Editorial Review for POW #48 (Beta ver. 1.0)

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by saintelmo21, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. The photos critiqued shall be chosen from the first W/NW Street: Photo of the Week thread of each month, and will post three days after the POW (i.e. this week’s POW #48 is first one of December 2010). Here are the guidelines:
    1) A Reviewer must have a photo posted on POW #48.
    2) A Reviewer must choose 2 photos from 2 different photographers (not his/her own).
    3) Provide a URL link to the photo at the beginning of the review. Do not post the photograph itself.
    4) Subsequent reviewers may not choose a photo submitted by the reviewer of her/his own photo (no petty revenge critiques).
    5) Review should follow this format:
    • Overall impression of the photograph
    • Strong points of the photograph
    • Weak points of the photograph
    • Recommendations for improvement
    • Eliminate qualifiers such as, “I think”, “In my opinion”, etc. Your review is understood to be entirely subjective.
    6) Each photo review should be no more than 10 lines of text. Don’t warble on for paragraphs.
    7) “Your pic sucks, why did you post that garbage here.” Is NOT a useful critique…follow the guidelines for constructive criticism or do not participate.
     
  2. To start this thing off, I will review Marc Todd’s and Mike Dixon’s photos posted on POW #48.


    Marc’s http://static.photo.net/attachments/bboard/00X/00Xoj8-309327884.jpg
    Marc, I find this a very intriguing photo. It generates a lot of questions for me. Why is she so unkempt? Is she homeless? What is that cord wrapped around her neck? You are close enough for details, yet far enough to maintain ambiguity. The real strength of the photo is that the woman is in a completely unguarded moment. The austere, cinder block structure (Is that a bus stop in San Quentin?) with its bizarre concrete ‘seats’ and the two bags nearby are a perfect frame to the scene. Lack of good post processing detracts from the image; it needs more contrast, or the highlights should be toned down. I like the negative sprocket framing, but incorrect sizing is a total bummer. So, all of my recommendations for improvement are technical/processing which are easily corrected.
    Mike Dixon’s http://mikedixonphotography.net/korconnor01.jpg
    Mike, absolutely gorgeous photo...I’ve been here many times: feeling buzzed, liquor bottles shining like diamonds in seductive light reflected off the mirror behind the bar. With other customers feeling good as well, you have an enjoyable atmosphere that keeps you coming back to the ‘night life’. Well done with a clearly defined and interesting subject, great choice on the shallow depth of field (although maybe you had no option). It looks like a well planned and executed shot. Your subject is intent and unaware just like Marc’s. And, I wonder what he is squinting at…most likely the drink list. If there is any weakness in this photo, I don’t see it. It would have been nice not to have the other guy’s elbow sticking into the frame, but we all know things like that are often unavoidable in street work.
     
  3. The limitations are ridiculous, and who made E. Short the moderator here?
     
  4. Kind of harsh and unnecessary, John.
     
  5. John , with all respect, calm down!
    E's initiative can only be beneficial to the quality of this forum and the rules of the exercise seems at least to me to make good sense. If someone can suggest to improve them I'm sure E. is all ears.
    If you don't want to participate, John, you are surely free to step aside.
    I have only one question on the rules E. has outlined; I don't know what "warbling" means in the context of paragraphs, but I'll try to find out...
     
  6. John I much preferred the content of your second post. More posts like that by you would be welcomed by all.
     
  7. Javier's photo of three girls
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jgredline/5080381258/
    A photo that attracts attention immediately. A happy photo of three girls of the giggling age eating ice-cream - hairstyles and skirts alike. Close childhood friends - friends for life.
    The strongest point of the scene is it's story telling and the angle chosen. By shooting the scene close up to the girls and from waist level, the three come firmly into focus of our attention. This is the story of three young girls - and a photo of a "street". Their present, past and future. Presently, enjoying a life of no responsibilities and even having a car at their disposal (the keys), the couple behind illustrates their future family life with kids and the Crate&Barel, to the right indicates the buying of furniture and equipment for their future accommodation independent of close family control. All very traditional and somewhat predictable prospects, but all in one one picture.
    The almost blown out white which is present throughout the scene becomes a sign of lightness and joy.
    Weak points are few. The guy approaching to the right that seem to be an intruder in the "story" - but yet everything is already almost too controlled.
    Recommendations for improvements or change?? One could question why this is in black and white. Because "serious" street photography in this forum mostly are? Why then not some less straight photography adding blur and noise as mostly done? I would not suggest it, but few examples of "straight photography, like this, is presented in the Street forum, which I find a shame.
     
