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Street Photography Urban Portrait with Arthur

I set out to make contact with some of the homeless in Seattle (and for general street photography) just after dawn on Thanksgiving Day. I began making contact with homeless men and women about a block from the Union Gospel Mission.

A line of over a hundred homeless men and women patiently waiting for breakfast stretched along the old building. It was just below freezing. Volunteers in vans and cars were near the mission handing out blankets and coats.

Street Photography : Urban Portrait with Arthur in Seattle, Washington - Copyright Steve Paxton

Arthur caught my attention. I noticed him periodically look into a small bag of loose tobacco – as if he were about to roll a smoke. After a few minutes, Arther walked over to a nearby garbage can and started looking around for something. Eventually I approached and introduced myself.


Arther had just woken up and was looking for rolling paper so that he could roll a morning cigarette. Pointing to his bag of loose tobacco, Arther said he had just enough to roll a cigarette but he was out of paper. After chatting for a few moments, Arther began counting a bit of loose change he had. It was obvious that Arther did not have enough money for rolling paper so I gave him some money before we parted ways. He thanked me before slowly wondering off.

Street Photography : Urban Portrait with Arthur in Seattle, Washington - Copyright Steve Paxton

Below are a few of the raw, unprocessed images I captured of Arthur. Arthur gave me permission to photograph him while we chatted.

Street Photography : Urban Portrait with Arthur in Seattle, Washington - Copyright Steve Paxton

Technical Details
Capture Date: November 22, 2007
Camera: Canon EOS 5D
Exposure: f/4.0 at 1/40 second at ISO 800 (dragging the shutter)
Location: Seattle, Washington

Terms of Use
The text and photographs on this page belong to Steve Paxton and are subject to United States and International copyright laws. The text and digital images files may not be reproduced, copied, stored, manipulated or used (whole or in part) as part of a derivative work without written permission. Steve Paxton can be contacted here.

Note: Be sure to check out the guide on street photography and the behind-the-scenes video. You can become a fan of “The Least of These” on Facebook and check out this interview on the series over at Artsy Shark.

About the Photographer: Steve Paxton lives with his wife and two children in the Seattle area. Steve has been a photographer for over 20 years. His experience ranges from wedding and portrait work to landscape photography.

Steve owns and manages the F/Stop Spot; a website dedicated to supporting photographers of all skill levels. You can find more of Steve’s work at Paxton Portraits.

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