Jide Alakija

20 Sep 2006 1,984 views
 
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photoblog image £1 for orange juice, £10 for photo
£1 for orange juice, £10 for photo|

£1 for orange juice, £10 for photo

I came across this Orange Juice merchant two weeks ago in  Camden Town market. He was selling orange juice for a pound. His store was so colourful that you just had to take a photograph of it. Okay I've omitted the colour in this one because the colour version didn't look pretty as I'd like it to be. Anyway this is probably one of the best Black and white portraits I've ever processed. I think that's because it was a very sunny day.

Back to this merchant. He had a few visits from Tourists who just wanted to take photographs with him. I thought I'd do the same too but this time OF him and his store. He demanded that I pay him £10!!! I said "WHAT!" He said again, in a very strong Jamaian accent, "£10 for you my broda"......I said, "man my brother if that's the case you should be giving me the photo for free", he shook his head and said "No". I then started to put the camera back into my bag then he tugged me.....the rest is history. I didn't pay for this one but he sure did know how to drive a bargain. I did wonder though, why he tried to charge me and not the tourist. Was it because I had a DSLR? Was it because "I is black too"? Strange. Okay this one is open to discussion guys.

My day: Nada, just working on a few projects I have at the moment, oh I loaded the film camera I borrowed from Abi today and took a few shots with it, until the batteries ran out. To those of you that use Film SLR's the fact that the battery is run down is it a case of just simply renewing the battery and carrying on? Or is that the end of the film? Micki I need your advice here.

comments (31)

  • Suby
  • Milton Keynes, UK
  • 20 Sep 2006, 00:21
All I can say is keep thinking this is a "she" grin Sweet shot. tongue
Suby
Jide Alakija: Thanks Suby.
  • Ari
  • United Kingdom
  • 20 Sep 2006, 00:42
lovely lovely shot. Good call on the black and white, especially if the coloured version doesnt do this great shot justice. Well done smile

About the merchant ...maybe you looked rich that day smile
Jide Alakija: Thanks Ari.
  • adebanji
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • 20 Sep 2006, 01:37
arent you afraid of getting robbed while carrying your camera gear around?
i bought a 30D,but yet to fully utilise it because of time constraints and the high level of crime in trinidad.Nice pic,but it doesnt do the oranges much justice.It could be any citrus from what i see in the pic.i wonder if there is software now which can allow you to select what you want on a pic in color and leave the rest monchrome. Just like SIN CITY.
Jide Alakija: Thanks Adebanji. Wow! You've really stepped up with the 30D, enjoy it.

Remember the focus of the shot is the merchant and not the oranges and that's why I converted it to b/w, I don't think it matters what's in the background.
  • Abi
  • United Kingdom
  • 20 Sep 2006, 01:52
I absolutely love this shot...I am not going to stae the obvoius because you can tell,. but, I think colour separation would of worked well
Jide Alakija: Don't know if you've noticed but I'm not a fan of selective saturation/colour seperation shots. So I don't do them. :d
  • nev
  • Australia
  • 20 Sep 2006, 02:01
Great shot. love the clarity in the face and the little specs of light coming through the hat. He probably asked you for money for a number of reasons. It would be harder to say that to the first person but if it is starting to become a habit then it makes it easier. Maybe because you are black was the reason he did ask you and not the touristicos because he thought he had a connection with you.

My father is a pacific islander and he often gets asked for money when he goes back to his island because it is easier to ask that person you have a connection with however tenuous.

I know you don't owe the guy anything but if you printed a copy on an injet and were near there again i think he would probaly appreciate seeing what your skilful eye/hand has achieved.As for the battery then the film will not expose unless it is getting light in so changing the battery is not a problem. I have left film in cameras for months + before and no real issues. It wasn't velvia though. if you did a mid roll rewind you couldn't go back to that point.
Jide Alakija: Good point Nev, I'm sure that the fact that we are of the same colour means it's easier to relate and form a connection. Though I do ask if that's a justified way to make money off another person. In some way it's not fair. It's different if he asked me for help based on our connection but trying to make money off me seems rather unfair.