  8. I'll have a go with Leslie Cheung and Javier Gutierrez photos posted on POW #48


    I've chosen one colour and one b&w. I'll nail my colours to the mast up front and say that the technical side of image presentation is of less concern to me than composition and emotional content.
    Leslie's image http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4132/5080381258_6dc6e33dbe_z.jpg is very arresting. The diagonal formed by the sign and two flags is very strong. The underlying (political) comment that could be read into this with the 'No Entry' sign juxtaposed with the flags is very topical. The inclusion of the uniformed figure in the V of flags gives a slightly offbeat touch because he's not apparently interested in whatever is capturing the gaze of the two men, rather is absorbed in his iPhone. The 'folded over' edge of the larger flag revealing the no entry sign is a key component of this image's compositional success for me, creating a real tension, as it allows the inclusion of the pole and trunk behind, which underpin the symmetery of the various (slightly angled) verticals that populate the shot. In terms of meeting the (informal) brief set for this thread 'In Sync' I think this image succeeds very well. To be honest this image works so well for me on so many levels, visually, compositionally, politically, that I can't really find anything to criticize.
    Javier's image http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4132/5080381258_6dc6e33dbe_z.jpg is very different, and captures a lovely moment of American teenage life, in a casual and surprisingly intimate way. I say 'surprisingly' because there's a very engaging quality to this image that really draws me in, almost as if I were a part of the scene (as opposed to simply looking at an image of the scene), a result I think of the low angle. I feel as if I could be sat on a low wall and watching this little moment pass me by. The slightly high key treatment works well giving a sense of heat and white buildings reflecting light all around. The central composition of the girls works well, with the smaller figures either side giving both a framing device and a sense of depth to the shot. My only criticism is the loss of the top of the building behind - the corner of the roof coming to a natural 'point' above the girls heads would throw a lot more 'weight' into that central vertical line, and the ribbed end of the corrugated roof tiles would be a strong dark frame. Summed up in one word? Timeless.
     
  9. Ah Anders - you beat me to it!
     
  10. No, John, they are clearly complementary. Well done.
     
  11. Javier's three girls photo:
    Over all impression: Very good
    Strong point: content (gesture/expression), very proximal, composition is good too though I don't like square for this shot.
    Weak point: light, it's too harsh, a little too bright even though it could fit the content well, it's just too harsh.
    Improvement: get out at the right time/weather when the light isn't too bright. Harsh/bad light is just too damning even if everything else is perfect.
     
  12. Wow! I'm speechless, John. I like it too:)
    Well done writing/crit as usual, Anders. On the other hand, sorry for my simple, unliterary crit. Thanks, E for the good initiative.
     
  13. Thanks Leslie but you make me think. I see the harsh light as you, but I feel it could function in this case, due to the theme and the faces of the girls that come out perfect. The time of shooting seems to be right. Look at the shadows.
     
  14. I'll sit on it, Anders but that girl's (left one) bright white sweater against the bright white background I don't like too much. Looking at the shadows, you may be right about time of the day but that southern California sun can, again, be a bit much.
     
  15. Anatoly's 2 men on a bench:
    Overall impression of the photograph: Mundane shot of everyday life. Picture of two strangers sitting probably bored, done decently though nothing too exciting.

    Strong points of the photograph: Composition is nothing fancy but nice as well as contrast and the hand/leg gesture is shown well. The middle guy's lip and facial expression are rather interesting and I would like to see a little more.

    Weak points of the photograph: Though pretty well done, in the end, there is nothing really going. The picture as a whole don't say or do much for me except showing two guys sitting on a bench bored.

    Recommendations for improvement: I would seek out situations/places where there are more going on. In your situation, I would talk to them and maybe ask to do portraits of them for more emotional/graphic/human connection. A close up face portrait of middle dude would be cool.
     
  16. Lesley, you are fully right that the weakest point concerning the white of Javiers three girls is indeed the sweater of the girl to the left. But still it is not fully blown out. It all sums up to whether one accepts the strong white as a technical problem or a statement. I opt for the latter.
     
  17. Stupid question. Is every shot uploaded for POW #48 fair game to critique or only the ones that mentioned it? I didn't say that mine is available for critique because I thought by posting in the thread is was understood that it could be discussed. In any case, mine is open for critique.
     
