Discussion in 'Seeking Critique' started by samstevens, Jun 23, 2019.

  1. This is very disquieting to me, like a ghostly death mask of a child. It has a three-dimensional quality, more so than most photographs of a sculpture and gives the impression of floating in space. I'm annoyed that just a bit of the hair is cropped off at top, but the hair blurred to our right and cut off in the image doesn't bother me at all. One seems abrupt and the other is feathered intentionally and not as jarring. The vague background helps with the idea that this is a ghostly, floating mask image. I suspect that the viewer is supposed to be disturbed and I think you've achieved that.

    I'm thinking about why I'm so annoyed with a bit of the top of the head being cut off. It seems careless to me. If you meant it to be jarring, then why not cut off more? I try to imagine seeing it in a gallery and if I'd still be annoyed, as opposed to a photography forum. I think that I'd still be annoyed, but I'm not sure. Does the image lose power because of it? I think it does and not just to photographers. I'm so conditioned as a photographer that I can't get it out of my head. I'm thinking, "Is he toying with me, knowing that I (we photographers) can't resist pointing to that?" If so, touche'.
  2. I think Dave has hit the high points that stand out to me. I wrestle with whether or not to take this as a very intentional approach to a sculptural subject, or if it is an off-the-cuff snapshot. If the former, then why does it feel incomplete or haphazard? If the second, then why offer for critique? I guess, for me, it simply does not feel purposeful. I suspect it would take on far greater meaning as part of a larger narrative. What am I missing?
    michaellinder likes this.
  3. It is an odd one. I like the colours but feel monochrome looks more balanced (makes me more comfortable) which probably isn’t what Sam is after.
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  4. I love it! It's intriguing and it makes me feel/think. There's no easy resolution. The color contrast between the background and the face is the most obvious feature. The difference between the eyes and the hairline make the image all the more intriguing. As does the soft focus.
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  5. This is a detail from a fairly large embossed glass (Victorian?) table lamp at an old inn where I recently stayed. The embossing itself and the combination of getting the lens close and the position of the camera exaggerated how the face seems to float away from the rest of the glass. There were soft, subtle colored light reflections which guided me to an exaggerated view via my color work. As I worked on it, I was taken by and didn't at first like the way the face had less saturation and reflection. As I said in another thread recently, sometimes I like what I don't like so I didn't reject that but instead went with it. It did underscore the face feeling disembodied from the rest of the glass. The disparity gnawed at me while I worked.
    Great to hear your reaction. A lot of the three-dimesionality came from the translucency of the glass and I tried to enhance that in the shooting and post work.
    The top is the only place I cropped. There's a little room above the head. At one point, when I had it blown up on the screen to look at some detail, this is where the screen cut it off. It worked for me ... visually. I don't remember having a literal or emotional intention behind doing it. I then tried a couple of other crops and came back to this one.
    I'm not surprised it could be seen either way.
    Probably because of the way the face seems almost to belong to a different photo.
    I chose what I thought might be an un"like"able photo, especially because it had that aspect for me, too. I like sharing my photos and find it moves me forward and stimulates something in me to discuss them. Offering it for critique gives us a chance to talk.
    I just had a show where I felt context and groupings were quite important and agree that things are different when seen as part of a bigger picture.
    It does.
    “Truth captured loses its glamour; truths long known and widely believed have a way of turning false with time; easy truths are a bore and too many of them become half truths. Whatever a man is too certain of, if he is healthily playful, he begins to find unsatisfactory. The meaning of his life lies not in the possession of truth but in the quest for new uncertainties." —Richard Hofstadter
    dcstep likes this.
  6. I like this, I appreciate the weird and macabre- and this slots neatly into both categories. The cut off top of the head, and hinky right eye add to the overall bizarre effect. It looks like somebody's baby gone bad. Or the baby face version of the old school bronzed baby shoes. The dots around the left eye, and the lines at the top of the lower lip also make it look almost like a shrunken head with its openings stitched up. This is exactly the kind of detail I tend to see in things- like who needs a shot of the whole lamp when there's.... this.

    I'm guessing it's not as much "soft focused" or out of focus as it is a characteristic of the glass?

    Nice shootin'.
    dcstep likes this.
  7. Thanks, Ricochet. Interestingly, I've been wanting to do some different sorts of still lifes and have had that kind of thing on my mind lately. Maybe that's even what caused me to notice the lamp, though I think it was more how it was catching the light and how I related to the cherub, who seemed to be staring me down!
    dcstep likes this.
  8. Sam, I don't see that the top of the head is cut off. There's enough visible hair to counteract that impression. My only suggestion is to darken the hair.
    dcstep likes this.
  9. I did try darkening the hair when I worked on this. It gave the face a little more depth and made things a little less incongruous. I preferred the incongruity because it nagged at me a little more that way.
    dcstep likes this.
  10. I think I understand but I don't know why..

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