Thanks for the tip on the camera, I was worried that since I was changing the battery mid shooting it would loose the position of the film and therefore be rendered unusable.
  • atunbi
  • United Kingdom
  • 20 Sep 2006, 02:37
alakija, helloooooooooooooooooo, wakey wakey.
Jide Alakija: Morning sir.
  • sk
  • UK
  • 20 Sep 2006, 06:17
very nice, like what U did with the B&W
Jide Alakija: Thanks.
  • chunter
  • Salisbury, Wiltshire. UK
  • 20 Sep 2006, 08:57
Super shot - crisp and well exposed; just look at all those different whites!

I find that more and more people are asking for money for photos, especially abroad. In this case I would probably have bought an orange juice from him, but under no circumstances, certainly in this country, would I give money for a shot unless I was hiring a professional model. If you are in a public place, there's no law to stop you doing it, as far as I'm aware. Although I hear that if you try to use a tripod in the better known parts of London, you may be told you need permission or to pay a fee. Apparently it's a safety risk - people may trip over your tripod. But apparently it's safer if you've paid a fee to the authorities. Don't get me started! Oh, you already have!!!

Film, batteries? No bother - change them just the same as you would in your digi. If the film does rewind (it may do in some cameras when you start up with new batteries) you can go back to (roughly) where you were. Stick it manual mode, put the lens cap on and snap away in a dark place until you reach where you were before. Add a couple of blank frames for safety. Don't forget to take the lens cap off again!
Jide Alakija: Thanks Colin,

I'm going to start on the point of being asked to pay when using a tripod. The same thing happened to me when I was at the London Eye. I was asked not to take the shot that if I wanted to I'd have to pay. Now I still didn't understand what that meant, as you say I was in the open space unless you can't take photographs on that land which is theres or is it? I'm going to do it again to get me into trouble and challenge them on this issue.

Thanks for the tip on the camera. I'm learning some new tricks here everytime, I'll be sure to have the shots scanned in to post on my photoblog once I have them finished.
  • chunter
  • Salisbury, Wiltshire. UK
  • 20 Sep 2006, 09:16
I haven't got it myself, keep meaning to, but there's a book recommended by the Bureau of Freelance Photographers called, I think, "The Photographer and the Law". It's relatively inexpensive, so I should go and get one. Armed with it and my tripod, I'd also march down to the London Eye and challenge them, politely at first.

There seems to be a myth that because you are using a tripod you must be a professional and therefore you are going to make money out of sales of [insert subject of photo here], so you must pay for it. Of course my argument would be that, even if I was a professional, by paying a fee I wouldn't be making a profit, if anything, on the sales, now would I?
Jide Alakija: I definitely agree with you, but what's wrong with pros taking photos of statues and landmarks and making money with it? Afterall it's their own interpretation of a scene that they are selling. One that many have seen many times.
  • chunter
  • Salisbury, Wiltshire. UK
  • 20 Sep 2006, 09:49
Nothing wrong at all, as long as you do it from a public place and interfere with no one.

And now, to put the cat among the pigeons; you can stand in a public place and see children, along with everyone else, with your own eyes, so why the big fuss about including them in a photograph? No one has yet adequately explained to me how this can harm them, any more than it would harm, say, the Prime Minister. You see some TV reports where they avoid showing kids faces, or they blur them out. Another report shows them very clearly. What's the difference?
Jide Alakija: Really good point and debate here. I've always wondered about that too, though I do feel that if some stranger was taking photos of my kids (when i have some) I'd feel as if he was taking advantage of their vunrability, I guess that's why it's a problem, kids can't speak for themselves or what do you think?
  • chunter
  • Salisbury, Wiltshire. UK
  • 20 Sep 2006, 10:20
My final comment here for now as work prevails and I think this is probably best moved to the discussion forum now as it's moving off track.

I agree entirely that I too would be worried about a stranger serially singling out any person, child or otherwise, for special attention, although see my own shot: http://chunter.shutterchance.com/photoblog/12364.htm of 3 Aug, of an anonymous child in a very public place which I hope offends no one. If my own child, had I got one, been the subject of this type of shot, I would have no objection and would probably have felt very proud.