  18. John MacPherson In Sync http://multimedia.streamlinenettrial.co.uk/ricoh/Resources/hbov-40.jpeg
    At first look this seems a simple play on the theme title, but I rather like it. The repeating pattern is indeed in sync and wins points on that account. It is technically well done and I'm happy to see an image that is from the documentary side as opposed to a street shot. The gray tones are smooth and modulated nicely. However, on second look, I notice the graphic quality is very strong and takes on the appearance of a face with two eyes and reminds me of some carved African ceremonial masks I've seen.
    Dave Oakill In Sync http://dgoakill.com/img/s5/v4/p1015112473-4.jpg
    Well, those legs certainly are in sync. This is a very appealing picture. The worm's eye view adds interest but it is the triangular shape of the legs that gives the composition great strength. Mid day lighting is not ideal but the angle and graphic elements are so strong, one doesn't notice that too much. The B&W rendering is high quality. I think a shallower depth of field would have helped keep the focus on the legs more and perhaps a hint of movement might have added something to the image.
     
  19. bms

    bms

    Well, I guess I totally missed there was a theme to the POW... Oh well...
    Ok, now I will give it a go
    Barry Fisher:
    Intriguing shot, well "synced." The girl is just about to turn the corner, but we do not know here is she going. An everyday scene that a second earlier would have been nothing special, but her movement was just caught at the right moment. She chose the right door, the one with the light. Where do the doors lead? The strong point is the symmetry of the doors, juxtaposed with the asymmetry of the girl and the light on the right. It looks to be a sot taken at low light level and there seems a bit of camera shake, but not too distracting. Improvement? A bit more centered an straight would underscore the symmetry. If the ceiling was not included but the shot was taken from a bit further back, catching the reflection of the girl on the shiny floor which would have accentuated the asymmetry.
    Ian:
    Great illustration of synchrony, as these hands have to work together to complete the task. The sharpening of knives. The blur on the right conveys motion, the left hands are perfectly still, conveying calm and concentration. The fact that no faces and most of the body of the right person are not shown works, it focuses the attention on the task performed. Great tones. How could this have been better? I don't know.
     
  20. This is the S&D forum at its best! Thanks for the excellent input from everyone. Anders, to warble means to sing like a bird. And, this is a 'beta test', so if anyone has any comments or suggestions to improve the review, please drop me an email. Dave, my intention was that any photo on POW #48 is fair game.
    Regarding Leslie's photo, the timing of the post made a huge impact on my perception. If it had not followed Louis' pic, it wouldn't have as much impact, it is "In sync" with the previous photograph, and that is brilliant. This ties in with what was discussed a few days ago about threads developing a certain rhythm on their own.
     
  21. Mark Todd http://static.photo.net/attachments/bboard/00X/00Xoj8-309327884.jpg
    Great street shot that captures a moment perfectly. We don't know what happened before this or after, if she is yelling or yawning. A good street shot invites the viewer into the scene and makes them part of the subject's reality, in that moment, which this does. The image is a touch flat and I wish there was more contrast, but it looks like she was in complete shadow and this probably wasn't possible. Well seen.

    Fi Rondo http://static.photo.net/attachments/bboard/00X/00XpP6-309927684.jpg
    The concept here is excellent (although I'm a sucker for legs) the contrast, the movement all work well. The anonymity of the woman, their backs facing us and that they are walking away from the viewer adds a hint of mystery to the shot. What I can't figure out is the stylized look of the shot. Slightly blurred and painted? I'm not sure if this was intentional or done in post, or part of compression, but I think it would be a stronger image if was purely black and white to play up the given contrast and noir feel this has going for it.
     
  22. Regarding Leslie's photo, the timing of the post made a huge impact on my perception. If it had not followed Louis' pic, it wouldn't have as much impact, it is "In sync" with the previous photograph, and that is brilliant. This ties in with what was discussed a few days ago about threads developing a certain rhythm on their own.​
    I agree entirely with this observation.
     
  23. One comment on this initiative of E.
    I find that it is clearly a success and should be repeated as proposed by E.
    Concerning the format the "rule-book" of E. are functioning well, but I would believe that comments on specific photos would be easier to appreciate if the photo referred to always could be embedded in the thread directly in relation to the comments. How that can be done, I leave to others to figure out.
    A great thanks to E. for having taken the initiative.
     
  24. With all due respect, the "criticism" here leaves a lot to be desired. Mutual backslapping doesn't really help anyone. In fact, it has the reverse effect to what is intended. By being overly cautious, all you're doing is perpetuating the falsehood that much of what is posted here is very good, when quite the opposite is true. I believe that to develop it is important to be truly aware of one's own failures. Perhaps a thread where only negative criticism is required would be more effective.
     
