It is Christmas eve, snow outside and the earth is still functioning as before the planned apocalypse the 21st of December 2012. I have been through 24 of my shots the past five or six years. It might not be the best work I’ve done, but I hope it might give you an idea of how much work you must go through in making a shot that stands out from the rest. I hope you also have learned some basic techniques and picked up some tips on how to do a photo shoot in form of planning location, selecting models, giving your shots a story with the light setup and the camera techniques you use.
This is the last photo I will review in my advent calendar of 2012. It is a shot that might be a bit cliché with a cliché story behind, but I like it very much and it gives me a feeling that I did what I was suppose to as a human being. Having reviewed another shot from my trip down to Morocco, this was shoot in Marrakesh. Pre story; in the winter 2011 I went on a field trip with my class from school to Morocco, staying in Marrakesh for four or five days to do a photo documentary of life inside of the Medina, old town. Then continuing to Essaouira for a few days just relaxing.
This was the last day before leaving Marrakesh, I had almost a complete series with both group portraits, action documentary shots of people traveling, intimate portraits, street photography and overview of everyday life, but was missing “the one” portrait everybody shoots in this documentary class; a portrait of an old, sad, poor man with prune skin and no teeth. I’ve been wandering around town for some days looking for the perfect motive, but didn’t really find what I was looking for until this last day. In a corner of a small square he sat leaned against a wall not doing anything, but watching as people passed by doing their everyday things. I made eye contact and lifted the camera and looked at him, he nodded and I approached him. As a norm here you pay your subjects a little fee to have their photo taken, this man had hoped to get some money for having his portrait taken. Another man shouted at me as I approached the beggar. In poor English he made clear that I needed to pay him in order to have a shot of the poor man. I payed and as I was preparing my camera, two younger boys took position on each side of me, I didn’t bother with them at first. When I was done photographing the beggar, one of the boys told me in a strict tone; You need to pay the beggar, twice the amount I payed the other man watching over him. Since it wasn’t such a big deal for me I gladly payed up and left the whole situation. Just before turning the corner walking towards the hotel I turned around to see if the beggar was okay. It was then I noticed the two boys hitting him and grabbing the money I just gave him and ran of. I got a bit angry and was about to run after the two boys, but in the back of my head many scenarios played quickly through my head; one ended with me in a pool of blood in an ally.
I decided to take a stroll around the block and come back sneaking up to the beggar to see if he was all right. I sat down next to him. He was crying. I felt bad to have put him in this situation. I looked around and in secret gave him the last of my change I had with, not much, but I believe twice the amount the boys ran of with. He smiled briefly and I shot this portrait of him. Leaving in a quick manner I crossed the square and sat down on a bench opposite of where the beggar sat. I watched him for a while in case the boys or other bullies came back. They didn’t.
Take someones portrait, give something in return.