...

by Pencheva Elena

sky hair water dreamlike girl clouds seeking criti pencheva elena

Gallery: Digital/Art

Tags: sky hair water dreamlike girl clouds seeking critique

Category: Abstract

Published: Friday 2nd of March 2012 01:58:50 PM


Comments

Michel Latendresse

Intriguing and original composition.  Well done. Regards - michel

Dror Baldinger

the level of skill is undisputed and is truly incredible but beyond that, what does it mean?

i really admire the technical skill, but what idea keeps it together?

Efim Zatuchny

interesting work!

Ben Huybrechts
Hello Elena Excellent Fine art ! I love it, Ben

niki barbati

i don't think the idea is so importat.... just admire the techinique and the realisation! very good work

Daniel Gorinstein
Inspiring

Congratulations on a truly marvelous image. I agree, the pure visual impact should suffice for this subjective and highly imaginative composition. Elegant, refined and superbly accomplished post-processing. In my favorites!

DG

martin forget
Art

Very nice art work. I like the smoothness and the choice of those fishes who once went out of the see to put some life on the ground.

 

regards and best of luck to you,

 

martin

Danny Deckers

Aesthetic surrealism, as expected. Allways a pleasure to look at.

Evgeni Donev

Very well done. I like very much tonality and color balance in harmony with her eyes. Best wishes. Evgeni

Doug Stubbs

Very unique composition. It seems well thought out although I miss it's meaning if it has one at all. Very spacey feel about it. I like it very much, excellent artwork.

Paul Casagrande
cara amica

una storia molto raffinata ed elegante,complimenti !

saluti paul

Kallol Majumdar

Excellent image, Elena...your concept and execution is simply brilliant...very well done...7...my best

Linda Davidson

This is so beautifully-executed. A fascinating surreal image that I want to explore and look for your meaning and intention. My eye goes back and forth between the fish like creatures and the woman's head. This is wonderfully creative with impressive details. 7

Patrick Desmet

Well done very good work !

Pierre Dumas
Fantastic work of art!

Pure perfection! Seven all the way Elena! Congratulations!

Best regards!

PDE

Raymond Borg

Very interesting and creative work. Excellent post processing. Congrats.

Maurizio Guarino

Creative and original work! 6

Patrick Hudepohl
Response to ... by Elena Pencheva

Please note the following:

Alex S.
Response to ... by Elena Pencheva

Pretty girl. Very nice fish. A pity that they have been misused in such a cavalier pictorialist fashion.

Fred G
... by Elena Pencheva

Someone above titled their post "Art." This photo is trying awfully hard to be just that. Waaaay hard. Obviously, many Pners are easily convinced. To me, it feels like a paint-by-numbers rendition of something else, as if you can calculatedly and coldly apply the elements of art to a piece of photo paper.

[Looking through the photographer's portfolio, though it is not at all to my taste, there is a consistency to the type of imagination clarified in the work that is impressive and daunting. The skill shown in the endeavor undertaken is also well honed. It's just the sort of mythological kind of idealization that simply doesn't reach me. I have this sense that if Ms. Pencheva "got real" she'd be a formidable photographic force.]

Arthur Plumpton
... by Elena Pencheva

A valuable example for students of a city art or photography college, and issuing from a course of Illustrator 101 or Photoshop 101. There is no doubt some quite good if not seamless technique applied by the photographer in compositing such an image, and it will likely wow those who are disciples of this form of expression. It is sort of fun to look at, of course, and would probably gain a foothold for the photographer in the world of advertising fantasy that requires, above all else, an imagery that captures attention- just long enough to do the job of bringing attention to the virtues of something else. The choice facing a photographer is whether to use a fertile imagination to express something strong and memorable, or whether to put together a visually interesting but arbitrary composition of poorly related subject matter. The former quite often takes the form of a subtle image that holds attention and provokes continued viewer involvement. The latter has promise but often becomes just icing without a cake.

If the intent was to produce a fun image, then I guess that the photographer has achieved that. The technical quality is very good. The overlap of different images is not too disconcerting, and probably adds a bit to whatever form of expression (?) she may be seeking here. The horizontal position of the girl is very forced looking and she is suspended above a medium (water) that normally might buoy up and relax the subject. This forced quality seems apparent in the portfolio of images and the apparent imagination there applied, notwithstanding an evident and impressive technical quality.