  25. Perhaps a thread where only negative criticism is required would be more effective.​
    How exactly is that helpful?
     
  26. Clive, I don't think you are right in your critic. You might say that the photos that did not receive any critics in this round represent those uploaded photos that would have received relatively more critical remarks - my photo included of course.
    If you don't agree with the critics that have been written above, why don't you yourself have the courage to express your own critical viewpoints. They would surely be welcome.
    I think we all deserve at lest a follow up to your remarks presented "with all respect", explaining why you believe it is justified to write:
    all you're doing is perpetuating the falsehood that much of what is posted here is very good, when quite the opposite is true​
    Personally I don't think what was uploaded is any better or worse than what normally is shown in this forum.
     
  27. Double
    00XqIc-310647584.jpg
     
  28. Sorry, forgot the size....
     
  29. It has a nice and charming Doisneau's quality in it, Evental.
     
  30. Clive F , Dec 12, 2010; 11:24 a.m. With all due respect, the "criticism" here leaves a lot to be desired.​
    Clive thats possibly a very fair and accurate observation.
    But, here's another observation - many of us are NOT critics. I'm not. I'm a photographer. Being a GOOD critic probably requires a lot more than 'just' being a photographer. I'm here because I enjoy photographing and I enjoy looking at the work of other photographers, and in support of the initiative put forward by Elmo I was happy to enter into the spirit of the venture, and say what I liked and why I liked it, and what aspects I didn't like about a couple of images.
    However to be criticised by you for not being a good critic appeals to my sense of irony! Nice one - it raised a smile from me at least. :)
     
  31. Clive may have a point there... criticizing, by popular conception, is to either find fault or to put someone's work in some sort of historical context (not necessarily to praise the piece in question)...
    Usually the artist being criticized has no means of rebuttal, but here we have the opportunity to at least get some input from the photographer. So if there's a question that's prevalent, such as Javier's overexposed image, it's a perfect opportunity to ask Javier something like:
    Javier, I've noticed some of your images have been over-exposed lately, why have you been doing that?


    Or
    Marc, what were trying to get at with the "negative sprocket framing and incorrect sizing"? (E. Short)
    So Marc... Javier... how about it?
    Since we're not dead yet this might be a good opportunity to get an idea why certain decisions are made rather than only to suggest ways to make an image stronger. It also might open up more interesting veins of discussion. Things take some time to evolve, but it looks like there's a lot of activity to back up a thread of this sort...
     
  32. all you're doing is perpetuating the falsehood that much of what is posted here is very good​
    I disagree. Not very good as compared to what? If you like a picture(or not) and say so, that is not a falsehood. It's an opinion. An opinion that may or may not agree with yours. Images are rarely so cut and dried, great or poor, that some comment cannot be made to praise or criticize almost any image. The above reviews seem, on whole, an attempt to find some balance. John has a point. Not only am I not (thankfully) a professional critic but also a neophyte in street photography. How droll and simplistic my comments and images must appear. Though not as experienced or well spoken as some, I know what I like and what I don't and, though you might not agree, I reject anyone that tells me my opinion is false, glad handing or otherwise insincere.
    Instead of standing on the sidelines, why not pick a couple of images and review them to your taste, even my weak image, so we can all benefit from your seasoned eye and deep experience. At the end of the day, isn't sharing ideas and opinions the purpose of this exercise?
     
  33. Thanks Phalayasa, I like his streets work of Paris..
    btw, I agree with Anders , it is easier to write a critique when the photo is a part of the written word, not a URL. So the viewer can understand better the critique, can add his point of view, agree or not. It can evolve the discussion . another way I see, is to choose 2 ,3 photos (after the week has ended) voting! which is the ones that most want to critique and do it as E. offered.
    Some addition...
     
  34. I understand what Clive is getting at. What we've done here is to avoid reviewing the photo's posted on POW #48, which we don't like. We've picked photographs which appeal to us in some way, so that we could write good overall reviews while picking out a couple of minor weak points. To be fair, Clive cannot post a review because he did not participate in POW #48. Good catch, Clive! I appreciate that. We have quite a few photographs yet to get a review, so I hope that we continue. Otherwise, we will file this away as a good lesson learned for the next Editorial Review.
     
  35. I forgot: I have asked the moderator about posting photos rather that links. Unfortunately, it is not allowed by PN management. He said it will be a problem if we try to do that. So, for now, I think this is the best we can do.
     
