The other side of Prescott

Richard Charpentier Airstream Blogs, Arizona, Notes from Rich, Photography 2 Comments

boozebott (1 of 1)

A plastic vodka bottle sits on the concrete after someone's "good night."

As any reader of this blog knows, I am a huge fan of Prescott.  I really do enjoy this town and what it has to offer.  Cute downtown, great recreation, the Granite Dells, Granite Mountain, Lynx Lake, etc, etc, etc.  You’ve heard me sing the praises of Prescott for a long time now.  And the praises are sincere.

Unfortunately, there is another side to Prescott that gets me down sometimes.  We’ve got a homeless issue to be sure, and coupled with that of course, alcohol and drugs.  It’s a shame really, but it’s a problem that pops up in any city.

Let’s not forget, we’ve got Whiskey Row as well.  Not throwing the row under the bus by any means, but we do see our fair share of folks being beer goggled, especially during the evening.  I remember one of our shows recently where I went out to the back of the Firehouse Plaza for a moment, and as I came around the corner toward the garage I found a guy relieving himself through the railing into the Firehouse Plaza.  Lovely, just lovely.

So, this morning when I came down the steps of the parking garage I found an emptied vodka bottle lying next to the steps.  A party hound leaving his bottle behind, a street person’s daily dose?  Who knows.  It just caught my eye, and after I got my bags put away in the gallery I returned to shoot a few photos.

The photographic fine line

For quite a while now I’ve wondered about some other photographic ideas I’ve had.  Early mornings on the Yavapai Courthouse square I’ve seen folks sleeping on benches, nodding off on the courthouse steps, etc.  Folks pan handling, playing a guitar for money, etc, can be seen regularly in town.  And I’ve wondered about taking a few pictures.  Just don’t know about the “line” there.

One time I was taking a picture of Whiskey Row in the morning, and a homeless guy thought I was taking his photo and started yelling that I owed him money for the photo.  Uh, didn’t take your picture pal……

I understand model releases, consent, and the rest.  But how do you approach a person tweaked out on meth regarding taking a real life photo?  Do you do it at all?

There are a lot of stories in the faces I see on the streets here.  While I’d like to relay the stories further through images and here on the blog I just don’t want to do the wrong thing.  So, I’ve held off on that type of photography for the moment.  Maybe some day I’ll figure it out and share it here.

And please don’t get me wrong.  There’s a great deal I love about Prescott.  It’s a great town.  But it’s not perfect, and I see that imperfection on a daily basis when I’m in town.  Just a reality of the world I suppose.

Comments 2

  1. I’ve always been against exploiting people in that condition/situation. If they asked me to photograph them I would, but I wouldn’t ask them. If you do want to shoot them you should most definitely compensate them, but I don’t think I would feel comfortable giving a drunk/drug addict money.
    The nights are starting to cool off so they will be making there way back to Phoenix soon, but I agree, it’s a real bummer some times.
    .-= Josh´s last blog ..The Light Orb =-.

  2. I’ve been told, casually, by a lawyer that people in public may be photographed & the pictures may be used for strictly non-commercial uses. Public behavior is, after all, right in front of God & everybody. However, there might be a fine line about what is commercial (i.e., does your blog include those little Google ads?) On the other hand, a newspaper certainly is free to use such shots– and presumably also on its web site as well.

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