The Marketplace (Three Views of 'Relaxation')

by Crosley John

the marketplace three views of relaxation crosley bw photography street seeking critique john

Gallery: Black and White: Then to Now

Tags: crosley b&w photography street seeking critique

Category: Street

Published: Friday 29th of June 2007 09:34:05 PM


Comments

John Crosley
Hi Bob The general public and raters, simply pass such a scene by and don't know that I consider it one of my best . . . it's just too subtle for them . . . I think. I very much depend on viewers, like you Bob, who appreciate such work, and am most thankful. In a way, this photo is very droll -- very 'slice of life' but with a point and a purpose but a point that is not sharp and easily passed over. Discerning critics like yourself are quicker to spot its good qualities, which is why it's in my 'best' 'black and white' folder. Thanks again, John (Crosley)

Anne Getzieh
the hand and . . . i like it the way it is. to my mind the hand belongs to the story. it tells us about the fourth person in that scene . . . it`s a great picture! regards, anne

John Crosley
Luca I deliberately left in the hand, left. There are few times when I leave in an off-camera subject, but this is a guy's hand, it has money (apparently) and it appears he is talking to the middle woman of the group who appears to be VERY receptive to him, and being a true young Ukrainian woman, she has an appropriately attractive figure -- which may last only a few years, but the young Ukrainian women most zealously guard their figures, at least until they get married -- at about no later than 22 to 25 generally, and then many lose their figures for good, and time and stress take their twin toll, all prematurely, and if you look at the surroundings, you can see why. The off-camera hand is meant to imply that the attractive woman is 'engaged' in a conversation or discourse with this man, and indeed she was (though I didn't get much of an impression of what it was, as I was too busy, then ducked out of there, as they all changed position when I snapped this). There are some other examples in my portfolio of an off-frame subject breaking the frame. In one photo a guy and a girl are staring intently at each other in an apparent argument or standoff in a city square and another person, a girlfriend of the girl, is pulling on the staring woman's purse strap (with her finger only), but very strongly nonetheless, saying with her single digit 'let's get outta here'. Rarely do I 'break the frame' but only if it appears to add content to the meaning of what's in the frame. So, an off-frame subject may appear with a hand. See also, in this folder, a photo of a young woman wearing an L.A. baseball cap in Kiev, Ukraine. Behind her are two hunchback beggar women, one with her hands outstretched. In total, if one looks carefully, one can see five hands, the hand of the girl on her face, some hands of the hunchback women beggars and finally, if one looks carefully enough from the left, one will find -- get this -- a lone hand reaching out to the leftmost beggar woman with a paper currency outstretched, and she's actually giving the bill to the hunchback AT THAT MOMENT. I think it's a most unusual capture. Those and this are about the only three instances of mine in which an off-camera person breaks the frame and in each case it's a hand, just as here. Elliott Erwitt, the famous and venerable photographer, has cautioned people to 'watch the hands' for they tell you more than what the face will say. I don't know precisely if that's true, but I tend to keep an eye out for 'hands' and an off-frame hand or a hand that 'breaks the frame' is no impediment for posting a photo (if it enhances understanding of what else is in the frame.) I'm glad you asked. There really was rhyme and reason here. I just wish I could have included the attractive woman's feet in full -- a small fault but it glares at me. John (Crosley)

John Crosley
Three different views (Copyright Notice) These three women, in their ways of standing and holding themselves, represent their individuality -- each rests and relaxes in a different way -- helping illustrate the diversity of human nature in a nutshell. John (Crosley) This image is Copyright 2007, All Rights Reserved, John Crosley

John Crosley
Avner This is one of my best (not my absolute best) but one of my best, but the ratings so far do not reflect it. Some photos require more understanding or a harder look, and some people just do not appreciate 'street' photos at all. I'd compare this to some of the 'classical' 'street' that I've seen . . . which is why I spend so much time in Ukraine -- it's hard to get such shots in the US -- people are all the time inside buildings where photography is forbidden, in their cars instead of on Metro lines, and in their houses (in Ukraine people gather on the streets to meet and interact). It, like other East European countries where there is overcrowding in the former Soviet housing, reflects small quarters and the need to lead life on the street -- which is a blessing for a guy like me with a camera.' John (Crosley)