  36. Repeal the: No Post / No Critique clause!
    Critique just might be somebody's strong point...
     
  37. Jumping in to second Fi's suggestion. I'd go so far as to invite the opinions of photographers who enjoy street photography, but don't post here because they rarely shoot images they consider "street."
     
  38. Fi Rondo , Dec 12, 2010; 07:04 p.m.
    Repeal the: No Post / No Critique clause!
    Funny, Fi. Makes me feel like an elected official...'who run barter town, now?' I actually introduced the No Post/ No Critique clause (hereafter to be referred to as "the clause") because of your keen observation that often people who post negative comments have no photos. So, then we can open it up to all reviews welcome, but the other guidelines still stand? We'll start on officially when Editorial Review (beta ver. 1.1) comes out. And, for now as well, it can be open to the 'public' as far as I am concerned unless someone vehemently objects. The "review" part of this seems to have bogged down a bit.
     
  39. The problem with people critiquing street that do not shoot it, is that you can't fully appreciate street UNLESS you shoot it. The main problem with street photography on many sites is that the people that want to voice an opinion about it in most cases have no idea what they are talking about. You can't apply the same approach to street that you do other genres of photography.

    If someone spends all their time shooting macros of flowers and composing shots while testing different lighting techniques how can they leave that all behind and look at a street shot for what it is? They can't, which is why street shots don't get rated well here or anywhere else (part of the reason this idea of street critique was started in the first place). This whole critique thread was born out of several past threads where this very idea was discussed.

    Most photographers don't get street, they think it's all lucky hip shots and isn't worth any time. There was a great article in Black and White Photography magazine (the one form the UK, not B&W from the states) a few months ago that took four photographers that never shot street before and set them loose on the town. They gave them a quick summery of what street is, showed them some famous photos, and sent them on their way. All four couldn't believe how hard it was to shoot street and at least one of them didn't even try shooting people. Now how can you have your work judged by someone that can't do that?

    I don't take my car to an airplane mechanic for an estimate on new tires....
     
  40. it is easier to write a critique when the photo is a part of the written word, not a URL.​
    A makeshift solution is to just open the POW as another tab in your browser and have the review thread in another tab. It's a tad slow when compared to have pictures and words at the same thread, but if slowing down sometimes lead us to better pictures, maybe it will also lead us to better critiques. At least a more sensible one.
    The thread is definitely still in its beta stage at this point, and I think we should do a couple more beta runs.
    I don't mind having criticism from non-street photographers. A constructive criticism is a constructive criticism, whether it's from another street photographer or from a non street photographer. Of course, I wouldn't hesitate from countering any of them right away if I think they are way off their mark.
     
  41. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I don't take my car to an airplane mechanic for an estimate on new tires....​
    This is a truly terrible analogy unless you believe that photography is mechanical.
    The problem with people critiquing street that do not shoot it, is that you can't fully appreciate street UNLESS you shoot it.​
    If the sole value of one's photography is to have it be appreciated solely by similar photographers, which is exactly what this says, then it's a very limited audience. If the value of one's photography is to speak, reveal, communicate and document with people, then it serves a broad enough purpose to justify actually putting it out in public. No genre of photography intended for a private club will every succeed. It says that only the process matters, not the communicative value of the photograph. It reduces landscape photography to an analysis of who spent the most days in the field looking for the right light just as it reduces street photography to who did the best in percentages.

    Boring boring boring.
    I could care less, as could the vast majority of people looking at photography, about what it took to get it. Either the photograph resonates with me or it doesn't. I don't really think about what it too to get it until after I decide how I feel about it.
    I figure if what it took to get it, how "hard" street photography is as in the example above about some magazine putting photographers in the field (by the way, I have been a massive failure at landscape photography but that doesn't mean I don't "get it"), if that is what matters in one of my photographs, then I have failed massively. I don't want anyone to think about what it took to get it, even the ones that were phenomenally hard to get. I want them to respond if it works for them.
     
  42. >>> The problem with people critiquing street that do not shoot it, is that you can't fully appreciate street
    UNLESS you shoot it.

    I disagree. I don't shoot music performances, landscapes, flower macros, urban architecture, sports, etc -
    and wouldn't do a very good job at it if I tried. But I regularly check out and enjoy work posted on the
    Nikon and Canon forums which includes those genres among others. A lot of what I see is very good and it
    is easy to understand and articulate why. No matter what the genre, it is still about composition, taking advantage of nice light, energy, etc
    working in synergy to produce a compelling photo. Critique writing is about analysis and communication.
     