I admit to preferring art that can surprise the viewer, but which is also subtle in expression. I do not see that exhibited here, but successful art expression is not perceived the same by everyone.

David Rabinowitz
... by Elena Pencheva

I believe Elena Pencheva is an amazing artist that uses photographic elements to create a surrealistic like vision...for me, this is incredibly creative and fantastical...there is much to consider when viewing this piece of art...the metropolitan museum of art just finished an major exhibition, the first in its history, entitled Faking It, Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop...I don't believe this was a indictment about photography or manipulation in the digital age as much as it was a recognition of the "manipulated image", it's history, and it's coming of age in the digital era...Maggie Taylor, wife of Jerry Uelsmann, is a key figure in digitally enhanced photographic art, using scanned "found" objects and elements including images of 19th century men, women and children...this image and others by Elena Pencheva allows for a creative vision that perhaps she cannot achieve by any other means...when I look at this image I am struck with it's beauty but as I look further, I see a story emerging with all sorts of interesting elements...i think it's a great example of how to use photography coupled with fantasy...

Hector Javkin
Response to ... by Elena Pencheva

There is a Slavic tradition of a female water spiriit, called a samodiva or samovila in Bulgarian. I believe this is what Elena Pencheva (who has the same last name as Bulgarians I have met) is creating. As such, I think it is successful--she is putting the samovila into photographic form, and it works. I don't know if the photo has a title, but that might have helped those who didn't understand it.

You can take the photo as a fun image if you like, the same way that you can take Da Vinci's Last Supper as the painting of a fun farewell event, if you don't know Christian images. It's more understandable, of course, to not know Bulgarian mythology. I'm not saying this photo is a Da Vinci, but I like it.

Donna Pallotta
... by Elena Pencheva

i don't get anything about water spirit in this picture. the picture is pointless, and the skill is wasted. my apologies. dp

Arthur Plumpton
... by Elena Pencheva

Hector, simply as a photographer I see Da Vinci's Last Supper as a remarkable painting, showing, with a particular perspective that is akin to that of a 28mm lens on a 35mm camera, varied human beings who are imaged from left to right and equally distributed at a single unifying table about the central main figure. If I didn't understand the religious context or its symbolism, I would still take away from it a communal event of some significance or import, and not just a less meaningful, if visually appealing, fun image.

Stephen Penland
... by Elena Pencheva

Like the first commenter when the photo was posted, I can admire the technical skill, but I have to ask what keeps the photograph together? I strongly disagree with a subsequently stated point of view that the idea is not so importat.... just admire the techinique and the realization. I've often been struck that if an image seems sufficiently unique, far off the beaten path, very odd, perhaps other-worldly, then it will often receive very high compliments from many viewers for those attributes alone. In past years all one had to do was to push the sliders on tint and saturation to get green skies and purples seas, and the compliments regarding "great colors!" would come flowing in. This POW is more sophisticated than that (are there levels of oddness?) in that it addresses composition, certainly a more difficult aspect of image making and certainly one more open to obscure meanings that may not be readily apparent. So I have to acknowledge that I may be missing something here (I was a science major and not an English major, after all), but a partially submerged head in a tank of newts has me puzzled. As Fred said, I think Elena is trying way too hard in creating offbeat compositions just for the sake of creating offbeat compositions (Fred didn't say all of that; I've added to Fred's thought). Perhaps some will see merit in that, but I'm not among them. So while I can admire Elena's technical skill, and while I'll readily admit to my limited interpretive skills, this composition leaves me scratching my head. When I am able to see a deeper meaning in an unusual composition, that leaves a very positive impression with me, and I think it's a great accomplishment in photography. This composition simply doesn't rise to that level, IMO.

Pnina Evental
Response to ... by Elena Pencheva

Looking at this POW I tought that on the technical/estetical side, Elena's work is well executed and pleasing for the eye. I looked at here other files and I did not see anything that will connect me to this, more than just a look.

Reading Hector's explanation, I looked at google to see what is the meaning of the word Samovila. It may help to understand the point of her work, but still, it is meaningless to a viewer that is not finding any contest of this (maybe her leaning on a traditional legacy) , that will hint about the sourse of the photo without your explanation.... and for me lt is the weakness that Arthur explained my point, much better than I will do...

