15 October 2012

Anton Brookes on Alienation and Homelessness

Don't Look. Photograph © Anton Brookes.

On a tip from a reader (Thanks, Gus!) I hunted down Anton Brookes who, in addition to the images from what I take to be his day job, has made a series of photographs of homeless denizens of NYC. Brookes clearly is a talented photographer. I recommend that you follow the link above (as well as the links on that page) and check out his work.

That said,  many of Brookes's images, while stark and wrenching, tend to invite compassion and charity rather than a political focus on the political-economic and social factors that (1) turn so many of our fellow citizens out onto the street and (2) render them invisible, or nearly so, once they are there.

This image in particular stands out among those in Brookes's portfolio.  From a stylistic point of view, he seems to have shot the woman sitting with her dog and sign on the sidewalk in black and white - visually the grey makes her seem to recede into the wall. I don't know whether he actually altered the image or not (notice the blue paper on her cup and the green bills inside it). But I find the effect chilling.  Regardless, the image raises the broad question of just who among those Brookes depicts is alienated and/or deviant.

The phrase "You couldn't make this shit up!" is overused. But in this case it is apt.

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Blogger Lester Spence said...

More likely than not he shot in RAW, and in post-processing took away the color from the subject. I'm not sure how, other than perhaps overlaying the image with data, or perhaps another image, he could've gotten at the structural dynamics.

16 October, 2012 11:56  

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