Dean O'Brien's Blog

Boxing Day Experience at The Salvation Army, Coventry: 26/12/2010

with 4 comments

My voluntary work at The Salvation Army in Coventry continues even at Christmas time.  Its probably at times like this that I am needed more than ever.  To document life on the other side of the social fence. Although its a time when I most probably want to be selfish with my spare time, I understand the importance of the project which I am involved with.

On Boxing Day I was invited to attend the festive celebrations.  Initially when I was asked to attend I was almost sure that I would have other commitments yet I felt obliged to come and share the experience.  I’m glad that I did.  All the stops were pulled out to give those who stay at The Salvation Army a great day to remember.  This consisted of everything from a gospel choir, solo artists. quiz and a full Christmas dinner.  Volunteers from Anesis Outreach were also present and it was great to catch up with some old friends.  Many of the regulars who we feed every Sunday under the subway in Coventry city centre were invited here for this event.

I am starting to realise that the people in The Salvation Army are not that different from you or I.  A wrong choice like a broken down relationship or a redundancy could see any one of us here.  I want to show a different side to the men who live here so that we can all have a greater understanding.

As far as techniques for taking images go I kept it simple.  Bounced flash from the ceiling where possible to alleviate any un-wanted shadows.  This was necessary in dark areas although I still believe that shooting without flash is the better option when shooting in a close proximity to people.  I was also trying to capture deep and thoughtful moments from individuals.  Not easy, but I did capture some shots which are worthy enough to show.

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Written by Dean O'Brien

December 27, 2010 at 12:36 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Nice set Dean but too many backs of heads. Not easy in these situations I know, but I feel important to show the emotion of these individuals.

    Just some thoughts.

    rick medlock

    December 27, 2010 at 4:16 pm

  2. Thanks for the comment Rick. I was aware that I was taking many image from the rear but and there were a number of reasons for this. I felt that in many ways it was showing more about the person than a normal face on portrait. Their posture was very relaxed and in some ways revealed more about the subject than a view from the front. Images such as the word ‘Grump’ on the hat, the tattoo on the arm or the water on the rear of the guys coat could only work from the rear.

    However, I take all comments on board and appreciate you taking the time to comment. Combined with many of the other images which I have taken it should turn into a decent body of work.

    Dean O'Brien

    December 27, 2010 at 5:13 pm

  3. You have a lot of humility and modest doing this.
    Well done!

    Chris Alford

    January 24, 2011 at 1:58 pm


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