Stephen we wrote on the same time....;-))

Wouter Willemse
Response to ... by Elena Pencheva

After reading Alex' (first) comment, my main thought is "no, it's not a fish, is it, isn't that an Axolotl? Is an Axolotl a fish?". And frankly, that's how profound my thoughts are after seeing this photo. I think they're axolotls. Or whatever the plural is.

As Fred said, this image is trying to hard. Technically done well, seemingly surrealistic enough. Just not engaging me at all in terms of content, not enough clue what the image would be about. To me, it just seems surreal for the sake of being surreal, intended to be art without the realisation that art is about emotion and communication, not about form and "being different". So, the real question for me remains: what's the plural of axolotl? And am I right this photo shows a few of them? I'm sorry to say, but that's how much this photo manages to capture my attention.

Anders Hingel
Response to ... by Elena Pencheva

If Hector is on the right track, I would not care less, if people without the knowledge of the context, does not catch the meaning of the shot - me included. Some images are not meant to be understood by commoners, but are made for those with the culture and knowledge needed. Such images give all others the opportunity to be introduced to yet unknown historical cultural contexts.
I'm open to be informed, and yet I find the images somewhat artificial and postulating although still an image with some technical qualities that deserve to be underlined.
Looking at the few other images in Elena's portfolio, I do find images that I can directly appreciate. Such as her "resuRrection 2" (sic!) or her "Fielder". Potentially interesting stuff.
A congratulation to Elena for her Pow.

Alex Dumitru
... by Elena Pencheva

Hector, I don't think that what we see is inspired by a samodiva since these are rather wood ferries. But this could be very well another Slavic mythical creature, namely a rusalka. In particular, rusalkas are water creatures, in some legends have green glowing eyes, and as the saying went the rusalka would die if her hair dried out.

Winter, since rusalkas are mythical creatures they go pretty well together with the Axolotls (the plural for Axolotl), which we all must admit are quite unusual creatures. Now, these particular axolotls depicted here are in not such a great shape and are showing some gill hair loss (could Photoshop be the cause?).

Overall the fairy tale like atmosphere is quite succesfully depicted, although I would have preferred a night setting for the scene. This work could serve very well as an illustration in a story book.

martin h
... by Elena Pencheva

Anders, I think that the photos you linked to are actually from Elena's "favorites" folder. I don't think these are pictures she created.

David Rabinowitz
... by Elena Pencheva

Alec D., i think you're right about the illustrative possibilities with this image...i would like to hear Elena's thoughts about what inspired her and how she thinks and experiences this piece of work...

Stephen Penland
... by Elena Pencheva

Yes, I too would like to hear Elena's thoughts about what inspired her and how she thinks and experiences this piece of work. I'd like to hear her thoughts on what she is saying with her image. Why amphibians rather than fish or reptiles -- what was her thinking here? Why just the hair in the water and not more of the head, or arms, or feet? Is it simply a whimsical creation with arbitrary elements, or is it intended to be more than that? Of all of the POWs we've had over the last several years, I find Elena's to be one of the more intriguing images. It's so far removed from my own photographic experiences that I just draw a blank when trying to understand it, and I don't mind admitting that I need help in this regard.

Emmanuel Enyinwa
... by Elena Pencheva

"

Dror Baldinger , March 02, 2012; 09:07 A.M.
the level of skill is undisputed and is truly incredible but beyond that, what does it mean?
i really admire the technical skill, but what idea keeps it together?"

Sometimes, the first impression is the right one. This is one of those times.

Hector Javkin
Response to ... by Elena Pencheva

Alex, I was thinking of the water nymph myth of Slavic and East European culture, and the image certainly suggests that. I may have gotten mixed up between rusalki and samodivi, two different kinds of mythical creatures.
I do look forward to the photographer discussing this, if she wants to.

Anders Hingel
Response to ... by Elena Pencheva

"" I think that the photos you linked to are actually from Elena's "favorites" folder""

Oups ! you are right, Martin. Sorry. The links might at least show that she has broader fields of appreciation than what her portfolio tells.

Wouter Willemse
Response to ... by Elena Pencheva

Alex, thanks for adding the extra information, I sincerely appreciate it (I really was unsure about the plural, even if I used it tongue-in-cheek).

