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Photo of the Week - #43 7/11/22


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  • Photo of the Week is a member-run feature.
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1695225_f92678bf198de842a92c5c3c80be56d8.thumb.jpg.987ec01c77699206350b5aee8d0dc04b.jpg

"You talkin' to me?"

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brittle = having hardness and rigidity, prone to easy breaking.

 

Overblown contrast often appears brittle.

 

That was certainly the first thing I noticed about this. I'd ask the photographer if that was the intention and why. There might be applications, a particular book cover or the illustration of a story or article, where this kind of more graphic and sharp rendering might express something key within a context.

 

I'm imagining the kid dreaming of his future, when he will have a bald spot just like his dad!

 

Lovely content, from the dreamy look of the kid, to his wonderfully-placed hands, to the sense of security in his dad's arms, all in contrast to the processing.

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"You talkin' to me?"

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This is definitely my kind of photo!

 

First and foremost, it's a wonderfully (and unusual) intimate portrait of the relationship between the girl and the man. The image (stereotypically) suggests the relationship between a daughter and her father. But it may of course be different.

 

For me, the girl's expression and the way she holds on to the man are captivating! They draw me into the photo and hold my attention. Whatever their relationship might be, the photo tells a story about the relationship. The fact the girl's face is in the photo while the man is shot from the back makes the photo (for me) intruiging.

 

I occasionally look up any Exif info that might be available in a photo. So too, for this one. I see no ''exposure data' that suggest that the original photo might have been 'overblown'. So I assume that the presentation is a question of (post-processing) 'style' preference, which you might like or not. FWIW, I've deliberately created a few 'overblown' photos myself just because I liked the effect :).

 

I like the sharp texture of both the girl's and man's hair and of the man's jacket but to my taste, these might have been 'overly sharpened' during post-processing. Again, just a personal preference.

 

Whatever views I might have on the post-processing, the one thing that I really love about this photo is that the girl's eyes are pretty much perfect (including catchlights)!

 

I would personally have been proud to have captured this image! Post-processing styles and preferences are personal and can change over time.

 

Congrats to the photographer,

 

Mike

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I like it a lot, it appears to be an image found along the way, not a setup shot. Yes the highlights in her face, left hand and some of the background are blown out to my eye but the detail in their hair and his shirt drew me in instantly.

 

Rick H

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brittle = having hardness and rigidity, prone to easy breaking.

 

Overblown contrast often appears brittle.

 

That was certainly the first thing I noticed about this. I'd ask the photographer if that was the intention and why. There might be applications, a particular book cover or the illustration of a story or article, where this kind of more graphic and sharp rendering might express something key within a context.

 

I'm imagining the kid dreaming of his future, when he will have a bald spot just like his dad!

 

Lovely content, from the dreamy look of the kid, to his wonderfully-placed hands, to the sense of security in his dad's arms, all in contrast to the processing.

 

Thanks for the dictionary definition of “brittle.” I should have framed my question differently so as to apply the term to photography.

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Thanks for the dictionary definition of “brittle.” I should have framed my question differently so as to apply the term to photography.

Hmmm. I think the definition provided can be applied to photography. Implied in that is the look of the photo "having hardness and rigidity" and metaphorically seeing the appearance of things in the photo as if they're "prone to easy breaking."

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"You talkin' to me?"

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The photo was taken in 2013 at the Carmel Mission on Easter Sunday with a Panasonic G2 and a 45-200mm zoom. I probably used the sepia mode. In Elements 8, I was pushing and pulling the Highlight/Shadow levers back and forth to see what would happen. Suddenly the hair jumps out and I decided I liked it and left it. I never noticed the jacket detail until it was mentioned here. Also, I've been under the impression it was a little boy but I can't be sure now. Unfortunately the Carmel Mission is no long the welcoming friendly place it used to be. Thanks, this was fun.
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What I find particularly compelling about this photo is the artistry that went into making me, as a viewer, relate to it in the way I do: it makes me feel sad. Was that the photographer’s intent? From my point of view, it doesn’t matter. From their point of view, it probably does. Clearly, it hasn’t affected others in the same way that it affected me.

