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People CritiqueSelfie a la Master Ernst

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PietFrancke
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Re: Selfie a la Master Ernst

Post by PietFrancke » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:42 am

When I bring the blow up doll into my studio, I will remember to call her Shirl. It is good to know all the tricks!

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Duck
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Post by Duck » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:03 am

Let me know how that turns out, Piet. While you're at it, let me know where to send the flowers. :D
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pop511
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Post by pop511 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:55 am

Poor old duck;
Not the prettiest picture is it? I've got a stuffed bear that shows more emotion!
Now that I am laughing, perhaps I should be a bit more serious, but not much!
Always try to get your subject to take off his/her glasses so you wont have the problem of reflection and or the frame across the eye(s)
Being a portrait the face is always the centre of interest. The hands and face conflict with each other.
OK that's it. Back to the bar for another beer or two or...
Have fun;
ed
ed davis

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Post by LindaShorey » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:04 pm

I love the light and pose and rich colors/tones. Seems like the right side could use a tiny trim, though I know you don't want to be cut off at the elbow :) Thanks for the very interesting prep work info too!
"What's important in a photograph and what isn't." http://photographylife.com/whats-import ... -what-isnt

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Post by minniev » Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:43 pm

That is a wonderful portrait, Duck. The pose is excellent, the lighting evocative, the expression mysterious. Very elegant. What more can you want?

I don't mind the glasses position since it is only a minor interference and in the far eye area. I like the way you included the hands and their position on the slightly subdued upholstery. Glasses are part of what identifies those who wear them so I hope you don't take them off in the redo. the only quibble I have is the bright near cheekbone area, which might benefit from some mitigation.

But OMG that studio gets scarier every time you share a shot of it!
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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Post by Duck » Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:48 pm

Maybe we should start a thread called, "Show us your studio."

Thanks everyone for the wonderful feedback. I probably won't recreate this pose but I will revisit those bright spots. However, I might do something similar with a different light setup or different pose setup. Maybe I'll get some volunteers to sit for me. As Ernst would do, yank them off the street, except it would be people I know. :-)
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Post by davechinn » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:31 pm

Selfie's are rather difficult to accomplish, but you have done very well with this. I find, to start with, proper position/pose, expression/mood and in focus are my main difficulties. For me, the position of your hands couldn't be placed any better and your expression of deep thought has impact thats sorta indescribable and presents the mystery of your inner thoughts at that particular time. I love the overall capture, while the only issue I had, yes had, because it has been corrected by Ernst. The color and B&W are great, but I'm leaning towards the B&W.

Seeing the images from this shoot, your selected chosen one was IMO, the best choice. I do like the fact that you have shown the setup for any of us that may want to duplicate your efforts.
Dave

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Post by Matt Quinn » Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:29 pm

Duck wrote:I was bored today but feeling rather ambitious to try something out of my comfort zone. I decided to play around replicating the lighting in the "King Arthur" post Steve made a while back. While at it I rearranged my lights and grabbed a chair for a prop and tried replicating something along the lines of what Ernst would do. Before I go further, I by no means feel I can master his look but his is a style I greatly admire and will use as inspiration. I tried thinking like a portraitist (yeah, I know... a far reach :-D) by placing myself in a pose that would incorporate my hands. I wanted my hands to be featured but not look huge or extra bright. I am an artist by trade and my hands are my tools. The first few I took were face into the camera but that wasn't working for me. This one is my favorite. Anyway, here is my attempt. Thoughts, comments, suggestions are all welcomed.

Unitas_Photography-9648.jpg


Duck, Here's my take, one from someone vastly inexperienced with studio photos and lighting and posing. (See my attempt later today in my Project 52.) With that apology and confession, then, here you go. I agree with Ernst about the light below your left eye; too bright. If the photo is to be self-explanatory, then it should have some clue about the importance of your hands. In what sense are your hands your tools? If you are to do the photo again, could you be looking at your hands, with or without tools, instead of away from them? In the current photo, looking away suggests to me an abandoning, a departing. The very serious, pondering pose of your head and face convey reflection, meditation, deliberation. The hands distract me from fully appreciating that. Without the hands, that is a magnificent moment for me. If the hands were darkened more or shadowed to play a secondary but important role, I would like to see that. That said, I do like the photo very much. Kudos. I admire your opening yourself to this kind of personal commentary. Matt
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Post by Duck » Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:15 pm

davechinn wrote:Seeing the images from this shoot, your selected chosen one was IMO, the best choice. I do like the fact that you have shown the setup for any of us that may want to duplicate your efforts.
Dave

Thank you for looking and thank you for commenting. The setup was included to show how easy it can be to get results like this. While I may be using studio strobes it can easily be replicated with small flashes or even continuous lights. Hopefully it will encourage others to try something similar.