My problem with the photo remains a bit the same, though. In my view the photo itself should inspire me to find the info Alex and Hector have shared with us. But it doesn't for me, I do not feel compelled to search what I am looking at, what its context is. While I can fully understand the lasts posts hoping the Elena shares her thoughts, this "flaw" for me remains.

John A
... by Elena Pencheva

No question about the technical skill here, as has been said many times with respect to the post processing work.

It seems that generally we look at images based on what we like more than whether an image is actually well done or not. I also think that when an image is pleasing to us, we tend to ask less questions--or are at least satisfied with less context. But, then, some images seem to give us a need to understand. I felt that way about this image and had no contextual reference to make sense of it. I wasn't responding to the image not because I didn't like it (I don't think I had gotten that far yet) but rather because nothing made any sense to me--although the little creatures are pretty cool! I had to wonder if I was just missing some contextual reference--and then I was given some with regards to a mythology that was out of my awareness. This gave me some context I didn't have and gave some reference/meaning to what I was looking at. Whether connected or not, at least that information took me from "no sense", maybe even nonsense, to something with a bit more substance. But, I found I still wasn't really satisfied. There was a bigger issue that I wasn't satisfied with.

I think the issue for me is the overwhelming contrast between how the girl is rendered versus everything else in the scene. There is an organic sense of "muting" and softness in all of the elements except the girl--who is crisp, contrasty and obviously lit artificially with perfectly plucked/waxed eyebrows and model makeup. When we compare that to the rest of the scene, there is a loss of unity here that I think is probably the thing that stands out most to me and makes the image a bit more self-conscious. It's like the mixing of the "clean" style we see in much of Elena's other work with a more organic, naturalistic style. I just don't think it is really working here as maybe it was intended.

Maybe in some commercial or illustrative application it would work alright--although there is some wonderfully done, organic style commercial/illustration work out there--but as a stand-alone image, I find it falls a bit short.

Certainly, it is a catchy image, but for me it doesn't go much beyond that.

Fred G
... by Elena Pencheva

<<<It seems that generally we look at images based on what we like more than whether an image is actually well done or not.>>>

We each have our own idea of what "well done" is but, for me, that's relatively unimportant. What's important is how a photo hits me emotionally. If a photo is more meant to sell me something, in most cases it still needs to hit an emotional chord in order to do that. Sometimes a photo is meant simply to represent something accurately, like a picture of a house in a real estate sales magazine, in which case "well done" might be the most important factor.

I hope we don't confuse talking about a photo's hitting us or, in this case, not hitting us emotionally with a simple matter of "liking" or not liking (and I've said before I think whether someone likes a photo can be a significant aspect of a comment or critique of the photo). Still, our emotional response and our liking something are two different aspects of our reactions.

Fred G
Response to ... by Elena Pencheva

You know, I should probably amend that. "Well done" is not relatively unimportant to me. It is important. It's just that it's a bit clinical and a bit academic. Critique ought to have some academics to it, in terms of assessment of goals reached, coherence, continuity, etc. But I just wouldn't want to emphasize "well done" at the expense of emotional responses and discussions which can be very helpful to a photographer. By emotional discussions, I mean not whether I like something or love it or think it's a "masterpiece" (a word bandied about way too much on PN), but what it makes me feel, or what expression comes through to me. Then, on top of that, I do appreciate hearing what people like and don't like. Those can be important visceral reactions, often telling me as much about the critic as the photographer. Taste is certainly a key element in art and, IMO, should not be avoided in these discussions. It is important to keep matters of taste and other matters, such as emotion and technique, separate.

John A
Response to ... by Elena Pencheva

Fred, I don't disagree with you in essence, but the difference I am suggesting here is that the subjective, personal experience of an image is different than objective criteria for the success of an image. These are totally different, an image can be very successful but not appeal to us on any level subjectively--other than our willingness to recognize that it is successfully executed.

I just used "like" to include whatever personal factors one uses to judge an image. Often, when we aren't responding to an image subjectively, an appreciation of its objective success will move us beyond our bias and reveal something more than we otherwise may have recognized.

