by Crosley John

loneliness bw crosley street photography seeking critique john

Gallery: Black and White: Then to Now

Tags: b&w crosley street photography seeking critique

Category: Street

Published: Friday 29th of December 2006 01:35:37 PM


Marco Giardini
when i saw the picture i imagined the same title you used. is a nice shot but.....i think it could have been cutted in a different way. Tastes are tastes and i cannot judge them. bravo .oesse.

Alfredo Muñoz de Oliveira
7/7 excellent!!!

John Crosley
Peter I guess the theme is a 'cliche' in the sense that it meets the sense of the type of photography that you 'like', but I hope I've treated it originally, or at least with such 'skill' that any lack of originality has been overcome by that skill. Thanks for the good wishes, and the very same to you. John (Crosley)

John Crosley
Domen Colja I will make a point of remembering your words (they're most memorable) about 'depicting life' versus 'speaking it' and the difference (however subtle). It means the world to me, and you're the first and only person in my life to articulate the difference. I believe in 'leading' life. I've made many mistakes in my life, and according to my beliefs, one learns by making mistakes, therefore, I have accumulated a great deal of knowledge, and at the rate I keep making mistakes, I still have a great ways to go. And in that way, I speak life, because my photographs 'speak' my life . . . my cameras follow me wherever I go and document my most unusual life and sharpen and help me aim my most interested eye(s) and mind. Thanks for helping me articulate something I might have lived a lifetime without otherwise having been able to do so. John (Crosley)

John Crosley
Domen These are the 'famous' steps at La Defense office complex at the West end of Paris. I went there with the intent to photograph them, and in particular to make a significant photo using these famous steps, unlike anything anyone else had made, and was lucky enough to find this girl/woman, on a chill November day, looking very, very lonely -- perhaps stood up by a date. There are variations also with one in which a man, upper left, looks at her from a distance while also seated, as though he is fearful of approaching her -- equally good, I think. Thanks for the comment. John (Crosley)

Peter Meade
Hello John, I think this is very good. I particularly like images of isolated individuals in semi-abstract settings, so i think this is a winner. Best wishes for 2007. Pete

Domen Colja
6/6 Picture full of semiotic substance, excellent work. p.s.: What I miss is an unobtrusive frame, maybe white with a 1px-wide black delineation. It would emphasize the photo even more. But it's a subjective opinion anyways, 'cause I see you don't use frames/borders at all. p.p.s.: Interesting diverse portfolio, btw, keep up the good work.

John Crosley
Domen Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I always appreciate constructive comments. (also thank you for the comments on my 'diverse' portfolio -- no repeats, generally). I've always wondered what to do about 'borders' and think I'll stick with 'none' though I am sure it costs me ratings. I can always add them if I sell my photos. Frankly, I just don't know how to make 'em anyway -- never really wanted to go to the trouble, and the next issue is which ones to frame and which not to, and then 'how to frame each one' -- it seems to detract from my photography, I think, as 'framing' itself is an 'art', though a very good one but just one I'm not schooled in, let alone skilled in. John (Crosley)

Domen Colja
John I completely agree with you on the borders subject: "an art by itself". I've started my photographic endevour just a month ago (buying an SLR) I must say that such a kick as it was, sure so, sometimes feels like "infodrowning": the amount of singled elements completely independent (and still making/constructing photography as a whole) is bigger than an "alien" (to this artworld) would presume. That's why getting apt to "making borders" is not just a click&go task and used correctly (technically) does miracles. But still: some photographers depict life, some speak it. The first ones need frames (to encapsulate it), for the second ones it's just an option;) And you're definitely the latter. Again, excellent job, John.

