Helen Warnod  

One Man's Treasure by Helen Warnod

November 2021 - One Man's Treasure

November 2021 - Helen Warnod


About the Image(s)

Gear: Canon 6D Mark II, Lens: Canon 400mm

Settings: Manual, f/7.1, 1/30, ISO-160

Taken: 25 April 2019

This photograph was taken in ‘Happyland’; the slums of Manila in the Philippines. People make their homes amongst the garbage. They collect anything that they can reuse or sell. I asked this male subject permission to take his photo.

I squatted as low as I could to get to his eye level. I had trouble processing this in colour due to the tank up on the top right. I framed it up in Photoshop and used NIK Silver Efex Pro 2. I felt it had more drama in Mono. I wanted to eliminate the other tourists on the right-hand side background, but the photograph lost its balanced composition. I find them less noticeable in mono. I want to use this image for Photojournalism competition, so I couldn’t ‘eliminate’ or alter the image.

I’d be interested in your opinions.

I have a series on Happyland on my blog if you’d be interested to see more https://helen.aminus3.com/image/2019-05-10.html

This round’s discussion is now closed!
7 comments posted

Sunil Mehta   Sunil Mehta

Good you converted in monochrome, looks good. I checked your blog, other photos are also good, I liked the one "old man standing next to a bike and little girl in yellow"
  Posted: 11/02/2021 20:39:56
Helen Warnod   Helen Warnod
Thanks Sunil!   Posted: 11/02/2021 21:40:59

Terry Walters   Terry Walters
Hi Helen

An emotional image showing how these guys are living and this image reports it well.

I like the colour image too, as long as the highlighted sky can be darkened down sufficiently, and I don't see the figures on the right or the tower as a problem as they are quite mooted.

I also agree with your decision to crop out the black sack on the left as in the mono version.

The Mono version for me though looks to be over sharpened, especially for his face.

  Posted: 11/05/2021 12:04:06

Brenda Fishbaugh   Brenda Fishbaugh
I love it! The mono is fantastic! It tells such a sad story. I do agree with Terry that it seems a bit over sharpened. How I created my pic this month is a sharp layer and an unsharp layer, created a mask and then selectively brushed off the sharpening where I didn't need it. That might work for this. So proud of you to photograph in Happyland and look poverty in the eyes.   Posted: 11/05/2021 20:14:43

Mitch Ross   Mitch Ross
Very powerful image and story Helen. nicely captured, not much to add photographically. very much agree with your decision to go mono. thanks for sharing this!   Posted: 11/06/2021 16:38:54

Jason Kravitz   Jason Kravitz
Powerful portrait Helen and good choice to get down at eye level with your subject. I like the B&W conversion as well which brings out the many textures of the man, his cart, and the surrounding scene.

I'm on the fence about the figures in the background. They do provide a good contrast as they seem to be wearing more touristy clothing / backpack, vs the local man. But I think they would serve the overall image better if they were either more prominently featured in the frame, or cropped / cloned out.   Posted: 11/13/2021 06:10:58

Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
(Group 32)
You captured an honest scene here, and it is well done.
What interests me most about it is not what we see in the image, but what the man in the image sees in us (actually, you, since he only saw you at the time) and by extension what he thinks about everyone in your class or caste, whether Pilipino or foreign.
Not many photographs catch this quality of the subject looking out from the photograph (Google "Robert Mapplethorpe Death Head" to see Mapplethorpe's self-portrait the year before he died, for a splendid example of this).
The man in your photograph looks intently at us and does not hide his painful difficulty, and possibly his resentment for the inequity of his and our circumstances. He looked that way at you at the time, and thanks to your excellent photography work, he now looks that way at all of us forever, even after his death.   Posted: 11/23/2021 19:03:15