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Poverty in America: Your Backyard
3rd PlacePoverty in America: Your Backyard
mgarsteck


Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Photojournalism IV (Minimal Editing I*)
Camera: Canon EOS-40D
Lens: Canon EF 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5
Location: Skid Row, Los Angeles CA
Date: Aug 25, 2010
Aperture: 5.6
ISO: 320
Shutter: 1/640
Date Uploaded: Aug 30, 2010

Shot in Skid Row Los Angeles. This is where I do outreach every Saturday. There are about 100,000 homeless people that live here. Honestly this is a raw place and very disgusting.

I used a polarizer filter to get the sky the way I wanted it to be. I also changed the white-balance on my camera to get the right tone.

Im excited, this is my second 4th place. Thanks everyone...


AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! I freakin got a ribbon!!!!!!!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!!!! I've been working so hard lately to get a ribbon and it finally happened. THANKS EVERYONE! This makes my whole month.

Statistics
Place: 3 out of 58
Avg (all users): 6.3684
Avg (commenters): 8.5000
Avg (participants): 5.9286
Avg (non-participants): 6.4444
Views since voting: 2583
Views during voting: 338
Votes: 190
Comments: 22
Favorites: 1 (view)


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AuthorThread
09/22/2010 02:03:29 PM
Aid to the poor, which you talked about, I do agree. I understand how doing certain things ends up hurting the society more than helping. Before I became the site leader, we used to go and pick up trash around skid row. This is an awesome act of service (you'd understand if you saw the place) however, we were doing more harm than good. When the old leader left and I got put in charge, I decided that we werent going to do that anymore. Why? Because it enables them to keep doing what they are doing, they take no personal responsibility for their actions. "Look these guys pick up our trash, lets just keep being filthy," that is why we stopped.

So we still do the food-line and help people out and give them food. You can argue that this also enables people, but I will say that we are causing more good than harm because one part of what we do IS serve and help others. Sometimes a bag of chips and a smile does more than anything else. It is to care that helps people change their lives.

What else do we do? We have programs that get them off of drugs and off the streets. We have programs that help women get away from their pimps and we have a place that victims of domestic violence can go and get healing, physically and emotionally. Its not about giving the food or anything like. Its about providing the opportunity to get out of that cycle. Guess what, it works.
09/22/2010 01:54:40 PM
We are the land of opportunity yes, which may be the reason why you think there is no poverty in America. Because everyone here has an opportunity to exceed.

However, I again will invite you to come to LA and spend time on Skid Row with me and my group. In any society, poverty exists no matter what you might think. Just because 5 cents will buy a lot in a poor African country, doesnt mean it buys you anything here.

Come and talk with these people, while its true there are a good amount of people who choose to live on the streets, there is an even greater number who are desperate to get off the streets and take every chance they get. Even if they get government assistance doesnt mean it at all helps because they are still stuck in their situation, most still cant afford to buy even the cheapest of places to rent and provide for their family.

I would hate for this to happen to anyone, but homelessness can happen to anyone, including you. And if it happens, Im sure you would be quick to change your mind.

Go to Skid Row, talk to one of the prostitutes who are forced against their will to be prostitutes. Tell me that poverty doesnt exist. Go talk to one the thousands of people that are out of their mind from being mentally ill, and tell them they have no excuse to be poor and live on the streets.

If we are the land of opportunity, then there should be no excuse. I wish to provide ways and opportunities for them to get out of the cycle that they are in. Poverty is a very very vicious cycle that once you are in, its extremely difficult to get out of.

Again, like I said before, denying poverty exists in your area is just an excuse not to help.
09/22/2010 12:21:41 AM
Originally posted by mgarsteck:

There is no comparing of other countries when it comes to deciding if there is poverty. I guarantee if you stepped out here with me you would quickly change your mind. A homeless person starving on the streets in America is in poverty, no matter how you look at it.

In my opinion people say that other countries have it worse than our poor so that they can justify not helping those that they see everyday.


Well, after two years in Africa, I will admit that when I eventually return to America (I've just moved to Germany) I think I will be far less likely to give handouts to "poor" Americans because I'm unconvinced that poverty (and especially starvation) even exist in America. I've become very cynical and skeptical of those in the developed world who claim poverty. The mentally ill will be an exception to some degree. Druggies that got themselves into that mess and don't want real help are problematic. I don't mean to detract from your kindness, but I just read a quote by Thoreau that seems apt. It was in "Dark Star Safari" in a chapter in which the author criticizes the negative effects of aid on African development: "There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root, and it may be that he who bestows the largest amount of time and money on the needy is doing the most by his mode of life to produce that misery which he strives in vain to relieve." This may or may not be applicable to you. I don't intend it that way. It's just pertinent to the question of aid to the poor.
09/14/2010 12:23:33 AM
There is no comparing of other countries when it comes to deciding if there is poverty. I guarantee if you stepped out here with me you would quickly change your mind. A homeless person starving on the streets in America is in poverty, no matter how you look at it.

In my opinion people say that other countries have it worse than our poor so that they can justify not helping those that they see everyday.

Message edited by author 2010-09-14 00:55:21.
09/13/2010 03:01:25 PM
Congrats on the ribbon. Great shot. But, looking at it from Africa, there is no poverty in America. None. None at all.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
09/13/2010 01:45:10 PM
Matthew, great shot and HUGE congrats on your first ribbon! Wish you many more.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
09/11/2010 09:33:56 AM
This isn't true. It's a mock up. A lie I tell ya!

Poverty in North America, come on man we all know that's unpossible. ;)

Great shot of what I hope not to see too much of but I think we all will sooner or later.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
09/10/2010 10:16:20 PM
Congratulations!!! I love wide, I even love wires - I mean they're THERE you know? So make the best of them - and you did. Nice job!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
09/09/2010 04:33:05 PM
Congrats great shot, perfect title for it as well!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
09/09/2010 02:59:53 PM
no way!! I had no idea this was your first ribbon! Congrats!!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
09/09/2010 01:11:57 PM
Congrats on the ribbon.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
09/09/2010 01:58:53 AM
Hey congrats. I knew you would get there.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
09/08/2010 05:38:08 PM
My second favorite of the challenge.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
09/08/2010 03:21:41 AM
Thats what she said...
09/08/2010 02:55:22 AM
Excellent finish, Matthew!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
09/07/2010 12:11:40 PM
love the emotion
  Photographer found comment helpful.
09/03/2010 05:25:37 PM
A little too wide. Would be nice to hone in on the people or officer. It's hard here to ascertain exactly what the story is. Also no need to be in B&W. Makes it more dramatic, but also takes out what could have been some nice details.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
09/03/2010 01:20:07 PM
Indtast din kommentar her , og derefter afgive din stemme ...
  Photographer found comment helpful.
09/02/2010 08:36:54 PM
It's a little underexposed in my opinion, but this conveys LA perfectly - very nicely done!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
09/01/2010 10:21:02 PM
Very good! Best one! 9
  Photographer found comment helpful.
09/01/2010 03:34:05 PM
This is a nice photo. It looks like the outskirts of Las Vegas.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
09/01/2010 08:02:18 AM
ok, there's something going on here, but can't tell what. without any more visual clues, the image relies on a caption. the best pj images tell their own story...
  Photographer found comment helpful.


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