait and an environmental one if I can, I then print up a 6x4 and post it through the Mayor's official mailbox in City Hall, in Southwark London. By doing this I hope that some true help will come to these people who need it, and that the Mayor will stay true to his commitments, after all I believe its to do with the Olympics in this country being held in 2012, the reason behind his statement. I hope he doesn't just drive these people off into a field somewhere, as has been done before.
I have had interviews with Andrew Page at Crisis, and have had the recognition and help from these guys for what I am doing. This project of mine is currently running through to 2012.

Some of the images I have taken are over on my blogsite. Its an unfortunate fact that there is no shortage of subjects like this on the streets. I hope by talking with these people and earning their trust I can take a different image in comparison to whats already out there.
I always leave them with a few pounds and some cigarettes which I happen to buy for them, as I don't smoke.





Paul Abbott End Homelessness Now #15
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  #2  
Old October 4th, 2009, 03:22 AM
Nicolas Claris Nicolas Claris is offline
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Hi Paul
a beautifull project (in real sense).
It has been very controversial here in OPF, but once you have stated the whys and the hows of your project, the only feeling a man/woman can have is:
Respect
To you and to the homelesses.
They are so many way of doing, praticising, use photography!
I do photograph beauties (most made by men), you do photograph the other side.
Balance is needed and I'll support all projects as yours, the world has so many faces, no one should be hidden or forgoten…

Now, I do personnaly invite you to post more here, in a way it will contribute to your project.
It seems to lie (stay/be?) in the real photojournalistic tradition. And don't forget to ad your own comments and/or context with each of your photos.

PS on such a subject, I wonder if any photographic C&C should be needed/done… I'm not sure…
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  #3  
Old October 4th, 2009, 03:28 AM
Paul Abbott Paul Abbott is offline
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Thanks Nicolas, I am just sharing, but I do welcome any criticism by, all means.
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  #4  
Old October 4th, 2009, 12:53 PM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Paul, I commend your efforts and expect to hear of the progress made as a result of your contributions.

As Nicolas mentioned, I don't want to start any fireworks here, but I would have shared a smoke or two
with my subjects and left them the pack/s. Smoking has opened a few doors for me and has also closed
a few! one of them being a cardiac artery.

Best.
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  #5  
Old October 4th, 2009, 01:42 PM
Paul Abbott Paul Abbott is offline
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Thanks, Fahim.
I do hope to get images from the soup kitchens sometime soon. I did try to get into one place where there was a soup kitchen in Cavell St., Whitechapel. I was invited in by one of the homeless guys, but at the door one of the voluntary staff turned me away. She didn't want herself and her colleagues recorded in any of the pictures, and so I was gutted not to be let in.
I will have to seek out another one and try there.
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  #6  
Old October 5th, 2009, 01:50 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Paul, I'm impressed with your effort and respect for the homeless. It's important that the stories be told and if possible at least with a name, but you don't need me to tell you anything!

I hope you will show all the pictures in this project.

Asher
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  #7  
Old October 5th, 2009, 08:01 AM
Paul Abbott Paul Abbott is offline
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Thank you very much, Asher.
I have learnt so much from these guys and they're plight on the street. Especially how homelessness can lead to alcoholism and drug abuse. These are the things that help these guys get through the day and help 'stall' their problems. This is what happens when these people don't get any help at an early stage.
Centrepoint (I think you know of the building, Asher), on the Charing Cross Road in London help with young runaways and do help to catch them early, but they rely on benefactors money and such to do their work. They help with getting these young lives back on track.
Also, I am fully aware of those who want to be homeless and not have to deal with any responsibility in their lives, but I think they have gone beyond the point of no return, its literally become a way of life.
One guy told me he wasn't socially excluded, he said he had plenty of friends on the street! Point taken, I thought.

Anyway, here is another portrait:





Paul Abbott Simon, A Homeless Portrait
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  #8  
Old October 5th, 2009, 08:34 AM
Wendy Thurman Wendy Thurman is offline
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Paul-

Good on you, mate. These photographs need to be made; they are important in the context you are making them.