Cristian C. (Barcelona)
to the man of many words, I'll only utter one: good ;-)

John Crosley
Cristian Thanks, ;-) John (Crosley)

L R
the hand John, I know that you don't manipulate your pictures and I could not agree more, but did you leave the hand on the left on purpose? The scene is very nice, I gather that you managed to take it without them noticing, as you know well. Best, Luca

Bob Archer
hi John...can't get enough of good documentary street work...well done...regards bob

John Crosley
Hey 'dough-ball' (butthead) My assistant in Moscow, Anya, write me about the sign in the center, which spells Pelmen (Pelmenj), -- singular for a Russian Ravioli. Here is what she writes, slightly edited. 'The sign says 'Peljmenj' (j after l and n makes these sounds mild). 'Peljmenj' is singular for 'peljmeni' -- (it's russain ravioli - dough with meat inside, boiled in water). A traditional russian and ukrainian dish. 'I laughed out when i saw this sign yesterday, because 'peljmenj' also means 'guy' in slang (like lad, chap, bloke in american [actually British English]- usually an ordinary guy with no interests except for smoking).' "In russian translation of 'Beavis and Butthead', they always addressed each other 'Hey, peljmenj!'" 'So you can spell the word as 'Peljmenj' or 'Pelimenj' -- (the same in fact, maybe the first one is better).' As I understand her comment to me (in an answer to an e-mail), Beavis and Butthead called each other 'doughball' -- with a dollop of meat in the center -- not much meat because it's Russia and Ukraine and meat's scarce. In other words, the Russians used the word on their television for OUR cartoon series from MTV as Beavis and Butthead but called each other 'doughball' (my own rough translation -- or more precisely 'ravioli'). My intuition is that they substitute pelmenj (pelmen or pelmeni) for 'butthead' -- a most rude greeting -- and grossness is the 'charm' of Beavis and Butthead. Maybe they didn't have the stomach for calling somebody 'butthead' on their national television -- after all MTV is on cable, which is unregulated. And who knows what meat is in that dough? Hot dog eaters and sausage eaters probably won't blanche . . . . (bolshoi spacibo *much thanks* to you, Anya) John (Crosley)

John Crosley
Luca, about publishing I'm preparing to do just that. I have an assistant (in Moscow) who's cataloging and arranging all my captures and taking care of numerous other tasks, including making sure they're all properly copyrighted besides on this or another site. She also travels with me often. I have a couple of other assistants who do other things who are going to be converted toward getting me published/exhibited. I'm going to be meeting with printers soon to talk about getting best prints made from these photos and am in the process of arranging and Photoshopping them (minimally -- contrast, brightness, etc., spotting and so forth.) I need connections and if anyone out there has any, I'm game (and I already have one very well known and influential mentor). I'll soon be in touch with agents, book publishers, galleries, museums, ad agencies, stock photo agencies etc. There is one small problem: Photo book sales generally are money-losers. Few people know that. They are a way to fame, but seldom to fortune. Regrettably. But I'm trying -- just not there yet. Thanks for the encouragement. John (Crosley)