  43. Well, Dave... first off, photographers not interested in or knowledgeable about street photography probably wouldn't waste their time on this forum. Also, insight and a sympathetic eye cannot be relegated only to those who shoot in a certain genre...
    Leaving this review thread open to the readers of this forum can only be a plus... and who knows? There might be some sympathetic lurkers out there who just might have something to say...
    Remember what volume that article was in? I'd like to read it...
     
  44. bms

    bms

    Speaking on no authority whatsoever, being a relative street novice (and minding that, Dave, one out of two times my picture at the bottom of the screen shows a flower macro!), IMHO:
    - I would keep the no post - no critique clause ("put up or shut up")..... if you are really itching to dress down a few aspiring street photogs, just put up one of your own.
    - I see the purpose of this as constructive criticism. Statements like "all you're doing is perpetuating the falsehood that much of what is posted here is very good" at probably not very helpful, but I admit there is some truth.. and this is IMO at least WHY this thread was started - we all strive to get better (I am the first to admit I am no genius street shooter). Just shoulder padding makes me feel good but certainly does little to improve my photography. Personally, I chose pics I liked but I also made suggestions how I think they can be improved (at least for one of them, the other one was pretty perfect in my book at least).
    - so everyone or at least more people may benefit from critique, maybe we should either a) only pick one photo or two each week to critique, but make sure that it is mixed up - maybe a secret list of random numbers to determine which gets picked... or b) we say a maximum of one or two people can critique any given photo before another one gets chosen. or c) we pick one or two person each week that reviews all POW photos but that is a little excessive.
    Just another 2 cents, just some ideas
     
  45. If the sole value of one's photography is to have it be appreciated solely by similar photographers, which is exactly what this says, then it's a very limited audience.​
    Jeff, there is a difference between appreciating a work of art as one might in a gallery and critiquing said art work. You don't need to shoot street to appreciate it, but if you are going to critique it, you should know enough about it to make a valid argument. Too often in reading street reviews those not liking a shot often don't have a valid argument. Most often the negative response is due more to a subjective emotional response than the over quality of the image both aesthetically and technically in it's execution. This is then an opinion, not a critique, a critique shows you what you did wrong and why, an opinion most times is too loose.

    The problem is it's been flying around here too often, people coming into a thread and saying, none of the shots are good without giving any reason for such a statement. That was the main issue behind starting a thread like this. And I'm sorry, but if someone is going to tell me my shot is either good or bad I want to know why, in detail. It also wouldn't hurt to be able to see some of their work so that I can evaluate just how good the advice they are selling is.
     
  46. Dave, coming into a thread and disparaging the work is far different than a thread set aside specifically for critique. Anyone who is negative for the sake of being a jerk will be taken to task anyhow, so that's not a big deal (it might even make for some good reading)...
    As far as I know neither Janet Malcolm, Colin Westerbeck (co-author, Bystander) or Geoff Dyer (The Ongoing Moment) or Susan Sontag were street photographers.
    Nothing human is alien to me... Terence, Roman playwright
     
  47. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Nothing human is alien to me...​
    And that's why one doesn't have to be something to critique it, unless it's for the purpose of learning and/or using a specific technique.
     
  48. If you look at the number of valuable 'critiques' posted in the street category of Photo Critique forum I think you will see that we are in no danger of getting blown out by all the nudie and pet-portrait photogs peeking over the wall at the S&D forum. What repealing “The Clause” will do for the Editorial Review is let experienced hands like Ray., Clive F., Brad, Ton and others, who do/did not post on POW, share their experience and ‘criticism’ in a constructive way so that we can benefit. So, while we may have to put up with the oddball sniping attack from a lost landscaper, the potential benefit may be worth it.
    I stand by the Review guidelines as being essentially sound. If everyone who submits a review does so according to them, it will work out fine. Meanwhile, pics from the following photographers on POW 48 have yet to be reviewed: ME, Anders, Phalayasa, DS, Yury, Sanford, Efim, Costo, Jane, Eric, Louis, Benjamin, Pnina, Shawn, and Mark Atwell…
    Brad, Clive, and Jeff will each of you pick a pic or two from POW 48 and give a review here?
     
  49. "Nothing human is alien to me..."

    True apparently for Terence the Roman playwright, but of course you know you don't want to go too far with that, lest you encourage threads full of photos of puppy dogs, babies,
    and roses. It's not the puppy dog itself but how it's photographed. The most accessible photos will tend to look like Hallmark. Do keep in
    mind that many art forms fall very far short of having a universal following and are not comprehensible by all
    humans.

    On the other hand, it didn't seem to me that a group of people trying to get better would benefit much just by critiquing each other. Good suggestion to open it up, Fi.
     
