Some choose

Earl Moore Photography

A choice - living at rock bottom

We’ve all heard the term “hitting rock bottom.” There are many ways people handle that impact. Many will pick themselves up and work their way upward by their own inner strength and character. Others need a little help to rid themselves of the cause for the crash before proceeding with their climb and hopefully eventual better lives.

But there are those who choose to live and remain at “rock bottom.” No hopes, no dreams and no future disappointments — refusing long term help, only accepting day-to-day food or shelter. It’s for these the term “you can’t help/save everyone” was coined.

This is a scene I pass many days as I go into work and one day I decided to do a shoot from the hip photo to record the scene. This is an elderly woman who will accept only daily food and nightly shelter, no long term help.

By | 2017-12-21T15:40:23+00:00 June 24th, 2011|Of Photography and Philosophy|14 Comments

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  1. Don 24 Jun ’11 at 10:59 am - Reply

    I strong, vivid street scene shot of this person that has opted out of the system. I guess I admire that kind of resolve, but I wonder what is to become of these folks over a longer time. Nice shot.

    • Earl 26 Jun ’11 at 10:47 pm - Reply

      Don, I don’t think most of the time it’s something to admire. So often there is either mental issues, fear or some type of dependency driving these type of decisions. I think in this particular case there are mental issues.

  2. pj 24 Jun ’11 at 3:16 pm - Reply

    Very moving photo Earl. I see the same scene dozens of times a day here in LA. Daily food and shelter is a short-term fix of course, but the homeless population is so large that resources aren’t available to help more than a few even if these folks accepted long-term help. Some would, but have given up hope on ever getting it. You can see in their lifeless eyes that all hope for the future has been sucked right out of them. It’s a huge problem, and like Don said, one wonders what will become of them.

    • Earl 26 Jun ’11 at 10:53 pm - Reply

      PJ, Yes, I’m sure you’ve seen many similar sights there in LA. Homelessness is becoming a chronic problem just at the time when some politicians are trying to make political brownie points by cutting many social safety nets. I’m afraid the future is not bright for many of them.

  3. Anita Jesse 24 Jun ’11 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    A powerful statement and a quite a sad one. I don’t think we will ever fully understand all that is at work in the minds and hearts of these sad beings. It does seem clear that some people have gone to a place beyond help. But, how can we be certain who falls in that category?

    • Earl 26 Jun ’11 at 10:56 pm - Reply

      Anita, I certainly can’t claim to understand their thinking because I’ve never found myself in their place, thank goodness. It’s hard to walk past another human being in that shape each day knowing there’s nothing you can do.

  4. NR | ExP 24 Jun ’11 at 5:46 pm - Reply

    You have to wonder what has happened in someone’s life to go down such a path. Emotional street scene captured Earl, sadly too often and too many these days.

    • Earl 26 Jun ’11 at 10:57 pm - Reply

      NR, yes it does many you wonder. Sometime you can tell that alcohol or drugs played a large part in the downward spiral but in other cases it’s not so clear. Way too many these days.

  5. Mark 24 Jun ’11 at 7:11 pm - Reply

    Sad scene indeed. Brings to mind so many questions, few answers.

    • Earl 26 Jun ’11 at 10:59 pm - Reply

      Mark, even if there was an answer I’m not sure it would make sense to us. Often there are mental issues at work.

  6. Monte Stevens 25 Jun ’11 at 11:15 am - Reply

    WOW! Talk about a photo that offers a hundred story lines. It is also way to common a scene. I have no idea of their personal story of why they are in such a situation. For me that is not the way to enjoy what life does have to offer us, more of an escape. If alcohol or drugs are part of their lives then there is a physical and spiritual malady involved. Some of us can see the bottom while some of us just keep digging our holes.

    Another common scene are those who work to make lots of money, attain stuff, live in mansions and may not truly live life or enjoy it. I encountered a business man on one of our flights yesterday, who has frequent flyer status, and was not a happy man. He complained to us about our product, a give my what I want or deserve attitude. I wonder how much different that attitude is from someone who shows up daily for a meal and place to sleep. Passengers around him were rolling their eyes at his attitude and treatment of us. I wonder when he will touch his bottom, put the shovel down and begin to live life.

    Again, Earl, a powerful image!

    • Earl 26 Jun ’11 at 11:02 pm - Reply

      Monte, thanks. I don’t know what makes some fall and not get up while other do. Many do have some type of dependency working against them in their lives. Good point about the people who try to live their lives through their possessions.

      Thanks again.

  7. Ken Bello 25 Jun ’11 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    This is a very moving photo, Earl. If you were to guess that many of the homeless have mental health issues, possible off meds, you’d be right I’m afraid. In Minnesota, it was common to see the homeless taking shelter in enclosed public garages and sky-ways, especially during winter. In a perfect society, there would be a place for them, but we’re far from that. Not even close.

    The “shot from the hip” is very well composed. I doubt if I have that kind of ability but it might be an interesting challenge to try.

    • Earl 26 Jun ’11 at 11:04 pm - Reply

      Ken, I think your “guesses” would be correct in many cases. It’s sad and in many cases hard to understand the motivations and reasons.

      Only about one in ten of these hip shots I make are usable but practice does help. 🙂

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