I'm trying to get my mind around photographing the disadvantaged here without seeming to exploit them. I'm surrounded by them yet hesitant to photograph them gratuitously. I like your approach in which a greater context is involved.

Fahim- I'll have a smoke if you've got one! (I originally typed "f-a-g" here but the system edited it out!)

Wendy
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  #9  
Old October 5th, 2009, 09:08 AM
Paul Abbott Paul Abbott is offline
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Go for it, Wendy.
The guys I meet in London are amongst the nicest people i've met, they still have their manners and such. I have only been rejected in taking a picture twice so far. One guy told me the reason why, he stated - "there will be a time when i'm not homeless..." - such positivity, this was so great to hear.
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http://paulyrichard.wordpress.com/ "In fact I don't believe there is such a thing as a definitive picture of something. The land is a living, breathing thing and light changes its character every second of every day." - Fay Godwin "All the technique in the world doesn’t compensate for the inability to notice." - Elliott Erwitt
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  #10  
Old October 6th, 2009, 02:26 AM
Johan Combrink Johan Combrink is offline
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This is an interesting project and I always find them interesting as it is not something we see everyday while we go about our lives. Thanks for sharing...
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  #11  
Old October 6th, 2009, 05:25 AM
Paul Abbott Paul Abbott is offline
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Thanks, Johan.

Although these guys are a captive subject, they still represent a challenge in photographing well. I am always trying to adopt different angles and approaches.
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  #12  
Old October 8th, 2009, 05:08 AM
Paul Abbott Paul Abbott is offline
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Here is another image I had taken in Whitechapel, London. For some, sleep brings respite from the hardships on the street, but in order for that you need 'booze', and thats why most are all alcoholics now.





Paul Abbott End Homelessness Now #6
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  #13  
Old October 9th, 2009, 06:14 AM
Paul Abbott Paul Abbott is offline
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Special Brew (9%), has certainly done the job. I drink this stuff too, and its a great tasting beer! Although, for him it looks like there are demon's in the drink.





Paul Abbott End Homelessness Now #12
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http://paulyrichard.wordpress.com/ "In fact I don't believe there is such a thing as a definitive picture of something. The land is a living, breathing thing and light changes its character every second of every day." - Fay Godwin "All the technique in the world doesn’t compensate for the inability to notice." - Elliott Erwitt
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  #14  
Old October 15th, 2009, 01:01 PM
Paul Abbott Paul Abbott is offline
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This is John, both photos are of him in Whitechapel, London.





Paul Abbott - End Homelessness Now #5





Paul Abbott - John, A Homeless Portrait
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  #15  
Old October 15th, 2009, 03:39 PM
Nicolas Claris Nicolas Claris is offline
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Hi Paul
"no comment"…
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  #16  
Old October 15th, 2009, 04:26 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicolas Claris View Post
Hi Paul
"no comment"…
Hi Nicolas,

What on earth does that mean, "no comment"? At least you have recognized the pictures are worth noting. I must guess then what you are thinking. Still it's safe that you don't actually admit what you think for this batch of new pictures, so it's hard to be sure. This way, you are not so controversial. You omit saying the pictures are impressive, I think perhaps becasue you doubt the validity of harvesting views of the less fortunate or bad behaved folks in society. It perhaps is too easy pickings.

My view is that, judging paul as honest and not exploitative, I take these pictures as reportage. No one is posing. These document what is, things that traumatize us but we cannot now remove from our consciousness as the same site in real life when we shut off and walk past.

When we walk past, what do we think? We think, tragic circumstances, I hope he's be O.K., I hope he doesn't hurt hurt himself or us.

Asher
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  #17  
Old October 15th, 2009, 11:38 PM
Nicolas Claris Nicolas Claris is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Hi Nicolas,

What on earth does that mean, "no comment"? At least you have recognized the pictures are worth noting. I must guess then what you are thinking. Still it's safe that you don't actually admit what you think for this batch of new pictures, so it's hard to be sure. This way, you are not so controversial. You omit saying the pictures are impressive, I think perhaps becasue you doubt the validity of harvesting views of the less fortunate or bad behaved folks in society. It perhaps is too easy pickings.

