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Author Topic : Critique 
Kenp

Thread Starter / Photographer
City: Weymouth/Portland DT3
Country: United Kingdom
Member Since: Sep 29, 2007
Posts: 10470
Views : 1916  Apr 25, 2012 9:09am

This is a slightly unusual request for a critique.
The image below has attracted a surprising amount of approval. It has won BPOTD on several sites, won a number of awards including 'Picture of the week' with a prize of a free website etc. It received over 20,000 unique views on 1x.com in the first 24hrs of posting and 10 awards and 143 member votes on Ephotozine.

I am inviting people to critique it in order to try an identify what factors appears to make it resonate with people. So this is an opportunity to practice their critiquing skills. Please don't post short exclamations like 'love it' or 'rubbish', but explain your reasoning.
Incidentally this image was taken in August 2010 and it is only as a result of boredom that I decided to edit and post it earlier this month.
Models are Sinopa Rin and Leah_Axl. Lighting was natural light from a W facing window.
Nikon D3, 85mm Nikkor f/1.8, 1/100s at ISO 400



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JGH

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City: Stoneleigh, nr Epsom
Country: United Kingdom
Member Since: Oct 26, 2010
Posts: 77
RE: Critique Apr 25, 2012 9:28am

Over and above the basics of getting exposure, focus, etc correct the extra that makes it resonate for me is the narrative element. The picture tells a story, and uses various elements (natural light, colour palette, etc) to make that story convincing. The strong eye contact also helps to engage the viewer.

The subject and the treatment have the feel of a painting by an old master. With that in mind I would be inclined to lose the strap on the model's right wrist as it seems slightly out of keeping, but this really is a trivial point.

I can see why the image has gone down well.

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Kenp

Thread Starter / Photographer
City: Weymouth/Portland DT3
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Posts: 10470
RE: Critique Apr 25, 2012 9:45am

Thanks John. Interestingly, I never noticed the scrunch band on the model's wrist, whilst the model immediately pointed it out to me on being shown the image for the first time.
I do try and provide an underlying narrative in most of my shots, but this one seems to have struck a particular chord with people.

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mannybash

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City: London
Country: United Kingdom
Member Since: Oct 18, 2009
Posts: 1051
RE: Critique Apr 25, 2012 10:10am

It does have the element of the old master look telling a story but what is the story? It seems to be verging on the direction but the directness of the models gaze seems to detract from that. In an old master the story would be more subtle. It seems to me that if you wish to do this you must have her doing something too and possibly a third person if the story is going to be in there you must make IT the subject of the photograph

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Circles_of_Confusion

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City: Llanelli
Country: United Kingdom
Member Since: Nov 5, 2009
Posts: 7910
RE: Critique Apr 25, 2012 10:15am

I think that you consistently come up with very good images. I wouldn't say this is any better than many others that you do. But I think as pointed out there is a narrative here but more importantly with your ubiquitous painterly feel for images and the bygone period it seems to be set in, you've managed to capture the artistic Zeitgeist. Although having said that I'm not sure which time, but certainly an earlier one.
Without the painterly effect the image wouldn't have anywhere near the impact that it does and likewise if you'd had a more modern look to your models and props and kept the painterly effect it wouldn't have had the same impact either.
But you've created a lot of images like this and they all capture a similar feel and maybe the fact you have the extremely lovely Rin, as the face in your picture, has probably helped to produce the results that you've had with it, along with all the other points mentioned.
But I think what makes one picture work and another fail unanimously, is just sometimes beyond explanation.

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RoninUK

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City: Ruislip
Country: United Kingdom
Member Since: Jul 20, 2006
Posts: 2596
RE: Critique Apr 25, 2012 10:31am

I agree with the earlier comments about the effectiveness of the "vintage" "painterly" feel which gells very well with the lighting and styling but , for me, it is the very strong sense of engagement between the viewer and Rin that give the shot impact.

I like the anonymous nature of the background figure being almost headless - it gives you the narrative without pulling attention away from Rin but it is primarily the light tones on the right side of her face combined with her large eyes and very direct stare that draw you back to Rin . I find my eyes wander round the background to take in the tones and light and shade - but keep being drawn back to Rin's gaze,

Having noticed it after the earlier comments though the wrist band does bug me a bit.

Mark

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RobGolding

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City: Tewkesbury
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Member Since: May 4, 2008
Posts: 3805
RE: Critique Apr 25, 2012 10:34am

I don't know how to critique an image, so all I will say is it is just utterly beautiful, mesmerizing infact, and looking into Rins eyes I find myself wondering just what is she thinking?

I think the paint effect you use on this is a huge part of why it is so beautiful, People (I think) have a tendency to stop and spend more time looking at a painting, than they would a photograph. A photograph has become a throwaway thing, a painting generally isn't. I just want to put this on my wall, and look at it every day.

I really wish you would remove the hair band around Rin's wrist, but in some way it makes me thankful that its not just me that misses things like this.

Anyway, no idea of that made any sense, but it is really a very, very beautiful piece of work.

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jeffemerson

Photographer
City: London
Country: United Kingdom
Member Since: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 563
RE: Critique Apr 25, 2012 10:39am

I find something more in the shot then the period feel and the lovely light. I think the essence of the shot is in the relationship between camera and subject. There is a real sense of intrusion into a intimate scene. It sums up our (photographer's) view of the world, which must resonate with both models and photographers.

This interruption feels unwanted: a voyeur caught, which for me adds a contrast to the beauty of the scene. And I feel it's all the stronger for it. Nice work.


-------------------------------------------------------------
Additional pics at www.flickr.com/photos/jeffemerson/
Let me know what you think, I appreciate all feedback

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Kenp

Thread Starter / Photographer
City: Weymouth/Portland DT3
Country: United Kingdom
Member Since: Sep 29, 2007
Posts: 10470
RE: Critique Apr 25, 2012 10:59am

Thanks everybody for the responses.
Whilst there is a narrative to the image, it is largely unresolved. The scene is clearly about somebody about to have their hair washed, but there is no obvious explanation why the models gaze is drawn to the camera. So in a way there is the start to a story, but no comprehendable end to it.
I did try and include half the bowel into the textured area, hoping to suggest that it was half in a painting and half jutting out into reality. Something like a bridge between an unreal world and a real world.
The full image includes a full height Leah and it was an amazing mental struggle to chop her off at chin level, but to do otherwise would have been two beautiful women competing for the viewers attention.
The halo near the head is due to the less than flat background (some old curtains hung from a wall).
I don't think that Sinopa would count this image amongst her favourites, because it is possibly at variance with her young, sassy image, but it is to her credit that she follows directions rather than her heart. She was also sufficiently at ease not to simply look at the lens, but look beyond it, thus engaging the viewer.
I prefer to shoot either people in various states of undress or from a past era, at least that way the image still holds up after 5 years rather than looking dated after two.

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