True Colours



Hamilton is a tricky city to do street photography in. As there isn’t much variety in the name of entertainment, and a large persistent poverty rate has kept many citizens short on cash for a few necessities, beer, cigarettes and weed it is too easy to make cliché shots of people just walking around. That’s what Hamiltonians do. We just move about from place to place within city limits.

We wake up, get out of the house or apartment, walk or drive somewhere uneventful in an uneventful way, and walk or drive back. It’s quite rare to see someone so enthused about life that they do backflips or something on their way to a destination, like you might see in a Garry Winogrand picture.

It doesn’t take a psychologist to recognize that most Hamiltonians are bored, and many have said exactly that to me.

As much as I want to show a town of vivacity, I don’t want to have to show the reality that some citizens act like they’re living in a pressure-cooker society and don’t know how to constructively deal with it. Nevertheless . . . there it is.

I had to call the cops for this one. I think it would have gotten nastier if I hadn’t. It wasn’t a play fight. The the danger was real. These two seemed determined to beat the crap out of each other right there in the street.

I have no idea what got this one going.


23 thoughts on “True Colours

  1. A horrible image at the same time is good too.
    But when you write so I get the feeling that it’s a small town you live in. So it’s not. It is province’s third largest city, with a steel industry and a major port. Checked some pictures too, and Hamilton is a fine city, is also near Paris also;) you may took the wrong glasses on you today. It is too dark. But it might get it if not spring to come. Hope the Sun will arrive with you. 🙂

    • You’re so right, Antonia. Hamilton is a big city with small town appeal.

      I find this city has a deep seated inferiority complex. Besides that; which I believe is obvious to most citizens and some non-resident observers, there are issues here that can seriously jeopardize an auspicious future for this city. Despite the concerns, I know all too well that there is a lot of talented and innovative people here; artists and non-artists, who can contribute greatly to the success of this town. Some just need help to get motivated while others are already in positions to motivate others and inspire growth.

      I explore this city as a flâneur, and I use street photography to document my experiences, and convey the stories of lives, living and work conditions, and environments of this city. It is indeed a fine city, and I’m hoping that more of its citizens with take the initiative to find ways to modernize, liven and strengthen this place with or without the help of politicians.

      We have to make the sun shine here.

  2. Superb shot Allan, given the circumstances. I’m not sure which is the more menacing, the bright light or the dark shadows. Amazing isn’t it just how much tension boredom breeds, your photo sizzles with it.

  3. Some people would just videotape this, and put it on youtube. 😀 A gloomy environment you describe there, Allan. I love the honesty to it. My county, Ventura, is not that bad. But the blocks around me are. They also prone to notorious activities, and where cops roam around frequently. I still remained there. I don’t know why. I guess I do believe the good in people. So far, I haven’t been a victim of anything.
    The hard places to walk around in are some places in LA. I couldn’t wander around those kinds of neighborhood and carry my camera. It’s a wonder to me how you do it.

    • That’s because while there is violent crime in Hamilton, it is not rampant here.

      Yes, you must watch your back when you go out in “The Hammer”, and be careful about where you go but 9 times out of 10, you’ll get to your destination and back safe and sound at any time of the day or night. This is one reality that statistics do account for very accurately.

      I know that Compton and South-Central LA had a miserable and highly dangerous reputation back in the late 80’s and 90’s. Change looked pretty hopeless. Has California been able to rectify that at all?

      • I know that LA has been depicted in a lot of crime movies. I do think that it’s lesser but I don’t see it ever leaving. When you think about California LA, there’s always at least one from LA scene.

  4. The Hamiltonians sounds exactly like the people in Oslo. They’re just bored and hurry from place to place. Norwegians are generally a boring bunch: the other day I travelled with 8 colleagues and at one point every single one of them (except me) were sitting and staring quietly at their tablets and mobile devices. No one spoke. Norwegians need alcohol to be able to open their mouths.

    I loved your description of Hamilton and the photo just suits the description perfectly and vice versa.

  5. It’s always sad when people get into clinches like this one. But all the more kudos to you for being able to capture the moment. As you say it’s not easy, but you did capture a strong and telling photo. Well done.

  6. Pingback: Danger: No Nukes 1982 | What's (in) the picture?

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