John Crosley
Alfredo Thanks!!! Simple to take, but shows very well. I even went there with the intention of taking such a photo, not knowing how I would do so, but these steps are more than a little 'famous'. One Argentine member has posted photos of wonderful such steps in Argentina I want to see them; and I may contact him as I intend to go to Argentina soon (living there's very cheap for an American and photographically interesting). John (Crosley)

Axel Cordes
I like that one! Lonely - which is said also leaving her in the center! . >in the borders subject: "an art by itself". Google for the painter 'Piet Mondiran' (when he wasn't on T-Shirts and cups). He already impressed me when I was about 12 years - and still does. A part of his philosophy was: the frame is a part of the picture - and so HE made the frames. And this is what I think also - a frame is the last finish on an image - don't let others do it - they may run against your thoughts. Another thing I though reading the posts: Don't do it for the ratings - do it for you and as you like it - the image is yours - you press the butten when you think so, no one other, and the same applies for the finish. My few cents. Regards Axel

John Crosley
Marco Now you've whetted my appetite (like whetting a stone) (sharpened). Let me see and post your own workup. I'd like to see how to improve this. This is whole frame except for minor top/bottom crop because of the edge of the staircase top/bottom. I'd love to see how you'd handle it. Why not post it in-line so everyone can see it. I'm not afraid of your taste and you might teach me something. After all 'Someone Else', a member, taught me something wonderful with cropping just a few days ago about one of my photos. I am a sponge just eager to soak up anything you have to show me. Of course, I cannot go back, as photographer, and reposition myself and retake the photograph (she moved her position when I changed my position, so I only had this opportunity from this angle to shoot this and when a guy came down and sat behind and above her, for a completely different photo with more 'depth' I think which I may also post, probably far later. John (Crosley)

John Crosley
Hanna Cowpe Damn you, referring to a photo of which I had actually posted several, all with variations on the same name, then referring to your comment on that photo and from you I knew it was a meaningful comment. I actually had to 'work' -- which as anybody who knows me knows that is anathema to me. I had to go through all the 'strawberry fields' photos, (there are at least four) looking for your comment, but when I found it, it was instantly recognizable. So, I have looked it up, and sure enough, with its reference to the 'strawberry fields' covered by beanyl (vinyl) of Korea, having taken you on a trip through your past memories, having given you a 'perspective' on that photo, it indeed not only was meaningful but very evocative as you described it . . . and I think you described it correctly . . . and I was very moved by your reception to that (formerly overlooked) photo. It had been posted and not commented on or rated, then reposted for critique and the critiques poured in and currently it has over 55,000 views in this folder. I'm glad that photo (and this) are evocative to you; your analysis of this photo is 'spot on' as I attempted to write you last night, but my laptop batteries failed and there I was in a motel parking lot on their wi-fi with my comment written and my laptop hibernating (losing my comment back to you at 12:00 p.m or just a little prior.) Such are the vicissitudes of life. Happy New Year!!! Thanks for Thinking of Me. I'm delighted that my photography has an influence on you (a pleasant one). John (Crosley)

Hanna Cowpe
John, it's good to see one of your images get front page credit. Unfortunately sometimes the most profound statements go unnoticed. I can't think of a better crop because there is no question of her 'aloneness' here - no approaching individual just out of frame. She seems to be eyeing the piece of paper to her lower right. It adds an element of interest, real or imaginery. Its location is punctuated by the fact it is at a point where the rhythm of the steps changes, possibly where there is a level change. It's a mesmerizing image because of its minimalism and the repetitive patterns in the steps. It reminds me a little of your photo of the strawberry fields. All good food for thought.

