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Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

A photo I missed in NYC...a homeless man pouring urine down the subway grate

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I was walking at dusk to get to Times Square to do some shooting with my IR camera. After a day of pounding the pavement I was tired and had my IR camera and IR flash in the case. I was going to set up when I got to Times Square. As I got older and had 51 years of shooting on the street, the novelty was kinda wearing off some. I was not as hungry for photos as I once was. When I was hungry I always had camera in-hand. And when you add the IR flash to the mix it is heavier and more of a pain to carry in your hand. 

I'm not the kind of photog that uses a shoulder strap. I only carry a camera in-hand when street shooting.


I'm going into all this detail to tell you the photo I missed was not due to my lack of skill...it was due to laziness. I could have easily got the photo if I had the camera in-hand and IR flash was charged up. That is the kinda photography I am very highly skilled at. But you know the deal with 'ifs'...if grandma had balls she would be grandpa!

Here are 2 examples...both candid. They are from my artist's book 'Living in a Carboard Box' project.



Now, lets get back to the main story...

I was walking by a homeless man that had just got up from his mess of debris and bedding that was piled up against a building. I saw he had a coffee can in his hand. So I kept an eye on him and I turned to see what he was going to do with the can. I saw he poured urine from the can into the subway grate on the sidewalk.

A year later I was still mad for being lazy and missing the shot, so I had my Argentinian artist draw me up a comix to memorialize what I saw and missed capturing. I figured maybe I could let it go and put the regret to rest.


The original scene was not as cheerful as the comix. But it gets the message across. I let the artists that work for me do their thing and don't try to work them to death for a $25 job. That is part of the fun of art, seeing what people come up with on their own after some basic script. If I had the $$ I would have monthly contests for artists to do the same comix script in their own style.

Well, now you know why the subways stink so much. They are not only used as a sewer by people underneath but get bombarded with human waste from above as well.






Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

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