Published: Friday 24th of May 2002 01:52:47 PM
Once again, I really think that we should comment on the photos and not the models.
beautiful model. i like her expression, hair, and breasts.
breasts? come on john- if you're going to post pics of models with great breasts- you can expect comments on them. they're even part of the aestetic of the work. that said- i'm on record here many times in agreeing that the photo should stand on its own merits. yours do. great portfolios.
Rob, it's the models that are a little touchy over this ... and I do understand them. In getting them to agree to pose and be published, I insisted on the very academic manner in which their photos will be examined... not their anatomy!
Where's the vision? A few things I like and a few things I don't like about this photo. From a technical perspective, I think the model works well here. Skin tone is even, texture smooth, features symmetrical. This is important in figure photography. Interaction of texture and shape (i.e., anatomy) with light is pretty central to figure photography, so symmetry of her breasts is very much an artistic element here. I've seen a couple of your other shots of this model, and I think this one (unlike many of your others) has a good feel for the artistic demands on the model. Now for a few things I don't like. Hope you take these comments in the constructive sense in which they're intended. I'd lose the border -- IMHO, it doesn't add anything artistically, and it's distracting. Lighting's a little flat. A reflector might have helped fill shadow area in the left eye. Catchlight in the eyes would have improved the impact of this shot -- perhaps had she turned her gaze a little higher, and/or had you used a bounce card on your flash. Doesn't appear that you've achieved critical focus here. She has beautiful eyes -- you owe it to the model to get them in tack-sharp focus. Compositionally, I find this photo to be lacking in dynamism, and I'm sorry to say that this is a general comment I have about many of your portraits. I'd go for a tighter crop, just below the breast, and move her left eye into the rule-of-thirds critical vertex in the top right of the composition. You should work more with this model. One thing that puzzles me is your use of an 80-200/2.8 zoom. Portraiture is intimate, giant zooms are not. For this work, you'd be better served with the Leica and the 50mm/2 -- much more conducive to establishing that intimate relationship between the photographer and the model. Also, I'd lose the Kodak Gold -- it's got miserably high contrast and a garish color palette. I find that Supra works much better, and Portra (Kodak) or NPS (Fuji) work better still. Hope you won't mind a few general comments on portraiture and figure photography. It's not clear to me what your artistic vision is, other than from your posted bio: "I'm a Ph.D., and my models have gone to graduate school...." Your attempt to use nudity as a means to reveal their human frailty seems to fall pretty close to flat, for me at least. The nudity in many of these shots seems totally gratuitous and does not help convey any sense of artistic vision. Taking one's shirt off and getting one's picture taken doesn't make it glamour. That said, I think there remain ~many~ of your shots that show promise. Get a less obtrusive lens (i.e., a good prime, maybe 80 to 100mm) and a lower-contrast emulsion, pay attention to technical execution (esp. critical focus and lighting), and concentrate on building a relationship with one or two models. The one in this shot should definitely be one of them.
The point made in the biliography that you refer to is simply that like many of us, I lead a very demanding life, and my photography takes on more significance because of it. What is not irrelevant however is what you call the "graduate" status of some of the models, and that is where I feel that my message cannot or does not want to get across to you. I went back to read it again and it seems quite clear enough to me. But then, everyone cannot identify with the same things. You say that you find the nudity gratuitous, but I made the point that nudity has a purpose here in that it is meant to capture the contrast in these girls lives, the seriousness on one side and their femininity on the other. Many have understood this, others pretend not to. Of course, still others will be vexed by it, but you can't please everyone. Of course, I can let people just look at the photos and judge their worth per se. But then the rational behind them would be absent, and to me and, most of all, to the girls themselves, it has a meaning. What you refer to as a lack of vision on my part is somewhat disconcerting coming from someone who has posted none of his own work and whose own vision, if he has one, it is impossible to compare with! Whereas I often do agree with people's critics, it is difficult to understand where the "expertise" they value so much comes from, if they never show us any of their own work, or only dare to do so under a different name from that with which they make their more cynical comments to others. How brave! Glamour photography and the development of the "special relation with the model" (which you obviously cite from one of my own comments, not your own resources) is not something within the reach of everyone, and I would really like to know also how you speak with such authority on this? As regards your artistic critic of this photo, I agree with some of the points you raise. I will repeat once again that other than in some of my black and white nudes, these pictures are not an attempt to capture the "perfect" photo (which I would be incapable of doing anyway), so much as to capture a candid moment in their lives. As I said, some may find this interesting, others not. Others still will resent the attention that such photos get, because they do not get such attention themselves, despite all their efforts to "perfect" their work. We have some superb technicians on this site, whose work can be analysed in great detail. I have nothing to contribute in this area. That does not mean that my photos cannot be improved though, and I thank you for taking so much trouble going over this one. In all frankness though,as you well know, it was just a snapshot taken on the balcony after a swim! There are possibly one or two other more interesting photos posted that you may have considered for such a "specialist's" attention as your own, but then maybe you chose this one on purpose. Oh, just one last word .... my use of the long focal lens. Well, that's my technique. By what possible reasoning does someone tell me that I should do things in their way (or, rather, how they would "imagine" they would do it)?! If I did, then maybe my photos would look more like theirs too, and then what would I have less to contribute, unless your premise is of course that I don't?! In conclusion Bill, you make a lot of biting and sarcastic remarks, albeit occasionally accompanied by a rather weak attempt at pretending ro make a compliment. I don't know what the problem is, but I don't feel that it's in this photo! Possibly, your true assessment of my work was written earlier by you here, in a less hypocritical manner .... http://www.photo.net/photodb/photo.tcl?photo_id=598149 ..... where your remark is more revealing as to the true reason for writing your comment. ....... The statement was removed following this posting, but I happen to have registered it!! ... It was as follows: "I've seen Peri's work -- he seems to think that if it's shirtless, it's art. His style seems to be to get the woman out of her clothes, snap away haphazardly with an obtrusive zoom, and damn the technical details like lighting, composition, and critical focus. The only thing that seems to be missing is the instructions to the model to "Say Cheese!". ...... Well, I hope that I have been equally candid and straightforward as you in my reply. As I implied earlier, you have a chip on your shoulder sir, but the problem is quite obviously with yourself, and not with my photography or my models!
