Demeaning? Yes or no?

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    • #414669
      Lenny Wollitz

      I had a comment from one of my most avid fans on this shot… “pictures that demean people, such as the old fat lady in the square hunched over with her dogs”.

      I like the shot and think it tells and interesting story but I’m not going to say more.. “The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words.” I don’t remember who said that but I agree.

    • #414670

      i’d say your avid fan needs to re-evaluate themselves a little more.  rather than an old fat lady i see a pet owner taking her dogs for a walk, her expression tells me she cares for the animals, probably as more than just as animals.

      she reminds me a little of my now deceased grandmother who could barely walk by the end but managed to take her beloved pooch for a walk everyday.

      if you want to see a demeaning photo take a look at any news section on politics.  those togs are fantastic at getting those shots of politicians as they look angry/disgusted with whatever speech they’re sitting through when in actuality it was probably the split second before they yawned or sneezed.

    • #414673
      Rob Eyers

      Short answer …NO.

      I’m with Beth on this one. It’s who we are not what we look like that’s of real value. Fan or not I’d consider the source.

      Her pups look well taken care of too.

      As far as ST …maybe a step to the left would have balanced the tree with the scene a bit more. A touch more paw room too for my taste 🙂 I like your processing on this one Lenny.

    • #414684
      Steve Walker

      My mama used to say “Pretty is as pretty does.” This woman is doing pretty. I see effort to care for young dogs (there is a bit of hope on display in that). The effort is there as it appears she has to figure out how to align a cane and two leashes. Viewers always bring their own predispositions. If we look to pity people, we will often find a way to inject that into the scene. There is a wistfulness here— She seems to have difficulties I wish she didn’t; but that is not demeaning. Life isn’t always pretty. See it. Study it. Reflect upon it. Don’t stop at the first emotion you stumble upon.

      As Rob says, a step to the left might have helped the framing some but moments are fleeting. Good exposure and focus— not easily accomplished in the high contrast conditions you were given. I might also have wished for a somewhat lower POV but kneeling to get the image might not have been possible. Waist high camera position might have done it.

    • #414686

      Yeah, I don’t get that negative take at all. Literally would not have crossed my mind.

    • #414688
      Graham Hart

      Beth is spot on. I fail to see how a random moment captured in camera can demean a person? (The political pics Beth mentions are probably hand-picked from a high-speed sequence of shots to deliberately show pollies in a less than flattering light).

      Take the camera away and the scene is still the same. What is demeaning is the fan’s interpretation of the scene. They saw a fat person. That says something about their mindset. We see a story, a loving connection between human and animal. In seeing this, I feel a hint of that connection myself and so the image lifts me up. Makes me wish I was there to pat the dogs and say hello to that lovely old woman.

      Demeaning? What piffle !%$#! I have no critique but only a desire to see the black dog glance up to meet the woman’s gaze. Next time 🙂

    • #414690
      Lenny Wollitz

      Thanks for the comments everyone!  My commenter uses my photos (free) on a web site that promotes Mazatlan.  Maybe not any more.  This is my response.

      I guess that love is where you see it, if you look for it.   I like to document life here and it is not all chamber of commerce perfect people in perfect situations in new and colorful clothes.  When I saw this lady all I saw was love.  The shot is certainly not appropriate for your site!   However, after your comment with the words demeaning and fat old lady I doubted myself a bit and posed the following question on a website with some of the best photographers around.  I don’t have the right words but the responses say it for me.

      Demeaning? Yes or no?

      Definitely going in a book about the “real” Mazatlan.


    • #414704

      I agree with other folks – I don’t see anything demeaning here, it’s just a candid shot of an old lady with her dogs. I actually like the expression on her face, she seems entertained by her pets and that looks sweet.

    • #414712
      Steve Walker

      Now I see the basis for the person’s response. S/he wants fodder for marketing campaigns and believes tourists may not be attracted to the scene– crass as we tourists are. As we have all been saying– response to a photograph, really any art, is based only partly in the artist’s intention but also in the viewer’s mindset.

    • #414713
      Kent DuFault

      Street photographers, as a group, seem to favor subjects that are down on their luck, poor, vulnerable, unhealthy, or have other personal issues. I belong to several street photography groups on Facebook, and it’s those pictures, which always get a thousand likes compared to others that get from 10 – 40. I’ve always felt the you, Lenny, photograph your subjects with a great degree of grace and a sense of caring. I see no demeaning aspect to this photograph whatsoever, and in fact believe that woman would have enjoyed it, as her love for her dogs is quite evident.

      • #414786
        Lenny Wollitz

        Kent, thank you for your kind comment.  I have been able to connect with the people here.  I will be in The Cities next month but don’t think I will be shooting street shots in an unfamiliar place and not knowing anything about attitudes toward photographers!

    • #414737
      John Thompson

      Lenny in today’s world there are too many people given voice that should STFU!  I agree with the others, I do not see an old fat lady but someone out with their beloved pets and enjoying life.  We all cannot be beautiful people.  I also agree with Kent about how you present yourself through your photography.  Each of your images that contains a person or persons is done with grace and caring.  I like your response to the person making the comments.  Our country today is full of people spewing vial and insensitive comments at someone without concern for the other person.  There are too many, with audience, that have their “feelings”hurt by some trivial thing.  I think your commenter is case in point.

    • #414741
      chris pook

      Agree with all the above.  There can be context in which a perfectly normal photograph can be demeaning, but this is not it.

    • #414759
      Petr Nowak

      I agree too. This is definitely not demeaning. I see story: old lady and her dogs. Positive meaning.

    • #414761
      Richard Barnard

      Ironically the only person being derogative and demeaning here is the person who chose to use the pejorative phrase ’fat old lady’ to describe your subject. I don’t see any intent on your part to exploit this lady and seems to me you have captured a genuine moment of warmth between her and her two dogs. Incidentally I believe the quote is by Elliott Erwitt.

    • #414775
      Steve Walker

      John was saying he did NOT see a fat old lady, believing, I think rightly, that the critic saw that and only that.

    • #414784
      Lenny Wollitz

      WOW, I guess this answers my question!  Thanks!  BTW, I shot this with permission.  The lady that made the comment is a friend and sponsored our Photo Scavenger Hunt on her website and we collected a goodly sum for an abused girls home.

    • #415008
      Robert Apple

      Your Photo was recognized in the Members Picks Week of July 22 Forum  ⬅ Click Here

    • #416541

      one of your best…………..old lady loving,and revolving around her dogs! 🙂

    • #416581
      Federico Alegria

      People these days get offended by anything, this is a great shot Lenny, and quite the opposite to that comment, I think this photo excels this woman by showing us her love towards her dogs.

    • #416585
      Lynne Guenther

      Anyone who thinks this is demeaning is revealing more about who they are then who she is or who you are. Her and her family works probably love this photo.

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