Discussion in 'Seeking Critique' started by mhahn, Jun 26, 2020.
I love the way my cat's (Jackson's) body is positioned in this pic, but maybe the fact that you can't see his eyes is a negative.
It's an interesting pose and good exposure but maybe seeing some of his eye, gaze would be more captivating.
Jackson's head position clearly implies that he's gazing upward. The fact that his eyes aren't visible in the photo isn't a deficiency in my opinion.
LOL Thanks for clearing that up Michael. I am thinking he is oblivious... while scratching his butt in ecstasy.
The eye is visible but not terribly noticeable. I’m thinking that seeing the eye more could provide a payoff to the upward lift of the cat and the photo and also alleviate my feeling of claustrophobia. Funny that seeing the cat so forthrightly up against the outside scenery actually adds to that closed-in feeling instead of expanding it.
Sam, can you please explain why feeling claustrophobic isn't as desirable when viewing an image as feeling like one's is in a location with lots (or just enough) of space. If my previous comments are correct, it appears the cat's head is juxtaposed very tightly with the window while looking up because something really grabbed its attention. If this were not the case and the cat was positioned further away from the glass, the photo would be telling another story.
FWIW, a childhood experience has given me occasional claustrophobia as well. I feel it most when I feel myself getting hot in a somewhat tight area.
A photo giving me a claustrophobic feeling isn't necessarily undesirable, especially if there are clues, signs, or details in the photo that support that interpretation and feeling. The cat's being close up against the window is not what makes me feel claustrophobic. It's the composition and the overall use of space in addition to the fact that the cat's gaze upwards comes to an abrupt end without a more visible eye. So the claustrophobic feeling doesn't seem organic to contents of the photo and feels off to me.
What I said was that seeing the cat against the outside (which generally I would think would provide more depth and spaciousness) does not alleviate the feeling of claustrophobia. I think that's more because the outdoor detailed view doesn't provide that much sense of depth or distance to me. It's almost like the outdoors is closing in on the scene. Also, the corner perspective and the cat's position squarely between dark curtain and light outside adds to that.
To be clear, claustrophobia itself is not undesirable and can be very effective when it comes to me as a genuine feeling from the scene. When it feels more like an unintentional fault relative to what the whole photo is doing, it can be problematic.
I think that (even though the lower window is opened), because fly screen's mesh is so clearly in focus, that mesh acts as a strong barrier: a stronger barrier than if the widow was shut and cat was against clear glass.
I thought of that as a possibility, though I kind of like the added texture of the screen since I find the textures the most interesting quality of the photo. For me, it's that the outside feels flat, more two-dimensional than three. It almost feels like it could be a painting instead of the outdoors. I've experienced that same phenomenon with my own photos that are shot indoors with scenes outside a window in view. I find it takes quite a bit of finesse to get those sorts of indoor/outdoor scenes to feel natural and have the appropriate sense of depth.
Perhaps the finesse is mainly technical: balancing the exposure of the outdoor scene with the indoor scene - often done with a fill light for the inside. I expect no fill light was used in this shot.
It's likely that outdoor scene area had some serious Post Production attention? If so, this would have affected the fly screen's appearance, too.
What I am getting at is - if the (lighting) balancing act is left solely to the Post Production stage, maybe it's more likely that there will be limitations in revealing the outdoor scene as 'spacious' and/or 'three dimensional'.
just by lowering the brightness on the exterior. easily done. makes the screen appear more natural and the exterior more dimensional with depth.
I see what you mean. I thought the even distribution of light outside might be adding to the lack of depth as well.
As a matter of fact, now that I look again, especially toward the top where the glass of the window is visible, there's some interest in the way the light comes through and reflects on the glass. Had the window been closed, I'm thinking the play of light would have given the photo some of the dimension I'm talking about.
For me, there are two kinds of cat-in-window shots. One is the classic laying in the sun shot and the other is this, "Cat looking out, seeing something in tree and trying to figure out how he's going to get it." I think that this is the perfect example of the second type. Sam's feeling of claustrophobia is appropriate, as he's in sync with the cat's feeling. The cat sees the world, but is trapped inside. Excellent shot.
No, actually, I'm not. Were I feeling in sync with the cat's feeling a) I would have recognized it as such and said so, and b) I would appreciate the photo more.
My feeling of claustrophobia comes from the compositional relationships, perspective, and lighting ... photographic elements which are not working for me, not cat sympathies.
I can tell the difference between an empathetic feeling of claustrophobia and using the word "claustrophobia" to criticize a photo's appearance. The latter is where I'm coming from.
It might even be worth considering that if the outdoor scene gave me a more natural and true sense of space/spaciousness, I might just feel the claustrophobia of the cat itself, and in an empathetic way. Such a contrast of space and cramp can help the feeling of being closed in ... if that's what's desired, of course.
Less than meaning to evoke a feeling of claustrophobia, I took this photo to be more sculptural and more like a still life, though not really working for me.
Sam, I think this helps me better understand your response to my post on this thread, for which I thank you. Quite honestly, I never have given much thought to the role of space in composing an image. I need to read up on this.
Would you find the same issue with a photo I just found in an online article about the use of space in photos? It's below, involving a mother holding her baby up to see through an airplane window. The mom's forehead is almost as close to the glass as the OP image.
Mod Note - Image Removed, (please you do know better) - just make a link to the article.
The image is a stock photo - and, although not the article about photography, it is used as the first image in this article LINK
Michael, the cat's head being up against the window had NOTHING to do with my reaction. It was the nature of what we were seeing outside the window that I tried my best to make clear was the issue.
When I talk about the cat against the outside, I'm not using against in the sense of 'touching up against' but rather in the sense we would talk about a foreground object against a background, a relationship and not a physical closeness or touching.
I generally hate 'cat photos/videos' but I love this one! The things I like about it are:
- the sensuous 'body language'; to me it expresses animal pleasure and enjoyment'in the moment; the posture is perfect; it reminded me of a ballet dancer
- the good color coordination between the cat and the curtains; this it a 'whole photo' for me rather than a random photo of a cat somewhere
- plenty of tone contrasts in the photo (cat and curtains)
- the 'screened' background which keeps everything inside
- I love the way the photo illustrates that cats can feel completely at ease and relaxed on a narrow window ledge!
I'm pretty sure this 'moment' didn't last for too long so you captured it well.
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