All done - back to work now.
Jide Alakija: Just to bother you one more time. I had a look at your shot and I don't think there's anything wrong with it, but then I ask can you sell that shot under the pretext of a candid in a public space? Would you be breaking the law? I have a really lovely shot of a young kid I took in a park but have been too scared to post it for fear that I could be breaking the law.
  • deji77
  • United Kingdom
  • 20 Sep 2006, 10:33
Very lovely shot Jide. Like how you placed him in the context of what he does.
Jide Alakija: Thanks Deji.
Excellent portrait Jide althoug I might have tried to add somedetailin the white clothing as to the folds and creases if possible.
My philosophy as a professional photographer is that if someone is in a public place there can be no expectation of privacy as so often has been ruled by the courts of many free nations with the exception of Canada for commercial use. As for tripods and "professionals" I know that, or at least it used to be, that in the U.S.National Park system you must get a permit and pay a fee as well as many cities that find this a way to add income to their coffers.. It is a shame that photography and the use of specialized equipment has created this travesty..I myself have stopped using a tripod and developed a way to shoot handheld at extremely slow speeds at times, as well as use "natural" tripods wherever I can.
Jide Alakija: So the question now comes again, who controls these rights? Where are the boundaries? I like your park example, does this mean that if I took a shot outside the park of a structure inside I'd be "tresspassing"?
  • micki
  • United States
  • 20 Sep 2006, 12:00
That is a really interesting story, I'm not sure I would've stayed around to take the photo after that. Not only did you, but you got a great portrait! Did you buy any juice?

Chunter was correct, I just remove the old batteries and pop in the new. Last week I had to replace the batteries in my Maxumm 9000 midroll and had to pop off the motordrive to do so, no worries. With the motor drive on, that camera uses ten batteries (AA), I think, plus another six of the button batteries on the program back! It's my heaviest camera, without the lens on! If I add the lens and the flash and then have the flash on a control grip...we're talking some serious weight!!
Jide Alakija: Thanks Micki. I'd be very interested to know exactly how much that camera weighs.
  • Steve
  • United Kingdom
  • 20 Sep 2006, 12:13
Interesting discussion going on here. Personally, I don't think this is your best B&W conversion. It's all great with the exception of his T-shirt and his right side of his jacket which are way too light, as in nearly blown out, for my taste. I find the image as a whole suffers by the apparent hole under his face. If there was the same texture/detail in those areas as there is in his left side of his jacket it would be outstanding.
Jide Alakija: Very very good point Steve. I used a fillin flash to eluminate his face so that bit worked fine but I think in doing so I lost some information below his head.
Interesting debate and as it works out, the guy on my blog for today also asked for money - about £2 equivalent. I paid him and he posed (body language in the photo says it), all the time chattering away about his family and life there in the semi-dessert. In his case he also runs a 'shop' of a sort, selling khoisan artefacts and photo poses. Did I feel I have to pay him? No, but I did and he was nice and posed for the opportunity. Legal aspects? Yes surely that what is in public domain can come on to a photo, why not? I could have walked away some distance, used the zoom and captured him on the photo without paying while he was maybe selling something to a next customer. However I would not have the interpersonal contact and no memory, name or something to put to the photo.

As encore he then asked his grand children to do the rain dance for me - no charge. This photo will come up on tomorrows blog.

My personal feeling is that when you come up to this kind of situation you have a choice - to pay or not to pay. The other guy has a choice - to stand still for your entertainment or not. So you play the moment as it happens. I must confess that it is quite possible that another time I would have just driven away, ignoring the photo opportunity.

Last thought. The money the orange guy charges may be 'nuisance charges'. That can happen if somebody is asking you to be available for a photo every now and then. Charging a fee can be a great deterant.
Jide Alakija: Good comment and I look forward to your post tomorrow. I have another shot from this same outing where I did have to pay the sitter for the shot. I didn't have to pay £10 though. I think what put me off was the fact that he didn't charge the tourist but decided to charge me.
  • Jon
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 20 Sep 2006, 12:56
Go back and see him Jide. Tell him that you'll give him a tip for £10. When he pays you, say, "Jon Swainson says you look like a woman, lose the hat".

As for the picture, the tones on his (her) face are great but I'm not keen on the blown out highlights on the hat and shirt (blouse) wink
Jide Alakija: LMAO! Jon, I think I'll print it out and give it to him for a few of £10. If he doesn't take it then I'll say we are even, just keep it.

