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People CritiqueUntitled

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Matt Quinn
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Re: Untitled

Post by Matt Quinn » Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:49 pm

Psjunkie wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:12 am
because I'd like unbiased thoughts about this presentation
Frank, My immediate reaction on looking at the photo was "Something's wrong with her eye and eyebrow. Scab? Why show that? Does she have something in her eye?" Second reaction was cuddly child but I am too close to see her. Felt I was invading. So, I kept going back and forth on those two reactions and settled on "He could have done this differently and I am not sure why he did it this way. Knowing Frank's photos, what am I missing here?"

That's for what it's worth. Which may be less than nothing.

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Post by Psjunkie » Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:05 pm

appears I'm the one missing Matt....thanks for commenting.....

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Post by Duck » Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:59 pm

Psjunkie wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:48 am
If you feel like going into more detail I'd be interested...if you've better things to do I understand. thank you for the time you've already spent with comment.

It seems many here are of the same mindframe. Realize people will 'step lightly' since it is your granddaughter and a personal issue. :-)

The circular field of focus is a particular distraction because there is a quick, unnatural fall off between sharp focus and soft focus from the eye to the rest of the face and head. Humans are more accustomed to the traditional linear plane of focus and my initial viewing of this image there was a certain "expectation of reality" inherent to the scene. Some people may look at this image and not really understand (or be able to vocalize) what is wrong but instead know 'instinctively' that something weird is going on. I understand the psychology behind why you chose to try this approach but at this close scale the effect is too obvious and glaringly "wrong". Wrong in the sense if you were trying to attract attention to the eye in a natural way. If the intent was to use it as an effect, then it's a matter of having people know it is supposed to be an effect and that poses a different set of problems.

The second problem I find is the disconnection between the subject and the viewer. While there is no law that says the subject "must be looking at the camera" there is no denying that by not doing so it creates a psychological chasm that lessens the engagement to the subject. Yes, she's cute but she's preoccupied with something off frame so I won't bother. Sounds silly when said like that but that's how the human mind works. Are there strong images where the subject is not looking at the viewer? Sure there is, but those tend to have a strong subtext to the composition that pulls the viewer in. Perhaps it's the setting, or an action the subject is doing, or a contemplation we are asked to join in. Emotions fall into two categories; those that engage and those that repel. We tend to learn these non verbal cues at an early age (the cold shoulder versus the open smile) so they are very easy to recognize, even in photographs. This child is clearly distracted and as such we, as the interloper into the scene, do not want to intrude.

Last are the unanswered questions left us. If she can't engage with us (the viewer) what is she engaged with? This touches back on subtext and for some the subtext here may read strongly while for other not so much. For me, there is not enough of the scene for me to become vested in to try to decipher any subtext but this is purely subjective. As for the blemish above her eye; this too can be perceived as an unanswered question (is it a birthmark or the effect of an active child?) that is also very subjective. You can chose to leave it or remove it and you'll get the same responses either way.

Interestingly enough, I find the second image you posted of her much more engaging. I can tell she's in some kind of playroom and that justifies her distraction. I can see part of the window and that allows me to appreciate the light hitting the back of her head better. While at times less is more, sometimes more is just right. There is no secret formula for this. The good thing about this exercise is that it allows you to compare and contrast the two images to see what works and what doesn't so I hope you don't look at this attempt as being some kind of failure. It most definitely is not.

Anyway, you asked and I gave my two bits. Hope it makes sense to you. ;-)
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Post by Psjunkie » Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:08 am

and I appreciate it very much Duck, I know time is precious..so much to learn

Edit: when I post in critique I do not expect anyone treading lightly no matter my image.

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Post by Matt Quinn » Wed Jun 06, 2018 2:27 am

Duck wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:59 pm
Psjunkie wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:48 am
If you feel like going into more detail I'd be interested...if you've better things to do I understand. thank you for the time you've already spent with comment.

