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A Banker Whose Photos Tell the Stories of Bronx Prostitutes
Old 02-21-2012   #1
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A Banker Whose Photos Tell the Stories of Bronx Prostitutes

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20...ait-at-a-time/


What do you think of this? Do you feel that the subjects are being exploited?
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Old 02-21-2012   #2
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Disappointing stuff really hardly "in depth" journalism, I was hoping for Dominique Strauss-Kahn again
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Old 02-21-2012   #3
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HOPING? AGAIN?

Aaaargh....

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Old 02-21-2012   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Araakii View Post
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20...ait-at-a-time/


What do you think of this? Do you feel that the subjects are being exploited?
Are they being exploited? Sure, in some form... but it's better than exploiting them for sex no? Also, is it being implied that he's exploiting them more so because of his job and income?
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Old 02-21-2012   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Araakii View Post
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20...ait-at-a-time/


What do you think of this? Do you feel that the subjects are being exploited?
"Pardon me ma'am, but do you mind if I take your picture with my camera that costs as much as you make in three months while you, ahem, 'holla for a dolla?'"

To a certain extent what he does is exploitative. On the other hand, he does ask permission. However, the story of Nina, the 17 year old prostitute that he paid $20 to take her photo. I would call that exploitative. That girl didn't have a choice but to take that $20, and I can guarantee that it didn't do her any favors. Instead, it just reinforced her position as a street worker. It wasn't an opportunity to change her life, it was just another John paying for her services.

A part of me feels like this guy is pretending to be a NatGeo photographer in an urban jungle, giddy at the idea of showing his privileged friends his most recent adventures into the bad side of town. So, what happens when his friends see his work? Do they decide to help? Do they say "oh gee, that's terrible, someone who isn't me should do something about that." Or, does he actually inspire people to help make a difference?

The other part of me wants to commend him for his boldness. What he is doing does not come without risk. He could be assaulted by a pimp, or robbed. He is likely not immune to attack just for befriending a few of the girls on the corner. Then again, maybe he fancy's this idea as a form of gratification for what he does so that he can say, "look, I took a risk and I paid for it with blood."

I think what it boils down to is that he pays for their time. In the end, he is just another John supporting and exploiting their way of life. He really isn't helping them. What he is doing could put these girls at risk of assault from their pimp's or worse. They carry that risk after he retires to the comfort of his privileged life. While he sits at home editing his photos, those girls are still down on the corner, putting their life on the line, and their lives are no better for having pandered to his whims.
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Old 02-21-2012   #6
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ooh boy, I can see where this post is going.
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Old 02-21-2012   #7
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HOPING? AGAIN?

Aaaargh....

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Old 02-21-2012   #8
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Originally Posted by Creagerj View Post
"Pardon me ma'am, but do you mind if I take your picture with my camera that costs as much as you make in three months while you, ahem, 'holla for a dolla?'"

To a certain extent what he does is exploitative. On the other hand, he does ask permission. However, the story of Nina, the 17 year old prostitute that he paid $20 to take her photo. I would call that exploitative. That girl didn't have a choice but to take that $20, and I can guarantee that it didn't do her any favors. Instead, it just reinforced her position as a street worker. It wasn't an opportunity to change her life, it was just another John paying for her services.

A part of me feels like this guy is pretending to be a NatGeo photographer in an urban jungle, giddy at the idea of showing his privileged friends his most recent adventures into the bad side of town. So, what happens when his friends see his work? Do they decide to help? Do they say "oh gee, that's terrible, someone who isn't me should do something about that." Or, does he actually inspire people to help make a difference?

The other part of me wants to commend him for his boldness. What he is doing does not come without risk. He could be assaulted by a pimp, or robbed. He is likely not immune to attack just for befriending a few of the girls on the corner. Then again, maybe he fancy's this idea as a form of gratification for what he does so that he can say, "look, I took a risk and I paid for it with blood."

I think what it boils down to is that he pays for their time. In the end, he is just another John supporting and exploiting their way of life. He really isn't helping them. What he is doing could put these girls at risk of assault from their pimp's or worse. They carry that risk after he retires to the comfort of his privileged life. While he sits at home editing his photos, those girls are still down on the corner, putting their life on the line, and their lives are no better for having pandered to his whims.
... I'd have typed that if I had the patience
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Old 02-21-2012   #9
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A Wall St banker can do whatever he wants.
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Old 02-21-2012   #10
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... I'd have typed that if I had the patience
I've got patience enough to rant for the masses.
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Old 02-21-2012   #11
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A Wall St banker can do whatever he wants.
It sure seems like that's how the guy feels about it. He seems to feel that paying for their time makes everything ok. I guess he is just a purist in a capitalist state.
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Old 02-21-2012   #12
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It does mention that he volunteered at some community service before he started doing this so it could be that he does have some compassion towards the street workers, but the way he simply stops them and pays them for photos makes me feel like this is just some weird fetish that a rich guy with a lot of free money has.
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Old 02-21-2012   #13
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You know it seems kind of lame. Something about it just isn't that interesting. I kind of feel like this guy got coverage of an over-covered topic. Also.. poignant portraits? eh. I'm no pro but I put this in with covering the homeless. Is that effed up?
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Old 02-21-2012   #14
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So, a few of you are saying that the guy's day job makes it worse?