I have a hangup about photographing people (in a formal way) I am trying to overcome. I suppose, as with anything else, it is a matter of confidence in one's ability. I wouldn't want to deliver an embarrassing product to a client so I have been avoiding it. Being in a community such as ours, seeing the works of others and influenced by the photographers I admire, I am finding encouragement to step out of my comfort zone. In particular, I am inspired by Ernst's portrait work and emboldened by Miss Julian's selfies I wrote about previously. I have also taken on a personal project which I started with the Deadpool photos I took of my neighbor's son. I have a few others in the pipeline for after the winter weather.
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Duck
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Post by Duck » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:00 pm

Matt Quinn wrote:... If the photo is to be self-explanatory, then it should have some clue about the importance of your hands. In what sense are your hands your tools? [...] In the current photo, looking away suggests to me an abandoning, a departing. The very serious, pondering pose of your head and face convey reflection, meditation, deliberation. [...]

Thanks for the critique, Matt. You made me think a little and I'm a bit afraid the fire department will show up because of all the smoke. :D

This particular shoot came about rather organically. I had set up to replicate the 'King Arthur' shot previously mentioned and decided to try a more serious selfie than my previous attempt. I replaced the beauty dish with a gridded striplight, dragged a chair into frame, reset my light values and got my focus point. My head was still in the previous selfie so that was my starting point. As each image came up on the monitor I made an adjustment and reshot. At first it was fine tuning the light and the focus. As it continued it became more about fine tuning my pose. The head tilted a little, the hands shifted a little... but they all felt as if the hands were too far away. The hands started coming up further on the back of the chair but my pose felt very forced in that position. Near the end I shifted my position in the chair and at the last minute turned my head. I immediately saw that and had an "AHA!" moment, but the head was turned too far. That second shot... well, as you can see, that was the keeper. I did a quick process on it and called it a winner.

Now for the subtext.

I knew from the start I wanted my hands in there. I also knew, right or wrong, I wanted the glasses on. I also knew I wanted my hands close to my face, hence the chair back turned as it is. As you suggested, I even toyed with the thought of holding some form of drawing implement (pen, pencil, brush) but I dismissed that right at the get go thinking that would have been too gimmicky. I also knew I wanted a serious look to go with the darker mood of the lighting. Other than that, I had no clue as to what I was doing. It was all experimental, or as Charles likes to say, "I knows it when I sees it!", and I wasn't seeing it. As frustrations were mounting at my inability to capture something in frame I took a pause, pictured myself on the other side of the camera and realized that it was much more difficult to direct one's self without that disconnect a portraitist has with a client. My mood instantly changed and that's when I relaxed into the chair. I had the camera set to a 10 second self timer and before the shutter clicked is when I turned my head. I'm surprised it didn't catch motion blur on that one.

As I mentioned, I immediately fell in love with that image. At the moment I couldn't have told you why, it was just a gut feeling. It resonated in some way with me. On reflection, and because you brought up some good points, the subtext of why I like that image so much has become tangible. I have always been an artist and my hands have always been my tools. My background is in graphic design but I have done so much more. Sculpting, carpentry, sewing, painting, screen printing, model building, tattooing... all of these relying on my hands to create some form of artwork. Currently I have been tattooing for 24 years. I had promised myself that should I ever get bored with that part of my life I would move on. I'm bored and I need to move on but I am finding it difficult to do so because of obligations to my current customers, to my family (bills have to be paid) and because of the fear of failure entering into a new career. So, in a way, I am looking to close a big chapter in my life. I'm 53 and half of that has been as a tattoo artist. There is definite inner turmoil going on and subconsciously I caught that in that one single frame, and that is why it immediately grabed my attention and why I stopped on that second frame in. I knew I had it even before I understood the reasons behind it.

Phew! 8~
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