It seems many here are of the same mindframe. Realize people will 'step lightly' since it is your granddaughter and a personal issue. :-)

The circular field of focus is a particular distraction because there is a quick, unnatural fall off between sharp focus and soft focus from the eye to the rest of the face and head. Humans are more accustomed to the traditional linear plane of focus and my initial viewing of this image there was a certain "expectation of reality" inherent to the scene. Some people may look at this image and not really understand (or be able to vocalize) what is wrong but instead know 'instinctively' that something weird is going on. I understand the psychology behind why you chose to try this approach but at this close scale the effect is too obvious and glaringly "wrong". Wrong in the sense if you were trying to attract attention to the eye in a natural way. If the intent was to use it as an effect, then it's a matter of having people know it is supposed to be an effect and that poses a different set of problems.

The second problem I find is the disconnection between the subject and the viewer. While there is no law that says the subject "must be looking at the camera" there is no denying that by not doing so it creates a psychological chasm that lessens the engagement to the subject. Yes, she's cute but she's preoccupied with something off frame so I won't bother. Sounds silly when said like that but that's how the human mind works. Are there strong images where the subject is not looking at the viewer? Sure there is, but those tend to have a strong subtext to the composition that pulls the viewer in. Perhaps it's the setting, or an action the subject is doing, or a contemplation we are asked to join in. Emotions fall into two categories; those that engage and those that repel. We tend to learn these non verbal cues at an early age (the cold shoulder versus the open smile) so they are very easy to recognize, even in photographs. This child is clearly distracted and as such we, as the interloper into the scene, do not want to intrude.

Last are the unanswered questions left us. If she can't engage with us (the viewer) what is she engaged with? This touches back on subtext and for some the subtext here may read strongly while for other not so much. For me, there is not enough of the scene for me to become vested in to try to decipher any subtext but this is purely subjective. As for the blemish above her eye; this too can be perceived as an unanswered question (is it a birthmark or the effect of an active child?) that is also very subjective. You can chose to leave it or remove it and you'll get the same responses either way.

Interestingly enough, I find the second image you posted of her much more engaging. I can tell she's in some kind of playroom and that justifies her distraction. I can see part of the window and that allows me to appreciate the light hitting the back of her head better. While at times less is more, sometimes more is just right. There is no secret formula for this. The good thing about this exercise is that it allows you to compare and contrast the two images to see what works and what doesn't so I hope you don't look at this attempt as being some kind of failure. It most definitely is not.

Anyway, you asked and I gave my two bits. Hope it makes sense to you. ;-)
Duck, I am going to bookmark this critique. It is packed with good stuff that will take me some time to absorb and make "second nature." Where did you learn all this stuff? Thanks. Matt
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Post by Duck » Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:27 am

Matt Quinn wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 2:27 am
Duck, I am going to bookmark this critique. It is packed with good stuff that will take me some time to absorb and make "second nature." Where did you learn all this stuff? Thanks. Matt

I am happy to hear you found such value in my critique. Just goes to show how there is always something to new to learn, even when the critique is for someone else. :)

My entire career has been creating artwork to solve particular problems. Whether it was designing logos for small businesses or designing tattoos for people, I have always had to visually interpret what was in a person's head. That has given me a unique language skill. One I can trace back to my college art history days and further built on through experience and training. Good photography, like drawing, painting or film making, is about telling a story while utilizing the tools of the medium. It goes well beyond learning the mechanical tools. But, believe me, I'm still learning myself. Specially since I now have to translate the foundation of visual storytelling into my new format of photography (compared to a lifetime of illustrating by hand). :D
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Post by St3v3M » Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:06 am

Psjunkie wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:12 am
because I'd like unbiased thoughts about this presentation
I think it's a wonderful concept but the depth of field a little too shallow. You know I want to see more! S-
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Post by Psjunkie » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:17 am

St3v3M wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:06 am
Psjunkie wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:12 am
because I'd like unbiased thoughts about this presentation
I think it's a wonderful concept but the depth of field a little too shallow. You know I want to see more! S-
thought I gave that in the second image Steve.....

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Post by St3v3M » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:22 am

Psjunkie wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:17 am
thought I gave that in the second image Steve.....
That's the one! Play with that a little more and you'll have it! S-
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Post by Psjunkie » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:31 am

you've lost me Steve with depth of field...that's the original without trying the softer look......

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