The homeless

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The homeless

Post  eddie on Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:44 pm

The big picture: Homeless

In 2008 Lee Jeffries, an amateur photographer and accountant by profession, began photographing homeless people. His portraits may be uncompromising, but they are also beautiful

Photographs: Lee Jefferies. Commentary: Hannah Booth

guardian.co.uk, Friday 20 January 2012 17.00 GMT

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Re: The homeless

Post  eddie on Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:46 pm


Like strokes of a painter’s brush, every pore, wrinkle, scar and hair is accentuated in the faces of these homeless people. Some have kind, crinkly eyes, others seem wary, but most, with their weathered skin and intense gazes, tell of the hardship of life on the streets perhaps better than the subjects could themselves. → Photograph: Lee Jefferies

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Re: The homeless

Post  eddie on Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:49 pm


Lee Jeffries’s portraits may be uncompromising, but they are also beautiful. A woman with exquisite cheekbones; an elderly man who resembles a medieval sage. Tightly composed, with a short depth of field, they are intensely intimate. No detail is spared: runny noses, skin blotches and scraggy beards are the focus as the background melts away.

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Re: The homeless

Post  eddie on Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:54 pm


The images are highly stylised, and artistically enhanced afterwards. Jeffries lightens faces and deepens the shadows created by folds of skin. It seems as if they were shot in a studio, when in reality Jeffries had just a few moments to capture them in natural light, out on the street, before they got bored or changed their minds. A small reflector, held beneath their chins, is the only accessory he uses. → Photograph: Lee Jefferies

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Re: The homeless

Post  eddie on Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:58 pm


Jeffries, an amateur photographer and accountant by profession, began photographing homeless people in 2008. Visiting London from his home in Bolton, he spotted a young girl living rough on Leicester Square. He tried to steal a shot from a distance, but she spotted him, so he went over and struck up a conversation. Since then, he’s photographed people in downtown Los Angeles, New York, Rome and Manchester. → Photograph: Lee Jefferies

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Re: The homeless

Post  eddie on Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:02 pm


He chooses his subjects carefully, usually looking for something behind the eyes that conveys a person’s character or that shows their emotions. He insists he’s not making any sort of statement. And he always gives them money as a thank you. Photograph: Lee Jefferies

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Re: The homeless

Post  eddie on Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:07 pm


Photo: Lee Jefferies.


Last edited by eddie on Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:39 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The homeless

Post  eddie on Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:10 pm


Photo: Lee Jefferies.


Last edited by eddie on Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:40 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The homeless

Post  Guest on Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:11 pm

...stunning!

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Re: The homeless

Post  eddie on Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:13 pm

^

I have my doubts about this, you know. Not so much with Lee Jefferies' photos as with Hannah Booth's commentary. Isn't she aestheticising- if that's a word- personal tragedies?


Last edited by eddie on Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:40 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The homeless

Post  Guest on Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:39 pm

I stopped reading the commentary after the first one. The photographs speak for themselves. Lee altering backgrounds and contrasts enhanced the portrayals aesthetically, but I don't think the photos idealise personal suffering.

I think they are stunning in the sense that they stopped me dead in my tracks.

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Re: The homeless

Post  eddie on Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:42 pm

Hannah Booth writes: "he always gives them money as a thank you".

Well, that's something.

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Re: The homeless

Post  Guest on Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:51 pm

eddie wrote:Hannah Booth writes: "he always gives them money as a thank you".

Well, that's something.
I gave a homeless man a coat once. It was winter and he only had a singlet over his old bones. He was sitting in a doorway near an intersection. I was in serious want of money but I had an excellent coat. It belonged to the musician ex. I hated that coat after he left but it was warm and I was skinny and felt the cold. I was heading north soon though. I walked back and handed it to the guy. He was very chuffed.

...he did smile when I told him why I wanted him to take the coat. Very Happy

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Re: The homeless

Post  eddie on Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:56 pm

I'm not taking any kind of high moral tone on this- or, at least, I hope not. On the contrary, in my job the homeless can be a pain in the arse. Bodily waste is the main problem.

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