David Rabinowitz
Response to ... by Elena Pencheva

Fred, you are discussing a point endemic to art. It makes me think of the question: why does something need to make sense in order for it to be enjoyed in its totality unless you are tagging an appreciation of the art based on a cohesive semblance of parts. In fact I would easily venture to say that things that don’t make sense, whether in art or life, often make people uneasy. Much of surrealist art does not make complete sense to the viewer unless it’s accompanied by further exploration and explanation by artist, viewers, theorists and historians. Take a look at some of Rene Magritte’s work, Max Ernst, The Massacre of the Innocents or much of Robert Matta’s, Marcel Duchamp and Salvador Dali’s art. For me, the art was certainly fanciful but also taps into unconscious processes, much of what may be experienced in dreams where identifications and stories make less sense but are reflective of our desires, fears and other emotional content which may be known but often is partially split off from full awareness. Sometimes artwork is just an association of parts, a psychic phenomena. Now, this particular image may have little to do with what I am describing. This may not be seen by the artist as a surrealistic endeavor. The intent may have been eye candy but even so, it reflects meaning and part of my appreciation of this artwork is wondering how it may fit together. That may very well be only partially known to an artist.

Stephen Penland
... by Elena Pencheva

Fred, I can imagine that in many comments that use the terms "well done," "I like it," or even "masterpiece," the commenter may be delivering an emotional response he/she had regarding the photograph but using words that might be commonly used to describe non-emotional kinds of reactions to the photograph. If I say "well done" in a comment, how can anyone really know whether those words are the result of me expressing the fact that the photograph struck a deep cord inside me or, alternatively, I like the processing that had been applied to balance the light within the frame? How can anyone know that my expression of "well done" is based on my clinical examination of a photograph or is instead an echo coming from a memory or emotion that means much to me as a person? Some folks are just more expressive or more articulate than others, and we might be making incorrect interpretations about the nature of a person's reaction if we just read words (which is all we have) written by someone responding to a photograph (especially when the written comment is relatively brief).

It seems to me that emotions are often buried more deeply and therefore more difficult to express than cognitive aspects of our thinking and reacting. When I see a photograph that for me has tremendous emotional appeal because of the feelings it produces or the memories it stirs within me, I will often say "wow" to myself and then frequently use this same word in my written comment. "Superb" is another word that I like to use when describing this kind of reaction to a photograph. If I view a photograph of a single flower surviving in a hostile environment (and where the photographer has selected a good composition and made good use of great light), a photograph that may produce a strong emotional response in me, my comment would not likely describe the loneliness I felt when my father, reduced by alcohol to a splinter of the man I knew years earlier, left our family and headed into an uncertain future, yet that's where my "wow" and my "superb " given in response to this photograph originate (odd words to use to describe loneliness, but I'm simply being appreciative of the photograph that is so able to tap into those deeply held feelings and memories). It's also possible that my "wow" or "superb" are given to a photographer who went to a lot of trouble to get a unique or very aesthetic photograph, something that I applaud and appreciate, and have very little to do with emotion.

Yes, such a comment does say much about me, but aren't most comments like that? I can even imagine "taste" having an emotional component or even an emotional base. In thinking about my own comments on photographs, I often can't easily classify or compartmentalize (I don't like that word because I know that's not what you're doing, but I can't come up with an alternative this early in the morning) my responses as cognitive or affective, let alone describe the subcategory within those two realms that best describes or characterizes my response. And if I have difficulty doing that for my own responses, I think it would be nearly impossible in many cases for someone else to do so based on my brief written responses.

Giving critiques that incorporate our full response to a photograph is difficult. Deciphering the critiques of others on a forum thread where the writer has used few words is even more difficult if not impossible. IMO, as always.

Stephen Penland
... by Elena Pencheva

Damn, another time-out double post. Sorry.

Fred G
... by Elena Pencheva

David, I'm not sure if I'm being misunderstood, but I'll respond to you just in case. I completely agree with you that something doesn't have to make sense in order to be appreciated as art. I often like coming away with more questions than answers. I'm not sure if you are confusing my thoughts with John A's, who did talk about the photo making sense.