My view is that, judging paul as honest and not exploitative, I take these pictures as reportage. No one is posing. These document what is, things that traumatize us but we cannot now remove from our consciousness as the same site in real life when we shut off and walk past.

When we walk past, what do we think? We think, tragic circumstances, I hope he's be O.K., I hope he doesn't hurt hurt himself or us.

Asher
Asher
You got me completely wrong!
Read my first post here on top of the thread to have an idea of what I think about Paul's work with (yes with) homelesses…

When I wrote "no comment" is a commonly used locution in Europe, it means that that images are speaking for themselves, that they are self sufficient… they do not need to be commented to hit their target.
There is a TV channel in Europe (http://fr.euronews.net/nocomment) with a program named "no comment", they show images (video) shot on events (wars, ceremonies, demonstrations, forest fires etc.) without any comments.

In the case, here in this thread, it is a compliment.
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  #18  
Old October 15th, 2009, 11:44 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicolas Claris View Post
Asher
You got me completely wrong!
Read my first post here on top of the thread to have an idea of what I think about Paul's work with (yes with) homelesses…

When I wrote "no comment" is a commonly used locution in Europe, it means that that images are speaking for themselves, that they are self sufficient… they do not need to be commented to hit their target.
There is a TV channel in Europe (http://fr.euronews.net/nocomment) with a program named "no comment", they show images (video) shot on events (wars, ceremonies, demonstrations, forest fires etc.) without any comments.

In the case, here in this thread, it is a compliment.
Merci pour l'explications! Nicolas, mon ami, maintenant, enfin, je te comprends beaucoup plus mieux. Je suis content!

Asher
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  #19  
Old October 15th, 2009, 11:49 PM
Nicolas Claris Nicolas Claris is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Merci pour l'explications! Nicolas, mon ami, maintenant, enfin, je te comprends beaucoup plus mieux. Je suis content!

Asher
How could you doubt?

BTW "beaucoup plus mieux" is something like "much more better" a bit too much if you ask me ;-)

"Bien mieux" would be enough…
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  #20  
Old October 17th, 2009, 09:29 AM
Wendy Thurman Wendy Thurman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Abbott View Post
This is John, both photos are of him in Whitechapel, London.





Paul Abbott - End Homelessness Now #5





Paul Abbott - John, A Homeless Portrait
The second image is excellent. The first borders on gratuitous. We don't need a graphical snapshot of what John's demons have driven him to. The portrait of John illustrates his demons all too well.

Be very careful with these, Paul.

Wendy
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  #21  
Old October 17th, 2009, 09:42 AM
Cedric MASSOULIER Cedric MASSOULIER is offline
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Hi,

Very strong work, well served by a beautiful raw B&W.

Cedric.
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  #22  
Old October 18th, 2009, 08:09 AM
Paul Abbott Paul Abbott is offline
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Thanks, Cedric.

Wendy, i'm just telling it how it is.
I included the skater in the shot as a contrast, juxtaposition and maybe analogy between John's downwardly prone legs and the skaters upwardly mobile ones.
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  #23  
Old October 18th, 2009, 07:56 PM
Wendy Thurman Wendy Thurman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Abbott View Post
Thanks, Cedric.

Wendy, i'm just telling it how it is.
I included the skater in the shot as a contrast, juxtaposition and maybe analogy between John's downwardly prone legs and the skaters upwardly mobile ones.
Paul-

The portrait is the more eloquent of the two images- it "speaks" much more than does the first shot. Just my opinion!

Wendy
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  #24  
Old October 19th, 2009, 02:25 PM
Paul Abbott Paul Abbott is offline
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Thanks, Wendy.
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  #25  
Old October 26th, 2009, 03:25 PM
Paul Abbott Paul Abbott is offline
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Paul Abbott - End Homelessness Now! - Project #16
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