Sorry about the blown hightlights.
hey jide,

it takes a really secure man to wear a hat looking like that!!! i really like the expression that you captured on his face. i think that the shirt is a bit blown out and could be toned down a bit. as for the 10 pounds (sorry, no pounds key in the us), maybe he thought you were a reporter and figured he would exploit you for all that he could.
  • Sinem
  • Milton Keynes, UK
  • 20 Sep 2006, 17:10
Dude, it's cos 'you is black' and God knows and God forbid, as a shady black man in the east end of London, what you may get up to with a photo of his/her pretty face to make money off his back - he had to get his cut, you see, before you went on to sell his photo on to a dodgy character with a PHD (Passport Handling Degree) in 419.
smile
The issue of taking photos in public places? Don't get me started on that. I got stopped by two beefy security men at MK Shopping Centre last spring and told, in a very aggressive manner, I had to have permission to shoot inside as it was a 'private property'... Yeah right! I pointed out to them my husband, who had done several shoots there before, had never been stopped in such an outrageous manner. This time, the beefy security men said they didn't care, and I had to come back on Monday (It was a Saturday) to the info desk to apply for a pass. When I pointed out the info desk was open and asked why I couldn't apply today, they were about to send me packing which I refused until I could speak to their manager, who was admittedly much more conciliatory and milder in manner. As soon as I got on the phone to Suby to come and back me up, the manager kindly escorted me to his office to give me the permit to shoot.
Funny that, as a young woman at 5.5 with an SLR, you get harassed by two security men who treat you like dirt and when you are a six foot well-built man with the aforementioned SLR, nobody would dare approach you, and suddenly 'private' is 'public' again. smile
Great expression, love it!
  • Samarth
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 20 Sep 2006, 17:37
hmmm....i think its just great business sense, and of course u were holding a dslr....other than that, loving the highlights on this one (am normally a shadow man)....8.75/10(yup, ur that much closer)
cr=9.5/10(just for you my broda)
  • sylvester
  • nigeria
  • 20 Sep 2006, 18:36
there's a strong deflection of light bouncing off his shirt onto his chin that i'm feeling...strongly so too...in a painting, that would look pretty good in cerulean blue. About bargaining...i guess if you sell fotos, you might as well pay for taking them...only when you're desperate that is...lol
  • shooter
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 20 Sep 2006, 20:06
Hi Jide, I have to say this for me anyway is not one of your best shots,I think it's because of the white t shirt and coat, I also find the blown highlights distracting sorry....
As for the film camera what make is it? if the batteries advance the film and are necessary to make it work, there should be no prob, if they are just for the meter, also no prob. Thanks for your recent comments/visits...
  • Petra
  • Netherlands
  • 20 Sep 2006, 21:30
Lovely photo Jide! Maybe a tighter crop would also work...just from his head, with such a face and hat it would make a great portrait..imho
  • Mal
  • United Kingdom
  • 20 Sep 2006, 22:53
Hey Jide, you have unwittingly set off a great debate, took me ages to read all the feed back. Anyway, really love the shot, I lke the perfectly exposed skin detail with the massive contrast in the clothes. Mal
  • david
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 21 Sep 2006, 13:08
to my mind he's asks everyone - if someone pays up then it's a bnous! excellent portrait.
great bw tone, the skin tone and detail r amazing here...great portraitsmile)
Either his clothes are brand-new or he has a good launderer. i love the blacks and whites in this picture.I can almost pick out the silver, shimmering hair on his face. Sheer viewing pleasure.
Found you through...argh, now I can't recall, I was so engaged reading all the thoughtful and lively comments.

Anyway, really really nice work you're doing. Compositionally very fine, and you get an essential presence in your people-pix.

Blown highlights? Well, if there was data in them, would that have contributed much more to the forceful gaze -- the heart of this pic? I think not, and so think the technical feedback, while it may be accurate, is beside the point.
  • Laurie
  • United States
  • 25 Sep 2006, 03:27
That's an amusing story and the shot is amusing. I dig that hat! I like the way you kept the background in focus just enough that it mirrors his hat.
  • Olukemi
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 25 Oct 2006, 22:37
'and we say black people are opportunist.....

like they say "monkey dey work, baboon dey chop monkey suppose chop na".....

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