 

Ordinarily, I don’t gravitate toward images that make me feel negative emotions. But when that manipulation is done skillfully, I’m impressed; and I’m impressed by this image. I may not “like” it in the sense that I’d want to hang it on my wall, but I “like” it in the sense that I’m very intrigued by what it is about the image that makes it pack such an emotional punch.

 

The four aspects that for me carry most of the emotional weight—and were under the control of the photographer—are the point of view, the composition, the contrast, and the coloration.

  1. POV: What a perfect moment and angle to catch it from—just wow.
  2. Composition: This was hard to pull off, and works beautifully. The intense lightness of the child’s face and hands against the darkness of the carrier instantly reinforces the child as the center of the story, but this could have been so easily thwarted if the high contrast hadn’t been used to bring out that dark line between face and background wall. It must have been tempting to darken the wall to a mid-tone, but that would have left the image unbalanced, it would have separated the child from the world they’re gazing at, and it would have defused—as well as diffused—that magnificent line. The image is dark on the carrier’s side, light on the child’s side, and the two sides are connected by child and carrier sharing essentially the same hair (a feat made possible by the choice of high contrast and monochromatic coloration).
  3. Contrast: the brittleness that Ludmilla mentioned is important—it evokes a documentary aspect to the image, and one with very hard edges. I’m not seeing the soft hair and gentle complexion of a contented child here. I’m seeing a world that is capable of fracturing into glass-like shards, and I’m seeing it in news-reel starkness. Something happened.
  4. Coloration: the sepia toning delivers us directly into the past, but whose past? Ours, with the nostalgia for our own childhoods? Or the child’s—are they already dreaming of a happier past?

All of these elements work to amplify the power of the child’s wistful look. There’s a story being told here and it’s a story we’ll probably never know, but I fear it’s not a happy one.

 

What if the image had been lower contrast, in color? It would have been a sweet image of a cute child, wistful, perhaps, because they had to leave the pool earlier than desired, and they both had hair still wet from swimming. I would have “liked” the image more in the sense that it would have been easier to look at, but I wouldn’t have “liked” it as much in the sense that it would have been less visually and emotionally compelling.

 

So my kudos to the photographer—it’s a powerful image, and beautifully processed.

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What if the image had been lower contrast, in color? It would have been a sweet image of a cute child, wistful, perhaps, because they had to leave the pool earlier than desired, and they both had hair still wet from swimming.

The photo gives me just the sweet, cute vibe you talk about and the processing, to me, acts as an add-on or a not successful mask. This particular processing doesn’t transform the photo any more than the man’s comb-over transforms his bald spot. Processing can transform but for that to happen I have to experience it as in some way organic and relevant to the content and that doesn’t happen for me here.

 

Larry Clark, just to take one example, has plenty of photos of kids that have a non-sweet edge (to say the least). But what I appreciate about Clark's work is how the content and the style and the handling of it create a complete and authentic picture. Here, I'm not sure why I'd respond to sweet, cute content attempted to be given an edge with such non-nuanced post work.

"You talkin' to me?"

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Artistic treatment aside (I don’t hate it but don’t love it either- I’ll say this tho, the photo has some punch to it), this is a great shot that’s really all about the child.

 

Those eyes, and the way the child is clinging to the adult… somebody used the word wistful but I can’t tell either way if it’s a look of hope, or if there’s some sense of finality in those eyes.

 

The way Sanford described it, it seems like a fast grab, totally unplanned- but in spite of whatever technical flaws it remains in my opinion a brilliant image.

 

PS I’m purposely not ascribing any gender to the humans here because I like the photo immensely -and I appreciate the androgyny of these two- which adds yet another question mark among many. Furthermore I feel that imposing gender onto the shot would detract from the purity of emotion and raw humanity in it, so I’m perfectly content to just let it go.

Edited by Ricochetrider
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