#11 in a series on the role of psychology in photography.

Mark Winsland is a Big Issue seller who I’ve seen around North Kensington a few times.

It was a hot day and as I was walking along Golborne Road I saw Mark with his wheelie suitcase in one hand (in which he carries his Big Issues and his personal possessions – he never knows where he is staying from night to night) and recently purchased cold bottle of Frijj milkshake in the other.  

I asked him if he would mind if I made a portrait of him. He seemed bemused by the question and asked me if I’d give him some money – I said I would. He came to the studio and we chatted about his life as I shot the pictures.

I gave him some money as he left – I’m sure he had no idea why I wanted to take some pictures of him. When I was tidying up I found that he’d left his unopened ‘Frijj’ on the table. I still feel guilty about this.

In regarding a portrait of a person who has had less luck than most and whose day is filled with a struggle to survive we are perhaps conscious of looking at ourselves through a very dark glass – there but for the grace of god etc… Again our experience of such a portrait (would you have known who the sitter was if I hadn’t told you – probably not) is one of projection, i.e. we project our own fears and compare our reaction to the image with our conscious preconceptions and our unconscious conditioning.

Portrait of Mark Winsland, 2014 by Alex Schneideman


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