I am familiar with and have a great love for the works of Magritte, Dali, and ManRay, though surrealism is not my favorite "school" of art. Whether or not this photo is surrealist didn't even occur to me, as I don't tend to categorize as I experience a photo. What I said in my initial critique was that it seemed to be trying way too hard to be art and looked to me like a rote rendition of what "art" is supposed to look like. That's not to question by any means the sincerity or imagination of the photographer. It is a questioning of the results put before me.

Fred G
Response to ... by Elena Pencheva

Stephen, I agree with you. When I talked about "well done," however, I was responding directly to John A's use of it. In his post he had used "well done" to differentiate it from what we like.

Here's what he said: "It seems that generally we look at images based on what we like more than whether an image is actually well done or not."

Later, he went on to talk about more subjective and more objective ways of looking and critiquing and I think he was using well done in what he considers a more objective sense. I wasn't questioning his usage of "well done" in the same way I was questioning "masterpiece." And I don't think when others use it, they are using it academically or clinically. I think the way John used it struck me as more academic or clinical versus emotional or as a matter of taste.

I agree that "masterpiece" can be like an emotional gut exclamation. However, it can also be hyperbolic nonsense to camouflage a lack of anything more substantive to say. Often the context and other postings of the user of that word give me clues as to which way the "masterpiece" leans.

Arthur Plumpton
... by Elena Pencheva

I appreciate the fact that the present POW leads to different interpretations and reactions by various viewers and leads to some questions about the nature of criticism and the significance or not of various terms used in expressing personal critiques. Some critiques are quite clear or transparent while others are obfuscated for the reader by nature of their less directly expressed quality.

What do the more general and opaque terms like "well done" refer to, or "like it" or "magnificent", or "it strikes me very emotionally?" We are not appraised of the critiquer’s specific response, unless he or she goes on to describe what sort of emotion, or what sort of "well done, is being invoked.

Once my initial intuitive response is made, I first try to categorize that if possible. Whatever the initial response, when I come to further looking at and thinking more about the image I like to lay my critiquer’s cards "on the table" before coming to some more mature response in regard to what I am looking at, or am perceiving.

"On the table" are the following qualifications: 1) An emotional reaction, of what type, why and how? 2) An intellectual response, again of what type, why and how? 3) A questioning response, motivated by the apparent symbolism (*what do the visual elements make me think of? What do they say when taken together?), consistencies or contradictions, and what mystery or enigma, balance or imbalance of the visual elements (forms, lines, points of interest, contrasts, harmonies, compositional beauty or tension) is there and adding to my perception, why, and how? 4) In a photographic medium technical sense, how well has the photographer realized his image, or how well has he transformed the three-dimensional subject matter into a successful two-dimensional object? Is the result both appropriate and convincing, irrespective of the other three critical parameters?

In this four-pronged manner, which is a lot simpler in practice than it seems, and which I admit is not always complete or successful, I try to get a better appreciation of what my viewer's mind and his image is telling me (or what the photographer has incited me to think about) and I am less likely to fall into that possible difficulty of being only able to say that the image moved me emotionally (without the what, why and how?) or that it intrigued me, or some other general term.

The intellectual response component can take many forms. In some cases it is simply a recognition of how the various elements within the overall image contribute to the whole and an appreciation of whether this combination shows synergism (the whole is then more than just the sum of its parts), or it may see conflicting elements used in a manner to disorient or challenge the viewer to think that what he or she is seeing is not what it seems. Why and how do the various visual elements contribute to the communication and make it more than it may seem to be? There are also other cases of the teasing or challenging of the viewer’s intellect. Emotions too may be of various types and supported by chromatic choices, harmonious or disconnected subject matter, and so on.

Overall, all of these factors contribute I think to the pleasure of viewing. For the photographer, they are also motivations and elements of his creative process. Sometimes the intent of the photographer is not always readily apparent in his or her photograph, which may be the case for Elena's POW image.

Stephen Penland
... by Elena Pencheva

Fred, I didn't make the connection between yours and John's comments, so we were both in our correct places but passing each other as we went along. Admittedly, I didn't read all of the comments before I responded to yours; had I done so, I would have had a better understanding of where you were coming from.