John Crosley
A.Cordes An excellent comment, and your note about 'frames' relates not just to 'frames' as we know them generally but to the 'framing' I employ in almost every photo I post. In fact, most of my photos (not all) are very carefully framed -- critic Matt Vardy was trying to figure out my 'style' amidst my diversity and he wrote in my comments that while some were very good, and others not so, when looking at all of them together, something seemed to tie them together. I think that something is composition, and part of that composition is the framing process within the viewfinder (and sometimes the cropping afterward) that I go through before I press the shutter release (and at least no later than before I post for critique or post in a folder if I don't post for critique.) I'm not sure if I read you correctly, but this woman already is framed, by a cascade of steps, and look at the framing of the expansion joints in the steps -- it's parallel to the incline of her body for a most pleasing 'pattern' -- thus giving this the patina of a work of art. But of course you could actually be writing about the use of 'frames' as the subject is usually known -- those lines around a photo that mimic the onetime wooden framework used to hold a painting taut and usually to hold it onto a wall. To make those may in part be an affectation and in part a completion of the composition. In Internet posting, their only usefulness is as 'art' and not for practical reasons, since Internet postings are not to be hung anywhere by definition. In any case, and however you meant it (or both ways), your comment is elucidating as well as edifying (food for thought) as I ponder the future of my work and whether or not in the future (on my own website) to consider 'framing' with artificial lines my works. Thanks for the reference -- I'll be looking when I'm not in a car outside a motel hooked into the motel wi-fi (with permission). John (Crosley)

Ransford Pyle
I would title this 'soledad,' I word translated by both 'solitude,' and 'loneliness.' She has chosen to be alone, which intrigues me because solitude is sometimes chosen, loneliness but rarely. Her body language suggests either that she is cold or lonely, perhaps both, but she has purposely put distance between herself and others (we could think of many stories to explain her)

The images that really 'speak' loneliness to me are the ones in which someone is lonely in a crowd. Perhaps that is because I occasionally feel completely dissociated from the strangers that surround me.

Interesting note I've chosen to begin a 'happy new year.'