Also, he seems to be a trader more than a banker. It's been some slim years for a lot of traders... not all traders are good or make a lot of cash. Some traders are very nice people believe it or not. Not everyone on Wall St. is scum... plenty of average wage workers on Wall St. However, it appears he does make some cash based on the fact that they had to say "spacious" about his apartment.

I work on Wall St (Regulation) and don't make six figures. I do live in Manhattan, but in a small studio apartment. I don't own a car, a house, or anthing else worth any cash... besides a M9 and a few lenses. People who aren't from this area tend to look at someone's wages without considering the cost of living in that area (yes, NYC is very high). I'd like to think that I'm still a decent person despite the fact that I work on a particular street.
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Old 02-21-2012   #15
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People are exploiting other people all the time without even realizing it (especially those who type from their high speed internet on a made in somewhere where a the worker got paid $1 a day laptop in a climate controlled abode in first world countries that run on oil provided by totalitarian governments). Those examples are kind of ridiculous but it serves the point because where does "exploitation" begin and end? Just saying, to single out one person for taking pictures of prostitutes is kind've naive. The fact that hes a banker doesn't matter at all. That means anyone with a 401K cannot take pictures of hookers either since their retirement is based on the gains of corporate vampires exploiting others.

The photographer seems sincere and besides a flickr stream doesn't seem to be putting this stuff out there or doing this for any sort of personal gain.
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Old 02-21-2012   #16
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Since this guy is financially successful, is he limited for to what photography projects he can have ?
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Old 02-21-2012   #17
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Well, getting prostitutes to document the work life of wall street bankers would both be more interesting and more of a help in getting them off the streets...
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Old 02-21-2012   #18
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Well, getting prostitutes to document the work life of wall street bankers would both be more interesting and more of a help in getting them off the streets...
I cant argue with this
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Old 02-21-2012   #19
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Quote:
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Well, getting prostitutes to document the work life of wall street bankers would both be more interesting and more of a help in getting them off the streets...
If they are smart, the prostitutes do documents their exploits with bankers in some form... but keep those documents for when the time is right...
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Old 02-21-2012   #20
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If they are smart, the prostitutes do documents their exploits with bankers in some form... but keep those documents for when the time is right...
Ha!

And speaking of Hunts Point, jsrockit, we need to go back soon to "exploit" the decrepit urban landscape. Im actually glad the hookers are still sleeping when Im there
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Old 02-21-2012   #21
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I didn't go all the way through his pictures, not my taste at all. They reminded me of the snaps that get circulated around the web of unusual looking people photographed in Walmart, 'shot from the hip', most likely by kids on their mobiles.

When I saw he'd got a Flickr set titled 'NYC Bikes' I was expecting more of the same, but was pleasantly surprised. Not by the photo's but crikey, what bikes!
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Old 02-21-2012   #22
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Since this guy is financially successful, is he limited for to what photography projects he can have ?
Nelson
It isn't his financial success so much as it is the economic power that he wields. Like I said before, the worker named Nina who initially refused to have her photo taken and then agreed when he offered her $20 really didn't have a choice but to accept that money.

She is 17, selling her body for sex, and this guy thinks that paying her $20 makes it okay for him to photograph her for his own personal indulgence. How did that action make that woman's life any better? How does that make him any different from a John who wants to pay her for sex?
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Old 02-21-2012   #23
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People are exploiting other people all the time without even realizing it (especially those who type from their high speed internet on a laptop, in a climate controlled apartment or house in first world countries). To single out one person for taking pictures of prostitutes is kind've naive. The fact that hes a banker doesn't matter at all. That means anyone with a 401K cannot take pictures of hookers either since their retirement is based on the gains of corporate vampires exploiting others.

The photographer seems sincere and besides a flickr stream doesn't seem to be putting this stuff out there or doing this for any sort of personal gain.