Critiques on all photographs probably ought to be a lot longer than just the few words or short sentences that most of us give them. I just don't think it's possible to fully convey the nature of our reaction to a photograph in a few words. However, I'm dreaming, because most of the time we don't want to (or can't) take the time and make the effort that such a response would require -- there's just too much to do within and outside photo.net. So I'll probably continue to mix my cognitive and affective comments together, but hopefully the photographer will still get something out of them, whether it is just a feeling of a pat on the back for great processing, or an idea for a tweak or a different composition next time, or knowledge about the aspects of his or her photograph that really hit home with me. I was looking through my "favorites," and even those photographs that I consider way above average are a mixture of these different reactions -- they are my favorites for different reasons.

Arthur Plumpton
... by Elena Pencheva

One "intellectual" interpretation of the photo just occurred to me. It may suggest something exactly in line with the photographer's intent, or it may just be something else that is also, coincidentally, suggested by the picture elements.

These little Mexican relatives of the Tiger Salimander are known for their apparently transitory fish-like and air- breathing-frog-like state. They cannot survive breathing air out of water, although their mammal like quality suggests this is where they may wish to be. On the other hand, the girl, who is confiding her hair to the water medium, is aware that her connection to the water can only be transient or partial. She is of the world of clouds and sky, as illustrated, and of an oxygen and nitrogen atmosphere, and she can only dream of being fully in the water world. She appears to me to be dreaming of something.

A simple story, but one which makes the image more appealing to me.

David Rabinowitz
... by Elena Pencheva

interesting thought Arthur. She does look like she’s eavesdropping on something outside of her awareness but something she wants to take part in…her expression isn’t fear but one of curiosity and interest…

Jeremy Jackson
... by Elena Pencheva

Arthur, I appreciated your framework for image critique. It made me realize in a very clear way how differently we approach photographs. Your framework strikes me as much more appropriate to visual art in general than to photography in particular. That is perhaps appropriate for this piece of "digital art" (the artists description). I have always felt that photographic considerations should be primary in any critique of a photograph. They appear last in your framework and only in the secondary sense of how the photographic medium was used to achieve the artistic objective - please correct me if I'm mistaken here. Since this DAOW (Digital Art of the week) might as well be a painting to me, photographic critiques seem besides the point. That's why I'm not going to give one. JJ.

John A
Response to ... by Elena Pencheva

Well, all I was trying to say is that sometimes we don't 'like" an image but that doesn't mean it is "bad" or unsuccessful. We just can't form a connection with it from where we currently stand. That doesn't mean the image isn't worth pursuing further, but that is an individual call and we can't do that in every case.

Sometimes we just find that our lack of connection with an image is personal and subjective and sometimes it is also for more objective reasons.

Arthur Plumpton
... by Elena Pencheva

David, I guess it is just one possible interpretation among many, and witness to the fact that a photographic work, like painting or other art forms, can mean different things to different viewers.

Jeremy, I guess I listed the four parameters with technical qualities last, but I mean no particular order as each can have varied weights according to the varying subject matter. I do equate photography with art, in the sense that the works of each seem to me to have the same objective of communicating something to the senses and mind of the viewer.

Landrum Kelly
... by Elena Pencheva

Chinese carp detritus in her hair. Not appealing to me at all.

--Lannie

martin h
Response to ... by Elena Pencheva

And if you take a look at the model's expression, you see something's missing. She's neither amused, dreamy, superior, haughty, or anything else (whereas the models in Elena's other pictures do have some sort of identifiable expression). Simply a non-expression expression.

This one, Say "Yes"!, is a picture that I like tremendously. Unlike the POW, I don't feel the need to pick it apart. For some reason, it just works:

http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=14433035

Giuseppe di Pietrantonio
... by Elena Pencheva

Hot to construct an art work with the help of photography!I admire the intelligence and the marked sense of art of the photographer,but i'm sorry i don't like this photo....

ali noorani
... by Elena Pencheva

It looks like a student project at first sight to me; random objects put together in Photoshop. It's a bit more though, it has created some 'atmosphere'. But then nothing more
Before landing on this image, I saw a "surreal" picture of 3 overweight women, dressed in the style of ancient Greece, shooting the breeze, standing on a flat mosaic limitless surface with a giant statute in the back and sky scrapers and a TV set right there in the middle. It was titled 'Graces'.
My reaction is the same: What am I looking at?
I admit this one is at least more interesting to look at. But then after 10 seconds of 'exploration' all I'm left with is an image I struggle to understand and a tendency to relate my failure with some emotional sensation that (young) females get from lending their hair to forces of wind, water, ... but I don't. And the click of a mouse to save me from this page.
*update*
I do see her listening to the submerged underworld. But still I find it an 'incomplete story'

