Eric, Why not say it if that's what you believe?
Stamper, That's a fair criticism, and I'm sorry the shot looks posed to you. Actually, the people are looking at the camera but they don't know I'm shooting a picture. I wasn't out to do street shooting, and I was carrying the D3 with a 28-300mm lens on it -- a pretty huge beast that always gets too much attention. I was talking to a guy out of sight on the left. When I saw the scene I cranked the lens out to about 70mm by feel and shot from the hip. As far as the guy on the right is concerned, he's absolutely essential to the shot, both to offset the weight of the triangular arrangement on the left and as a contrast to the age of the woman. (See Rob's comment.)
William, You don't need to be an expert on any art genre to appreciate it. I have a course from The Teaching Company whose risible title is "How to Look at and Understand Great Art." You don't need instruction in order to "look at" great art, and you don't "understand" art; you experience art. (The course itself is interesting, though.) I'm sorry you "don't get" it, but everyone can tell the difference between a good picture and a poor one because that evaluation always is subjective. These two may be especially difficult because they violate the "street photography" canon.
Rob, Thanks for the kind words. Yes, I at least know who Helmut Newton was, though he's not my cup of tea. From what I've read about him he had every reason to produce "brutal" images of Berlin society. The whole point of the first picture is the play between the three principals: the inert guy on the left (who's always sitting there, by the way), the woman, who's the focal point, and the guy on the right Stamper wants out of the picture. I'll bet that in her twenties that woman was a beautiful girl -- the kind you, Rob, loved to photograph. Now the lines in her face reflect a history of hard experience: still a beautiful face but in a different way. Her alertness and interest in what's going on around her is offset and enhanced by the indifference of the guy on the left, and the depth of experience in her face is underlined by the callow glance of the youth on the right.
I love to photograph in this spot. The building on the left is a restaurant called "The Maté Factor," subtitled "A Common Ground café." There's always a different group of interesting people in front of it. Here's a record shot from a few days earlier. If you look closely you'll see the inert guy from the first picture. He's moved a few chairs to your right in this one.
Still no real comments on the abstraction. Has anyone noticed that the name of the place is "Hells Kitchen Pizza" or read the sign on the right? No, Stamper, the bearded guy in hell, on the right, isn't looking at the camera. He's looking off to my left.