And... another recent photo

Discussion in 'Seeking Critique' started by Ricochetrider, May 4, 2021.

  1. Howdy folks. Finally after not shooting a lot this year solar, we had back-to-back weekends of vintage Moto events, with a jaunt up to NYC to drop off one of mike bikes at a friend's shop in The City. SO among other things, I shot 2 rolls of Film Ferrania P30. Some of you may recall my previous exploits with this film that resulted in overly contrasty photos with large swaths of black-out shadow zones. Well for this go-round, I had the chance to send my film out to a guy who has done deep work on the formula for development of P30- and I rather think he's onto something! I'm currently posting some shots from these tow rolls while I await the rest of my film & scans from my regular lab. SO you may have seen this particular shot already, if you've paid attention? (LOL not that I'm very high on anybody's radar). The photo is one I like for many reasons and if you know me, you'll understand my liking this. That said, I'm ALWAYS interested in what the collective thinks of my stuff.

    SO here I present one of my favorite photos from this recent run with P30. I had to squeeze in between two cars on a crowded street in front of my buddy Hugh Mackie's shop, Sixth Street Specials, to capture this scene. Unfortunately a tiny bit of one of them may be seen in the lower left corner of the pic. For me it doesn't entirely kill this shot but its definitely there. I did lighten up the dark hole (basement entrance street level) on the right side but my limited PP skills, blah blah blah... Anyway, I'm interested to hear what y'all think of this little NYC neighborhood, side-street scene.

    Interestingly (maybe. well to me at least), Hugh is somehow grandfathered in to have his shop be allowed to exist. A little known fact is that in recent years, NYC has cracked down on motorcycle shops and riders. Forcing long standing shops like this out of business, towing bikes that have otherwise existed in neighborhoods for years, targeting bikers and motorcyclists alike seemingly relentlessly.... And yet Sixth Street Specials remains. For now YAY! Lots of history here, especially LES & NYC motorcycling community history. I am fortunate and grateful to know these guys well, privileged & pleased to call them my friends. :) Not to mention that the shop is quite nearly endlessly photogenic, so there's that as well.

    Thanks in advance.
    Have a lovely day.

    Last edited: May 4, 2021
    luis triguez and ericphelps like this.
  2. I can see what appealed to you about this. I have to be honest and say that’s not translating to me. Though many of your photos have a matter-of-factness about them, bordering on record or documentary, most have a bit more of a hook. In many cases, even if the subject matter doesn’t interest me, the photo rises above that and does. Here, there’s something about the claustrophobic aspect that intrigues me, but much is undercut by the second bike being covered. As importantly, though you managed to avoid the over contrasty, graphic look, the bike feels washed out.

    Since you were cramped in how you had to shoot this, did you consider including more parts of the cars that sneaked into your frame anyway? As this composition has an eclectic yet coherent mix of elements (including the written words), I wonder if a bit more “auto-abstraction in the foreground might have added something.
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  3. It's a pleasant photo. I find myself lingering for no apparent reason.... like a classic Walker Evans simple subject composition that can hold my attention longer than expected. I think the potential of this image lies in what image comes before and after it.
  4. My first impression exactly - the entire image looks kind of flat.
    Appreciated - but would need a tad more. Maybe not possible with film - easy with digital.
    Indeed - would have avoided cutting off the bikes tire at the bottom of the frame.
  6. Thanks for the comments, everyone. I believe for someone with actually PP skills, this darkness of the basement entrance could be lightened significantly without affecting the overall tones of the shot. teh more I backed off the contrast and shadows to lighten that hole, the worse it got. Here's the original:


    The guy who developed this run of P30 did a lovely job and it's much much better than the lab-development. IMO the P30 at its best is sharp and has excellent tonality.
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  7. Honestly, IIRC this was the final shot of this roll. The few before it were NYC street shots. Maybe it doesn't make sense to post them here but I did post some if not all of them in that "New York Streeters" thread over in Street & Documentary.
    Last edited: May 5, 2021
  8. Actually i meant the before & after in the presentation context. Many Walker Evans photos are best seen in a context of other images.
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  9. If you wanted to lighten the basement only that would be a very easy pp adjustment.
    I'm sure i or many here could talk you through it or do it for you with explanation. I think this photo is a solid representation of your work and worthy of having it how you would like to see it.
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  10. Well! I'm no expert but my opinion. Think you should've stuck with the original. Better contrast, sharper, not washed out, etc.
    Ricochetrider likes this.

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