Dennis Barnett
... by Elena Pencheva

When I peruse Elena's gallery, I see the work of a very talented illustrator who uses photographs in her work. Like many talented artists, the work is very personal and requires a degree of thought as to its meaning, if the viewer cares enough. Obviously, if the viewer isn't captivated on some level, it's his/her choice to walk on to the next image. That's the way I feel about this image. I spent some time looking at it, tried to think what was driving the "concept," couldn't make heads nor tails (pardon the pun) of it, and gave up. I find it awkward to look at, the girl's position hurts my neck, and I don't see (should I say appreciate?) the idea behind it. I'm a perfect illustration of what I just wrote! I don't really care, but I see skill in the montage.

Christine von Diepenbroek
... by Elena Pencheva

I know, that a lot of people has problems with photos like that. It is a fantastic surreal work. The interpretation of such works can be very different.

For me it is an interpretation of the evolution-theory. I can see the work as the way out of the water to the earth. It is the perfect representation how the evolution worked. Every life cames out of the water. We found in Darwins theory the ladder of one-cell-ling-being over fishes (but Elena don´t show fishes, she show a former form of life, I don´t know the name in english) to amphibies, reptiles, birds, and last not least the human species as an example for mammals.
The connection from the water-life to the humon species is the hair, who swim in water und the rest is on earth.

Sorry for my very poor english, hope I can tell you my thoughts about your work. For me it is a master-piece of surreal art.

Christine

Keith Richard Terry
... by Elena Pencheva

Very interesting composition, struck me as a bit Pre-Raphaelite at first sight.

Donna Pallotta
... by Elena Pencheva

previously i dismissed the image as pointless.. now, after reading Christine's (a surrealist who fascinates me no end) suggestions, i'll indulge in an interpretation of Ms Pencheva's intent that might equal my admiration for her skill.
Perhaps the amphibians, with lungs and boney limbs to adapt to life on land, participate in a romantic metaphor. perhaps because of the commonly understood reference to sexuality of a woman's hair, she is fishing for a toad to turn into a prince. ;-} dp

Stephen Penland
... by Elena Pencheva

Perhaps it's because I'm a biologist firmly rooted in principles of evolution that I'm unable to let my limited imagination wander far enough to come up with my own story for Elena's creation. I see an unusual assemblage of elements, and they just don't come together for me in any meaningful way. All week I've been wondering if Elena meant to assemble a whimsical creation or if, instead, she had something more specific in mind when she selected these particular elements and arranged them in this particular way. I'd love to know. Even then, I suppose, I'd be filtering her response through my own set of ways of knowing the world, but at least I'd know, at least I'd understand her better.

Gerry Siegel Honolulu
Response to ... by Elena Pencheva

I avoided so far most of the other comments. Or seeing this as in some gallery of Elena's other workmaship. I prefer at first a singular look and a reaction of feeling about a POW choice for discussion.
OK, strikes me,off the bat for now, as a pretty successful photo illustration with which to accompany something else. I am thinking something herein to sell me something else. Which is not demeaning vaue. A valid photo objective... But not obvious by itself here.
Would even grab my attention as a musical album cover in a page of album DVD covers or bookcovers on an Amazon or NYT display of new book covers. (Perhaps with some bold white script overlay on the left side w/ the name of the singer or the name of the new collection of music or the memoir on the best seller list. It makes one want to "look inside" and that is what I see as this image's merit. Not a dig at all -to do that kind of thing well.. If that were intent it would deserve a strong plus on the reasonably imaginative side. Artistic would be too strong though. Original,well perhaps so.. The color tint choice stands out . It projects the requisite mystery to be the cover of a of mystery book I mean. image. I give it B+ for and illustration of something. (Note also the square format is perfect one for a music album or a book cover with script or lettering. Even a movie ad.
Now for the BUT part, ah I have to say re by Elena- As a stand alone POW, I don't get a real message conveyed in itself. Or see beauty of form. Or something which touches the heart. Which I am usually patrolling for among other sentiments.

Elena Pencheva
... thank you!

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