  50. The most well known photographic curators and critics weren't photographers, particularly John Szarkowski pops into mind. The problem with a single photo critique thread for me, is that really a "critique" should be aimed at a photographers overall work and perhaps a grouping of images. Except for a couple of people, like Brad who's been really doing a "work", I don't think as a group, from what I've seen that there is yet a coherent body of work. There is, but we don't see it in the context of a thread. it's difficult to talk about a single image out of the context of your interpretation of what the phographer is about more than just, "street". the closest I've gotten to useful single image critiques was having a good instructor in photo school who would engage in a process with the students to explore a photo. It would involve questions about intent and then maybe a discussion of means. How to use photographic technique to promote ones photographic intentions. It wasn't formulaic, it started from the point of view of each picture taker the project each was working on, and then how to get there.
    Just to say, it's good, bad or ugly wasn't what it was about. It was more about a positive engagement, not just about saying these photos suck or these critiques suck. That's why I've been sort of hesitent to join in. Not sure I can add to any ones understanding, if I don't even understand my own pictures:)
     
  51. I agree with Clive in that mutual back-slapping isn't very effective. Personally, the best crits I received were from my very first college photo teacher and a couple VII members...And they all were no BS, critical to the core and freaking harsh. In fact, thanks to them, I know I'm alright as a photog and have grown thick, thick skin since.
    However, I believe harsh (especially negative only) critiques will probably not work here even though they can be useful because there are so much forum infighting already and people would just be on their way and leave. Most people, I think, don't have thick enough skin here to go all critical to either give or receive such harsh review. It's much easier to be cautious and just crit two photos we find good or half decent and say nice things than, say, calling out the trash:)
    Lastly, this is an internet forum. Who knows who's truly what? For example, why should one listen my crit? I could very well be just another camera collector. Or perhaps I am a just hobbyist with no formal art training. Why trust my crits or anyone's? Online crits aren't very critical because of its very nature: it's online...we barely know each other. It's good in it's own ways but I personally don't take it too seriously. I doubt it will change my vision, style etc... (again, like Clive commented earlier). Singles critiques are not difficult, and they are out of context (by themselves) to say the least...
     
  52. The most well known photographic curators and critics weren't photographers, particularly John Szarkowski pops into mind.​
    But he was a photographer too. Had exhibitions and a few books out with his work.
     
  53. Well I for one have never participated in any S&D photo threads but this discussion has made me interested to literally give it a shot and try and contribute to future POW offerings (photos - not critiques which I'll leave to those who seem to have fairly well defined ideas as to what S&D photography is about! :)
     
  54. bms

    bms

    Maybe there should be a separate thread for the critique (or commentary), rather than "hijacking" the POW thread? People could post the same image, or not, and critiques could then be in the same thread.
     
  55. Didn't know that Phylo, will look further. I didn't think he was really known for his own photography.
     
  56. I don't take my car to an airplane mechanic for an estimate on new tires....
    This is a truly terrible analogy unless you believe that photography is mechanical.​
    What I was trying to get at was that if I had a landscape photo that I wanted to get some useful feedback on, I would rather have Ansel Adams look at it than Annie Leibovitz. Both are noted photographers and both would be more then capable of giving great feedback, but I would put much more stock in what Adams would say over Leibovitz (even though I'm not a fan of his work). As an established landscape photographer he would bring experience to the review that Leibovitz couldn't.

    Maybe I'm alone in how I value feedback? But I've been around photo sites long enough to know that street is tough sale to most photographers. Just look at the ratings for images in the street category here. Granted not all are great but there are some very well done images that don't have the ratings they deserve. Isn't this why this thread was started in the first place?
     
  57. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I quite disagree with that. If it can't appeal to someone outside an insular group, then there isn't even any point in putting it up, just find the people you want to have look at it and call it a day.

    Even further, I will mention that for many years my mentor was a very successful landscape photographer. There was absolutely nothing in common between our photographs. He was an incredible help, I think he was far more objective because he didn't compare my photos in any way to his work, not once. Instead, he looked at them for what they were, in the context I presented them. I still strongly feel that someone whose work was closer to mine would never have provided the type of feedback he provided. I didn't choose him for that, it started because I saw he was a ruthless critic and I asked him to look at some of my photos. I would say that I went through a huge growth spurt in the quality of my output in the seven or eight years I was working with him regularly.
     
