An Old Woman in Chinatown

An Old Woman in Chinatown

I was biking back to the Manhattan Bridge this morning down Henry Street this morning when I passed this elderly Chinese woman hobbling along. About a half block up I saw this interesting lot- I've shot here before because I like the layers you can see in the buildings. Well, I thought for a minute about whether it was right to ambush an old woman as she passed through the shot. This is what Cartier-Bresson called "baiting the trap"- and he had no problems with it. But sometimes I have a moral hesitation- especially when the subject seems vulnerable. I ended up taking the picture.


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Fantastic. Simply fantastic.

Unethical if you ask me. This woman is interesting because of her posture, otherwise she adds nothing to the image. You totally ambushed her and reasoned it would help the shot of the buildings, which it doesn't, IMHO.


Oh yes, quite fantastic. That's exactly what I see in her eyes.

I love it. This is a photo I would have taken myself. She's in a public area. I have no problem with this at all.

Like this one. @ Michelle, if the lady had a "normal" posture you had no problem with it? Maybe this is the way not discriminate the lady because of her posture.

i think it's spot on just the way it is. it's depicting new york city. the city is more than just a bunch of buildings. she looks like the face of "real" chinatown to me.

How many shots did you fire off? And of those shots, why did you pick this one? And is it the taking of the photo that matters or is it the publishing of it?

I fired off four frames- she was actually moving pretty fast. I picked this one because it's the only one where she was looking at the camera- and she was standing at a rule-of-thirds intersection in the frame.

At least she's not trapped in Europe.


why in Europe?

Well, you asked if it was "wrong" on Twitter. I wouldn't say wrong, but it's just sort of contrived compared to a lot of the stuff I see here. The fact that she is looking at the camera (and that's the one that you picked) might back that up. This picture might be more about the photographer and less about what the photographer saw. That said, I kind of dig the orange bag in her hand vs. the orange bag on the fence.

I have no problem with this at all. You say you took four shots, and you chose to post the one you thought was best. You're the photographer; it's your choice. Also, this is a street in NYC. New Yorkers inadvertently walk in front of cameras every day.

a thoughtful shot: decrepit humanity set against dilapidated buildings.

an amateur question: in the video i saw of you (WNYC street shots), your lens has a square filter frame. what is it called?

that's a cokin-p filter setup- it's great for shooting landscape b/c you can put in the cheap graduated neutral density filters and darken the sky when you shoot outside. i wish i had one for my 17-40 lens, but the one that fits it is enormous and still clips on 17mm.


great shot.Why you are talking about Europe.It looks like in north China.Great picture.

Haha, great shot mate! Classic!

this is the first shot of yours in a very long time that i've thought to be worth my time looking at. not saying you're a shitty photographer or that i have very high standards in taste; just being honest. next time don't hesitate.

I saw you in the street shots video, so I searched you up. I'm glad I did, this is fantastic.

I have no problem with you taking the shot. However I have to admit that I think it would have been better if she wasn't looking at the camera.

I think it is an amazing picture. There is nothing wrong with taking this old woman's picture. Think about Diane Arbus!

I love this photo. I love the photo of the old woman. I love the expression on her face. I love where she is standing. I love it all.

I don't give a crap about the other stuff I like looking at this photo. I think the whole thing works. I wish I took it.

Call me weird, but like Matt, I do love the juxtaposition of the two orange bags. I don't think it's contrived, though--it's seizing the moment when it appears. The picture is reality--and that's what really makes it interesting to me.

Great Shot....a Bressen moment for sure. I actually found you through a search on you tube and your street photography video...great stuff..... a very amateur photographer myself and very interested in street photography. could you recommend a good workshop locally in the 5 boro's?

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