John Crosley
Ransford I have another photo of this woman, involving a young man, seated upward of her and to her left, gazing towards her, as she looks forlornly rightward. I won't post it right away, but it will have a way of showing up somewhere in my portfolio (maybe not in this folder), for good photographs have a way of not getting forgotten by me, but I also have a tradition of not doing 'series' generally, with a few exceptions, especially in this particular folder and my other principal folders. I believe in showing my Renaissance capabilities, as I develop them, or at least 'realise' them . . . and realise that I have them ;~)) As to the subject of loneliness, I choose to be 'lonely' . . . which to me simply means being alone and/or being with someone who is incompatible, rather than choose to be with someone who is incompatible, or to 'fall into' something that is unsuitable and I am unsuitable for many people, but greatly suitable for far more than ever would know it, but there's almost no way for them to know it. So, like you, I'll be traveling, but my companions in the near term are two (getting to be long-term) friends depicted in my portfolio, both so young that viewing their photos almost disturbs me, but they have souls of the ages and great wisdom as well as 'soul' and both are not only quite pretty but will help me attract the photo models I seek as I travel and seek to develop my glamour skills and portfolio.0 0 No model who has worked for me has indicated she would have any hesitancy to work for me again/in fact there is a waiting list for when I return to Ukraine, of women who say 'can I be next' and 'don't forget me' because I truly treat them well. And that's exactly how I treat my traveling companions and friends, and Ransford, since you indicate you have some age (and some verve) I recommend traveling to Eastern Europe where the attitude to older persons is remarkably different than in the U.S. For one thing, older men who are healthy are remarkable for their scarcity in countries like Russia and Ukraine where once-vaunted medical care is diminishing as doctors after 1991 rushed out to drive taxis and emigrated to places like the US and elsewhere where they could do the same, while studying to be 'foreign' doctors. And native medical care in such places often is a melange of nutritionism, science, pseudoscience, naturopathy, chiropracty, osteopathy etc., all blended, and not completely disciplined because a generalist education and a B.A. and/or B.S. are NOT requisites to study for medicine/it's done right out of secondary school, and the result is some fair amount of quackery among even the dedicated -- as well as just some eccentric ideas held by otherwise mainstream and fully licensed doctors. And in Russia, I personally can attest, having been hospitalized there once with pneumonia, I had my own personal cockroach -- there would have been more, but I was in the VIP room, with my sole attendant cockroach. He kept from breeding because no mate would come near; there was no food for miles. The hospital served gruel, but relatives normally brought food for the patients or the patients ate the gruel (and I guess the cockroaches wouldn't touch it). My second wife, after giving birth, had six operations in a major Russian hospital to her abdomen, apparently the result of peritonitis stemming from poorly sterilized instruments, depriving her of first months of bonding with her just-born and only child and destroying her first marriage -- leaving her with a lifetime distrust of men (which she's getting over the longer she knows me, but she still surreptitiously blames me for the ever unpopular idea of causing the brain cancer which struck her at age 29, and continues now several years later and MAY now be cured, according to her.) As noted, we do not live together, and have stayed married solely for legal/tax reasons. I haven't seen her for over a year and a half, and she truly is a sight for any male's eyes (see her and her daughter in my single photo/color folder wearing a hat with her daughter in front of a goldfish pond, not looking her best, but still stunning, and after her brain cancer struck.) It recently was noted in the news that researchers had identified that many Americans had NO FRIENDS at all, and that in many cases the Internet had replaced the role of friends in the lives of many. Beware. It has partly happened to me; even matchmaking is through outfits like Match.com where it is utterly impossible to reveal 'who' I am, because I cannot display my gusto and the chemistry that my 22-year-old assistant and I found together as we walked in Red Square a year ago this week, then spent the night just talking before I caught a plane to Ukraine. That chemistry has proved so major and so enduring that I gather it's something that could last a lifetime; I make her laugh and she causes me to make her laugh more. (What could