Street Signs

Street Signs, 6th Street - Austin, Texas

Street Signs, 6th Street – Austin, Texas

Continuing with my ROT Rally street photography, I happened upon this portrait. And while it looks straight forward, it’s something I haven’t done previously. Let me explain.

I’ve had an unofficial rule that I didn’t want to shoot portraits of people who were down on their luck. Either people on the street or situations where it looks like I was exploiting someone’s bad fortune. For this reason, this is an atypical subject.

In my rapid street photography attempt to capture scenes of interest, I saw this gentleman busily making this sign. What I didn’t realize was his misfortune. He sensed my photography and turned to pose, displaying his handiwork. That’s when I snapped the shutter.

It was a split second portrait but I think I captured a sense of pride. Pride in his sign, even though his circumstances might not be ideal. It’s the kind of portrait that I rarely make. Something that captures true emotion, subtle but unmistakable.

Truth be told, I was a little embarrassed and I hurried away. I also didn’t realize the shot I got until afterwards. I wished I gave him a buck, which is what he was requesting on his other sign. A sign, which I didn’t see, until a few days later.


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5 thoughts on “Street Signs

      1. I don’t know that it’s luck. You’re more than capable as a portrait photographer. There are plenty of easy shots downtown with pretty girls eager to pose. Getting something more genuine like this doesn’t come as easy. Maybe this sort of thing is the next step outside your comfort zone. Doesn’t have to be people down on their luck.

  1. I share your feelings about this subject matter. However, I believe this was an exception to some of the blatant images I see at times that contain such unfortunate individuals. This image tells a story, and in someway perhaps even dignifies the person. You let him know that you acknowledged his existence. Something I am sure many people don’t do. You also said that he and this moment are worth capturing a picture of. Well done.

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