I don't think I can disagree with this. I think its wrong to single him out for exploitation when these points are considered.
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Old 02-21-2012   #24
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Old 02-21-2012   #25
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Quote:
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She is 17, selling her body for sex, and this guy thinks that paying her $20 makes it okay for him to photograph her for his own personal indulgence. How did that action make that woman's life any better? How does that make him any different from a John who wants to pay her for sex?
She is not 17, she tells him she began hooking when she was 17. Not saying this means anything one way or another but figured Id mention it.
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Old 02-21-2012   #26
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She is 17, selling her body for sex, and this guy thinks that paying her $20 makes it okay for him to photograph her for his own personal indulgence.
Well, indulgence is another matter - if it was that, it would probably a better deal than she usually gets. But he obviously publishes. If it is reportage, it would not be ethical to pay the subjects. On the other hand, if it is considered modeling for publication, it is something like a magnitude below proper payment.
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Old 02-21-2012   #27
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Disappointing stuff really hardly "in depth" journalism, I was hoping for Dominique Strauss-Kahn again
Dom couldn't make it to the shoot, he's in police custody (again).
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Old 02-21-2012   #28
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Maybe he'd have better pictures if he'd wait until they (the girls) were smoking the crack he just enabled them to buy...that would give him a good dose of reality instead of this neurotic fantasy genre of going around photographing hookers...crap this is even worse than going around photographing homeless people or something.
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Old 02-21-2012   #29
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Dom couldn't make it to the shoot, he's in police custody (again).
Really! I thought he'd found a new position in corporate hospitality ...
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Old 02-21-2012   #30
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Does motive matter here?

What if he's a perv that just gets off on seeing women in that situation?
What if he's a genuinely good person that feels he's drawing attention to a sad situation?
What if he just feels like there is a story there worth telling?
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Old 02-21-2012   #31
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I don't think I can disagree with this. I think its wrong to single him out for exploitation when these points are considered.
We are not singling him out specifically. It's just the fact that he got coverage in the NY times and it's a discussion that can extend beyond this one individual.
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Old 02-21-2012   #32
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Does motive matter here?

What if he's a perv that just gets off on seeing women in that situation?
What if he's a genuinely good person that feels he's drawing attention to a sad situation?
What if he just feels like there is a story there worth telling?
The motives definitely matters, but so is the work process that's carried out. I was actually surprised that he could get any shots without paying. It mentions that he usually pays for food for his subjects. I feel like none of his subjects would want to be photographed if it wasn't because of the compensation, and this would be disgusting.
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Old 02-21-2012   #33
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How did that action make that woman's life any better? How does that make him any different from a John who wants to pay her for sex?
She's $20 richer and she didn't have to sleep with him? Seems at least a little less degrading to me. I certainly hope no one here who is on their high horse watches pron...
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Old 02-21-2012   #34
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Really! I thought he'd found a new position in corporate hospitality ...
Quite. That's why he's being questioned by the local plod:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17110618
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Old 02-21-2012   #35
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Overcovered and exploitative, yadada...but he isn't putting caption with 4 figure lenses under shots, someone noticed?
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Old 02-21-2012   #36
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Ha!

And speaking of Hunts Point, jsrockit, we need to go back soon to "exploit" the decrepit urban landscape. Im actually glad the hookers are still sleeping when Im there
Yes, I'm ready when you are... and we have good clean photography fun, no hookers needed.
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Old 02-21-2012   #37
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It isn't his financial success so much as it is the economic power that he wields. Like I said before, the worker named Nina who initially refused to have her photo taken and then agreed when he offered her $20 really didn't have a choice but to accept that money.

She is 17, selling her body for sex, and this guy thinks that paying her $20 makes it okay for him to photograph her for his own personal indulgence. How did that action make that woman's life any better? How does that make him any different from a John who wants to pay her for sex?
Not taking any sides here, although I am not sure I like some of the "class struggle" undertone of some of the discussion here. On a general note, though, if you _read_ the whole article, you'll learn that "Nina" was 17 when she started as a street worker, but is _currently_ 32 (so not a kid)...
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Old 02-21-2012   #38
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She's $20 richer and she didn't have to sleep with him? Seems at least a little less degrading to me. I certainly hope no one here who is on their high horse watches pron...
I think that's sort of how I see it.

Are you going to get her off the streets by NOT giving her money? Is this a situation you can have any profound effect on?
Maybe that night, she ate, or got her drugs, without risking all that she normally risks?
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Old 02-21-2012   #39
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Amazing that in 40 posts, nobody has commented on his photos yet. IMO, if you browse them on flickr, they show that he cares. Not that his motivation matters in the first place, IMO. What matters is if the girls feel exploited and obviously they don't.

Also, how does his day job have anything to do with his subjects being exploited or not ?
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Old 02-21-2012   #40
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Coz everyone knows hookers/homeless are not regular people, therefore shouldn't be photographed.
This is an endless discussion that pops up here every other week and doesn't lead to anything.
Just want to point out that this case is different:

Chris Arnade engages in discussions with his subjects, asks them for permission, helps them with money, and even goes back and gives them prints. When you look at his flickr photos and the acompanying text, they are respectful and fine.

Not the average "street shooter" doing lens tests. Chris does exactly what the membership here usually suggests when it comes to photographing the home-less.

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