be better?) And she works harder than anybody without complaint with an intellectual capacity for just about anything. My second companion, three years younger, was singled out by a professor at her institute for individual tutoring and although it's a good 300-400 miles away, she's already had dinner as a guest of the vice major of Kiev -- remarkable for someone only 19 and not 'on the make' but with a soul to be envied and often remarked on. Cradle robber? No, if they were in the US I would never know them; they'd be far too immature; growing up in Russia/Ukraine matures a person preternaturally and huge intellectual capacity rounds that all out for both of them. And there are women of that age in Ukraine I would never want to meet; they're far too immature; I attract the smart, mature ones. But in the U.S. I never get a chance to meet them. That's part of the attraction of Russia and Ukraine; women don't disrespect older men; they respect a person who has made a living and can 'survive' as so many of their man just cannot. And nobody I know is 'submissive' either; all are giants intellectually and personally; not that I require that, and not all have great education - that's helpful but entirely idiosyncratic. I don't seek that out, but it just happens. (Seeing my photography helps; viewing my cameras out on the street or in a restaurant gives people who want to meet me a clue that I may be 'different' or not 'ordinary' -- as I don't look particularly 'touristic'). It's partly the same in the U.S., but in the U.S., most desirable women have a compunction to 'be married' and no problem 'hooking up' with eligible men. Moreover, many women have a penchant for 'hooking up' with men who are bad choices -- they're bad pickers. They won't be picking me, or if they do, it would be 'all wrong'. And I can say that I have learned more recently a great deal about women, not the least from some 'masters' in ways that cannot be revealed, and that with my new found knowledge, I have great insight into what motivates women. I am able now to talk frankly with women about subjects they don't and won't talk about with any other male. My photo stylist Rita (Rita of 'Rita and Alina' -- the blonde depicted in another folder) whom I don't know well at all, has asked me: 'John, do you have a camera in my home' so 'right on' were my observations about her character and her predilections, and another time 'John, do you have a degree in psychiatry about women?' I don't, either, and two years ago, could never have written this. That knowledge didn't come easily or naturally. It's new found knowledge I wish I had years past. I owe that knowledge and ability mainly to one unconventional source which helped me put it all together in an unconventional way and it now has coalesced. Would that I had it when I was 15. I know that my chances of finding 'happiness' with a mate in the US are slim not because she doesn't exist but because of the difficulty in finding her; she will be very young at heart and very smart and have other qualities with the primary one being chemistry -- we'll get along. My second wife and I had that but brain cancer interfered. My assistant, Annya would be a prime candidate for affection by me if she were quite a bit older, but she is deeply in love with her boyfriend and she's far too young. I have a great affection for her; but would never interfere with her relationship with her beloved boyfriend. Besides, I have long lived with a belief that one doesn't mess with the help. (My first wife kept plenty of pretty young women around our house; ostensibly as babysitters and au pairs and never once did I even make a 'pass' at any of those wonderful young women.) (Alas) Ransford, being lonely is something that sometimes just 'happens' and one must take active steps to overcome. If one is a photographer of people, one necessarily must do so 'alone' unless one is as fortunate as I to find an assistant who likes to participate (and that's brand new for me), because 'street photography' usually is best practiced 'alone'. But in the process, I meet tons of people, particularly abroad, but also here. I get constant requests for photos which I always turn down, giving my Photo.net ID with a reference to 'look me up on Google.com -- the world's handiest address!!!) And I get my hand shaken a lot. People are interested in talent; I have some of that, not only in photography but in other fields as well. (I presume you do as well.) I wish there had been a Bay Area camera club not full of self-important people (which included people such as yourself - e.g. not self-important) before I sold my Santa Cruz home recently, as I would have driven far to join and attend meetings. Even now there are PN members of prominence in the Bay Area I'd love to get to know, if they wanted to be sociable (and if I roost in the Bay Area permanently -- who knows where I'll eventually end up