John Crosley
Anne Thanks for the endorsement. If I followed the lead of some who pull photos when they get poor ratings, this would have been gone long ago. But I actually was 'saving' this one to post, after my last successful post in this folder, sure that it was a very good photo and worthy of this folder; after all, I do a certain amount of photo editing and if I think a photo is really good, I want it to be in my 'single photo, color' or my 'B & W From Then to Now' folders or maybe my 'faces' folder which has portraits and face shots, which no longer appear in these two folders -- the color and black and white -- as they are now more devoted to 'street' photos and the better photos of any other genre that 'fit'. Well, the ratings were underwhelming, and there was only one initial comment, but frankly I didn't care that much (sure I watched the ratings, but I figured, 'well, raters mostly are first-timers who sit and watch the photos go by, or they're experienced PNers who rate thousands and they're looking for something so unusual it'll hit them over the head before they rate it highly, and they probably won't waste their time telling me --with my experience-- that I've posted a mediocre shot, as I do that all the time, and those experienced raters and PNers seldom rate those, as they know I know those shots are 'marginal'). This is one case where I differed . . . and as noted above, this shot is 'droll' almost to the extreme. It doesn't have a particular point, yet it tells a story -- a kind of wistful story of what it's like to shut up shops in a marketplace on the edge of Kiev at summer day's end . . . which is no big deal in life's pantheon of amazing things and nothing great photographically, yet this photo does have its charm. For one thing, and nobody has noted this yet, the building, right, meanders into the distance with a modified 'S' curve -- completely unnoticed and very subtle, too. And it has my theme 'threes' -- the three women, and each with her own expression. And it has a captivating 'subject' in the center woman with her interesting (and interested) expression. Finally, it has a little mystery -- the off-frame man whose hand 'breaks the frame' with proffered cash -- now what is that for, one might ask and why does that center young woman look so amused? It's a photo that, if you have time and are not expecting amazing things, one can meander around with one's eyes. In short, it's a photo worthy of the folder in which I placed it, regardless of low ratings. So far as I'm concerned. I'm glad you agree. John (Crosley)

L R
Addendum: Publishing your work John, I think you should seriously think about publishing your work in "hard" form, putting a selection of your takes under a common theme and finding a publisher. This is no joke. Your photos have such a strong communication capacity that another means should be found. Luca

John Crosley
What's That Sign Say, Anyway? It says 'Pelmeni', which in essence are Russian style ravioli. Just as Jews has kreplach, Chinese have won ton, Italians have ravioli, Russians (and Russians who are in Ukraine AND their Ukrainian speaking cousins) have pelmeni (the 'e' should probably be pronounced 'ye' instead of 'e' in keeping with traditional Russian -- Cryllic pronunciation. Yummmm. Pillows of dough made from flour, water, eggs and maybe butter, filled (when available and affordable) with cheese, meat, and other stuffings often found in Italian ravioli and Jewish kreplach. Many Russians and Ukrainians were raised on meals of potatoes -- three meals a day -- and for variety, some 'spaghetti' which to them means any of 100s of varieties of what wheat-rich Italians categorize and subcategorize into pasta. Ukraine is also capable of producing much wheat, though much production actually goes into cash crops for cooking oil such as rapeseed (expurgated by sensitive Americans who call it 'canola' and sunflowers -- with late summer showing fields full of huge yellow sunflowers, slowly and perpetually turning all day toward the sun. (French for sunflower describes this turning motion with the first definition being 'soleil' (sun) and the second 'tournesol' (literally turn toward the sun). Imagine driving past miles and miles and miles of the hundreds of miles of the Dnipr River valley's rich farmland with many fields filled with hectares of sunflowers, all yellow at summer's end, each giant flower turning toward the sun, so each field looks different in the morning, noon, and late afternoon, as the flowers prescribe their arc through the late summer day on their 6-foot tall and taller stalks. Ukrainian farms are presently not so wonderfully productive as Western counterparts, but Americans agricultural salespeople, seeing enormous potential, have been scouring the Ukrainian countryside, looking for a future market for farm machinery, seeds, fertilizers, chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, etc., because this fertile country once was known as the 'breadbasket of the Soviet Union' of which it once was part, because of its vast arable land and rich river soil deposited over eons by the river Dnipr. Right now for many Ukrainians (and Russians too) 'meat is for holidays, but that not need be if they ramp up their farm production to western standards. But no Italian style red sauce on that pelmeni, although one might encounter ketchup poured over one's pelmeni, as the Ukrainians are not generally great gourmets. Butter is more common. Red sauce, a la Italiano, however, is generally seldom available in supermarkets which generally do not stock pre-mixed pasta sauce, as it's far too expensive and sophisticated for Ukrainian tastes -- the idea of buying food staples (other than potato chips) lready made in a food factory has not yet caught on well even in the most sophisticated and huge supermarkets. They do have whole aisles, however, devoted entirely (1) just to vodka and also (2) to beer (pivo). John (Crosley)

John Crosley
The Marketplace The bulk of the day's work is done, these three women are in the process of closing up shop, while a man, left, approaches with money for a final purchase, and the end of another day at a Kiev, Ukraine marketplace draws near. 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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