  58. Phylo, yes, turns out he was a photographer who published a book where his photographs were used to illustrate the ideas of Louis Sullivan. And he had a couple of shows. His other books were about photography. I think he would he is far more renown for his books and writings about photography and especially his work at MOMA than he ever would be as a photographer.
    And to punctuate what Jeff is saying in the post above, the two people who taught me the most about a print and about photography were not street photographers. One was a working commercial editorial photographer and the other was a studio photographer. Neither one was overly impressed with candid photography, but they nonetheless had huge insight into what made a picture work.
     
  59. So where does that leave us then? Moving forward?
     
  60. Oops, he had a couple of photo books..ok, I quit..
     
  61. Hi Everyone. I just got back from a short trip to the Bay Area and just had a chance to read through this tread. As usual, some very thought provoking posts.
    Thanks to those who commented on my picture. I'll address the comments and questions and then say a few words regarding critiques.
    The picture I posted was taken in Venice Beach this past 4th of July. I'm running at a five month gap so the roll was processed and the print made about two weeks ago. However, I remember taking it. I took two shots, the other one a horizontal version taken straight on and then the one I posted. Yes, it is flat given the shade she is sitting in. One downside to film of course in how all 36 exposures receive the same developing despite the differences in exposures and light for various frames. Perhaps one day I'll try to re-print it with a touch more contrast although there's not a lot of dark areas in the scene to work with. When I saw the print appear in the developer tray, my first thought was how the stark grey concrete bench, drainage pipe and brick structure made her appear as if she is sitting in a zoo exhibit someplace. The dark edges are of course the rebate edge of the film. At Pasadena City College where I do pretty much all of my printing there are two kinds of negative carriers: Full frame which leaves the black edges around the image and the standard carrier which by its design crops out portions of the negative but prints flush to the paper edges. Now back in 2004 or so when I took my first photography class, I was too sick to show up on the day the class had its darkroom demonstration. So when I came back the following week, I had to rely on the students on either side of me for help. The stockroom happened to give me a full frame carrier that day which is just as well. Before I learned to print, I simply had my color or C-41 b&w film processed and printed by whatever mini lab was cheapest. Such labs of course do not crop so basically I never learned that cropping an image was even possible until close to the end of the semester. By that time I simply got into the habit of cropping in the camera. Once I got to the lab late and only standard carriers were available. It was such a God awful way this carrier would crop so much out of the first negative I set out to print that I simply checked it back in and waited until a full frame became available. I'd like to point out at this time that I have nothing against photographers who crop. I'm all for whatever gets him/her the picture that means the most to them. I just simply got into the habit of cropping in camera and I'm too stubborn to change. I know that some photographers think printing the rebate edges is a bit pretentious, but I really don't care one way or the other, it's just the way those carriers print. My 6x7 negatives are also printed full frame but they just seem to leave a slightly jagged edge around some parts of the image.
    Now then as for critiques, well, I certainly appreciate any comments made on my pictures, be they good, bad, or indifferent. I'm reluctant to offer critiques however, simply because I fall woefully short in the eloquence department. I know when I like an image and when I don't but I don't always know how to explain it. Besides, who the Hell am I to tell someone their photograph works or doesn't work? Doesn't it all come down to individual taste? For example, this past Sat I went to SFMOMA to see the HCB exhibit. After leaving the exhibit I wondered why two of my most favorite HCB photographs were not included and I also wondered why I was leaving without any new found admiration for HCB as is usually the case for me when I see such a large scale exhibit of a photographer. I can only guess that despite the gushing praise that I've read about HCB in numerous websites and publications, much of his work just doesn't speak to me like the work of say William Klein or Robert Frank. Different strokes for different folks I guess. Likewise the images posted here in this forum I find some to be outstanding and some that should find it's way to the circular file, including some of my own work. I've always said that creative endeavors are processes of growth. Even if one shoots at the same places time and time again, the work should still grow in different directions. How boring it would be to produce the same kinds of pictures time and time again. Everyone who posts here on a regular basis has contributed both good and not so good work. This is the way it should be and long may it continue.
     
  62. "I fall woefully short in the eloquence department."..."I've always said that creative endeavors are processes of growth. Even if one shoots at the same places time and time again, the work should still grow in different directions. How boring it would be to produce the same kinds of pictures time and time again. Everyone who posts here on a regular basis has contributed both good and not so good work. This is the way it should be and long may it continue."


    Hmmphh, you sound pretty 'eloquent' here, Marc.
     
  63. LOL just a temporary glitch that's all E. Short!
     
  64. "...it's just the way those carriers print."

    That is unless you make use of the easel blades..
     

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