Hanna Cowpe
And not just a little ironic, when I refer to that image and reread my comment and your response to it.

Axel Cordes
Frame vs Composition Hi John, thank you for your answer regarding the framing. I was rather referring to the frame around the picture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piet_Mondrian). The part in the picture itself I would to see as composition. But that are all only words. I understand what you mean by framing in this image and, yes she is framed by the loneliness. After your last long personal post I had a look to your portfolio - and I have to say: Great work - and I marked you as interesting as I want to take more time for that huge portfolio. The way I came to photography is also made by life - - - After some way I'm now very grabbed by the 'street' - which is giving me a lot of positive adrenaline. Have a good & warm 2007 Regards Axel PS as a photographer - only having the sun would be white paper, the shadow brings up the sun - as in our life - only the contrast makes the positive seen, and tough we need also the dark from time to time - the one isn't there without the other - I know that's not new - but I think for me that I can not think on that enough - day by day.

John Crosley
An 'autobiographical note', Ransford Your note about 'loneliness' and 'solitude' may speak for both of us . . . as I end this New Year's alone. . . . but my heart filled with over 50 comments on three photos I posted in one day a few days ago -- my last three, almost all of them commemorating my service to Photo.net and to fellow members and viewers. Although presently I am physically lonely, my heart is filled with the goodness of well-wishers from afar, and their good wishes carry great weight with me. I am normally a person who loves company, but does not seek it out and who does not stand the company well of people who do not fit into my life just to 'have someone around'. The last significant person in my life filled the first three weeks of last month -- my new assistant -- and we got along famously, living literally on top of one another in Ukraine before she went back to her beloved boyfriend in Moscow (and I do mean beloved), but not before earning my total admiration and respect. (and he too, for her judgment is impeccable and she has chosen him) She and I probably will work on projects far into the future -- at least I've planned so, and she seems to agree and look forward to same . . . so the loneliness I write of is only evanescent . . . temporary and nothing more. . . and I'd rather have a stupendously good friend (the assistant) who gets along famously with me, than an icky lover or family member who has 'problems' perpetually. It is said at some age you can choose your own family members and to a degree that is unusual, I can do so, and I am presently doing that (although I am married, my wife shuns me because I 'caused' her brain cancer, a slow-moving affair from which she may now be cured but which affected her judgment in a discrete way -- cf believing I have the power to 'cause' any sort of illness. She's finally coming to grips with the possibility that maybe I didn't 'cause' her brain cancer, but something inside her says she must still 'fear' me and there's no hope . . . for what once was a world class love affair, and she apparently has done nothing either to replace me. . . . which is too bad for the both of us (our world class love torn apart by . . . brain cancer . . . and nothing else) and she turns 34 next March, I think and still looks better than Uma Thurman, whom she slightly resembles but outmatches and despite her good brain cancer, also has an IQ that must be approaching 200. I've buried that relationship, though I write about it, because it relates to my 'solitude' because I am ready for 'Mrs. Right' but as they write about in Match.com not Mrs. Right Now . . . or to stay a bachelor and pursue my photographic muse worldwide with my much younger friends from Ukraine and Russia . . . where I am fairly widely known and highly respected and sought after as a photographer and a friend. And there, though they refer to older people as 'vui', I am referred to universally as 'te' -- the reference to people one's age -- by the youngest people. Somehow I have obtained the 'gift' as I call it, in dealing with people that eluded me so long, at least in Eastern Europe and sometimes in Western Europe and America/South America (which I hope will be my next destination along with my two best friends ;~)) If you might have 'chosen' 'solitude' as it appears instead of 'loneliness' it may be that you just haven't found someone that you can interact with at your level . . . a problematic sort of thing, for it is apparent that your mind works at a very high level and you would be bored with discussions of how the latest TV series is going to develop or end . . . and other things, I divine . . . which often is family conversation fodder. I had a good, long family life and know it well . . . and an equally long life living mostly by myself . . . and prefer family life, but I am an interesting guy who is hard to match . . . or hard to go out and find a match . . . because my match never would guess that I am her match until our paths cross in some unusual way . . . and not in some 'dating service' As it is, I'll go on developing my 'street' portfolio, work on my 'glamour portfolio' probably at the same time, in Eastern Europe where one can do both things simultaneously for little cost, and maybe run across the love of a lifetime with no age barriers (women there love older men friends/husbands -- even seek them out). And there, as a photographer of 'glamour' I'm booked up for two or three weeks after my next return -- the models love me, because I respect them and pay well enough, and most of all bring them in on the process of photographing them to bring out their best points (not treating them like stupid know-nothing pieces of meat) which helps them try to present themselves more beautifully . . . every model's (and aspiring model's) dream. Forgive me if I've extrapolated into your life beyond what is warranted . . . as I only have a few bare facts to go on. But I feel a communality between you and me . . . although I feel I have chosen a far different path than you . . . as you can tell. My very best wishes for the New Year and may you have no more need for musing on the subjects of loneliness and solitude. John (Crosley)

John Crosley
Axel, Thanks for marking me as 'interesting' and for the compliments. Axel, Thanks for marking me as 'interesting' -- it's a very high compliment. I did understand your remark about Mondrian, though I may have rendered a somewhat obtuse or obscure answer, easily misunderstood. My point is that my photos could stand framing, but it's work and I'm busy taking photos -- too busy. I still have eight or so months or photos to review (in fact, I'm still looking anew at photos I took two or more years ago and finding some gems I did not see the potential in or I could not then process with my infant Photoshop skills. So, your comment was NOT misunderstood, and it was NOT wasted at all. I am indeed pleased that you are getting a bit of adrenaline from 'street' shooting -- if you can get over the 'sweats' I head formerly in my life, trying to work with cameras and not feeling at all 'native' to the craft, but still producing very fine work, and once you become one with your equipment AND the skills of street shooting, it is positively addictive. In fact, I have such highly developed skills, that I am amazed that with my 12~24 mm Nikkor digital wide angle lens two days ago, total strangers would let me come within eight inches of their noses on several occasions -- and willingly so with no strange remarks. Where else does one get that sort of permission to 'get [so] up close and personal' as the Olympics announcer used to say? And I can lift my camera, point, frame, focus (auto) and get off one to five shots in less than two seconds at times . . . yes up to five frames. A companion photo (not this) of 'three generations) involved nine photos or so, taken in four seconds, with the last being a showstopper (and I knew it, so I stopped shooting). It's a wonderful thing, this photography, especially with modern equipment, though I still hate the command dial for aperture control (subcommand), and if I didn't have the new Nikkor lenses without aperture rings, I'd set my cameras for aperture ring control (D200 and D2Xs allow this). I liked that so much better and was so much more adept at it. I seldom look in the viewfinder at the voluminous info supplied there unless I have time and am, say, shooting landscapes or am 'staking out' a subject, since that takes time. I look down on the top display view (or the back of the camera in the case of my D2X and D2Xs's. Thank you for the compliment about my photography -- and always feel free to leave a comment; laudatory or otherwise -- nobody sneers here at well-meaning comments made in good faith. And off-topic remarks are not monitored here by anybody but me, and it is this freedom of discourse that allows people to explore, say, above, the subject of 'loneliness' which is sparked by this photo and to trade for instance personal experiences and observations. They're all meaningful to me and part of the critique process. I'd love to see meaningful remarks such as you previously left me, inspired by other photos I've posted or will post (I have some wonderful ones left to upload -- lots of them). Welcome. And thanks! John (Crosley

John Crosley
Debasish Chatterjee I think that the things you note -- stance complementing the steps, were things I took into account inchoately when I took and edited out this frame, as it was not a particularly conscious decision. This is a photo where everything 'seemed right' and there was almost no conscious decision-making into its taking or posting. Like the late Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart who tried but failed to define pornography and said in frustration: 'I can't define it, but I know it when I see it.' Well, in a completely different context, sometimes the same applies to my photos, and this one in particular. But your reasoned analysis, has helped me to understand it; her forlorn look, leftward is essential here (as facing the camera), and the shape of her body following the expansion joints of the stonework of the steps, helps emphasize her isolation and helps place her 'at one' with these steps. That's why I like so much those, like you, who stop for a moment or two to leave their thoughtful comments. I'm very proud of my many commentators and rely on them far more than you might imagine to sharpen not only my intellectual skills, but carry the results of the commentaries into the field with me when I next photograph, each and every time, and take them into account nearly each time I compose and frame a shot (even if only to laugh at how that shot will confound the commentators . . . . ) My best New Year's wishes to you also, Debasish. John (Crosley) ps. I've corrected yet another misspelling of your name. ;~)) There seems to be an infinite variety of those in my mind. Just when I have your first name down, so goes the second. Apologies, John (When I was with the Associated Press, I was told there were few worse sins than misspelling a person's name, for people knew how they were spelled, and if you flubbed that, think how little credibility all the rest of what you wrote had . . . food for thought) JC

Debasish Chatterjee
I don't agree she's lonely... she has quite a number of stairs and a bit of rubbish (the packet) for company :-) Jokes apart, I think you have caught a very significant moment when her stance complements the patterns so very nicely. Lovely one. Best regards, and Happy New Year.

Ransford Pyle
on the subject of loneliness I wonder what the young woman in the photo would think of the discussion she has inspired. I doubt that I am alone in occasionally fantasizing about a woman like this, that is, a woman asserting her separation from the world. She is pushing the world away at the same time she is hinting at her availability (If she has no one else, why not me?). I must admit I rarely acted on such occasions.

As for me, I have tried to come to terms with my poor judgment as far as women are concerned. I married three women, each of whom should have known better than to marry me, and vice versa. Two of the marriages lasted 16 years and resulted in five daughters (I have a sixth daughter, a stepdaughter, whom I raised from the age of four, and whom I recently gave away in marriage). Divorced for about four years now, I plan to avoid marriage, but I have three women traveling companions, two are old girl friends and one former colleague, a university professor. I have great affection for each of them, but I prefer to spend only short periods of time with each.

All of my dearest male friends are dead. Heart attacks and cancer took most of them, at least one suicide, and one of finest died in front of a firing squad. Why I have outlived them is a mystery to me.

Fortunately, I have wonderful, charming, intelligent daughters who seem to enjoy my company, and I am quite attached to my grandchildren. I don't have enough time to do all the things I want to do...life seems quite full. I do regret that I find so few people who have interests beyond the mundane. If it weren't for the Internet, perhaps I would make a greater effort to seek them out.

On a final note, I am curious why photography, as well as writing, provides such pleasure that often makes society unnecessary. You, of course, combine sociality and photography, but I have yet make that combination, except to the extent that PN provides social contact. But I get delight, playing on my computer, trying to turn my images into something special. Endless pleasure. Blessing on those who invented digital photography, PhotoShop, etc.


Bela Laszlo Molnar

I would not  put her in the  center, because  she looking to the left, I would place  her  to the right a little bit.  Or! Crop a 1/4 of  the right.  But  the  geometric  repeating lines  ad  to the  single  person image, reflecting  greatly the  feeling of  loneliness.


Cheers;  Bela

Bela Laszlo Molnar

My version.


John Crosley
Bela, thanks

I appreciated very much your comment plus the image attachment (most helpful).

This is one of my most popular images as it is, as well as a similar image, with her to the left side and upwards and a lone man to the right side and downwards from her. 

You might look for it, as that image both uses asymmetry, by placing the subject(s) off-center, but symmetry too, as both of them are equally distant (in general) from the sides of the frame and within the rectangle, each occupies the position of the other if one turned the image over and viewed it from the rear.  (try working that one over in your mind rather than just reading the words, or better yet, find and look at that image).

Your version is interesting, and however much I dislike being quoted or instructed about 'the rule of thirds', a one-third --- two-thirds arrangement for the 'empty' space devoted to the steps, I think, would be more pleasing, somewhat more geometric, and 'solvable' whereas your version, while putting her to the right, does not do so in any mathematical way that I can easily figure out -- it is a little hard for me to look at because it does not have the geometric element I'm looking for and appears asymetrical to me (I like symetry in an image like this.)

That's me of course, and others may prefer your version, but in your mind try putting the empty steps two-thirds to the left (as we view it) and one-third to the right and see if that doesn't improve your version.

This is 'as I shot it; I prefer to compose in the viewfinder - it has a very slight trim at the top for exposed area at the top of the steps, and the image is basically reframed overall to keep about the same 'aspect ratio'.

If I'd shot it your way, (probably using the 1/3--2/3 formula I discussed above), I would also be proud of it, but this is the way I saw and shot it.

It's proved very, very popular (blogs steal it and there are plenty of views and they go up periodically), so I recall one piece of advice.

'Don't mess with the ju-ju!'


But I always like constructive criticism from an informed member -- the next time I shoot something like this, I'm going to keep your suggestion in mind and maybe try it.


John (Crosley)

John Crosley
A thoughtful analysis, and a comparison with Edward Hopper's 'Nighthawk' -- The Painting With the Man, Seeming Alone in a Nighttime Diner'

This is a link to an analysis of Edward Hopper's 'Nighthawk', a painting of a man, back mostly to viewer, which creates a dramatic sense of loneliness.  I have been familiar with this painting for most of my life, and I have been influenced by it.


Stephanie White, in her analysis of 'Nighthawk', compares it to this above photo 'Loneliness' in her analysis of cinema techniques, and does a good analysis.  It's worth reading, and here is a link.




I consider her critique, able, intelligent, and to the point.


And, as she says, this photo is really quite simple, yet powerful -- one of my best ever, and incidentally, one which I set out to 'make' rather than just accidentally 'capture', though I usually (and here too) am open to myriad possibilities with potential subjects.


See also, 'Loneliness With Hope' featuring this same (anonymous) woman, which also is 'powerful' in its own right, but also seems to 'tell a story' to many viewers.  


Thank you Stephanie White for your thoughtful analysis.




John (Crosley)


John Crosley
'Loneliness' 'Loneliness' -- the caption says it all. Your ratings and critiques are invited and most welcome. If you rate harshly or very critically, please submit a helpful and constructive comment; please share your superior photographic knowledge to help improve my photography. Thanks! Enjoy! John

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