I like it Honesty from an amateur: I like the looks of the photo, the tilt of her head,her eyes looking down, the hair in her face, the arms reaching out, holding? a towel? You did a great job with a candid shot, it wasn't setup or staged.I think it is a great shot overall. I don't like the frame, sorry, just doesn't seem to fit and I think the lighting is a little flat. Thats it.. C= 7 A = 8
I like this portrait, I like the pose, and I like the framing. I like this portrait even more when I consider that John is not a professional photographer (glamour or otherwise). Maybe this quality of work is easy when one has a dedicated studio with opportunities on a daily basis to refine skill and technique. On the other hand, perhaps its not so easy, because (in my opinion) the majority of the portraits posted here do not reach John's level. I disagree with Bill's criticism of this portrait and John's other portraits and technique. Why be critical of using an 80-200mm zoom? This lense allows a great deal of flexibility and it allows a comfortable working distance between the photographer and the model who may not want someone with a 50mm lens getting as close as would be necessary to use same for this shot. Gratuitous nudity? I disagree. One can see more nudity than is in this portrait on Fox or any other "free" channel any evening of the week. Portrait photography, especially glamour photography, is hard work, especially for the hobbiest who does not have a full time studio and daily opportunities to photograph. One should be slow in dispensing criticism on what a photographer should have done, choice of lens selection, technique, etc. if the critic has not posted his own work on this site for critical review. John, thanks for the excellent work and thanks for inspiring us other non-professional photographers to keep working at it. Greg
You said "Rob, it's the models that are a little touchy over this ... and I do understand them. In getting them to agree to pose and be published, I insisted on the very academic manner in which their photos will be examined... not their anatomy!"
While I agree with this in principle, I think the original comment is legit. Part of the reason this photo works is that she has very nice hair and breasts. Neither you nor the model may appreciate the rather raw sexual nature of this opinion, but the results are what they are. There's a strong sexual appeal in the photo that's reinforced by her breathless expression, and her breasts and generally athletic figure are an undeniable part of that appeal. The lack of eye contact invites the viewer to study her figure, further adding to the sexuality of the image. Compare this image to JF F461 in the same folder (Photo.net id 776792, immediately to the right of this photo in the gallery) and ask yourself if this photo works with the hair or breasts from that image. That photo works also, but you can't interchange the parts. I'm sorry to be so direct about this but it seems like the quality of a woman's figure is a legitimate topic in a discussion of a nude photo. I assume that as a photographer, you've posted this to determine whether or not it appeals to people and why, and to find out how to improve it. These qualities are factors in the answer and can't be ignored because they might be prurient.
Put another way, you could say that if a woman is not comfortable with the idea of people discussing her anatomy, she might want to reconsider the idea of modeling nude.
As for the image itself, the overall look is fabulous, but definitely has more of a glamour or classic pinup flavor than an art nude flavor. Technically, I would prefer a little more density - the colors seem a little muddy (that could just be the scan). I would also prefer more of a sharply focused look than the soft look you have here, but that's just me.
I appreciate your remark Joe, which is undoubtedly well meant. However, the issue raised on this page is whether we are here to critic each others photos or the models. It is a sterile subject to which any rational person and especially a photographer can only propose a single answer. And this has nothing to do with the rather silly contention that I don't like criticism. It's the only reason why I post my pictures here, even if I have to plow through some nonsense from time to time in order to get to it. I like the two photos that you have posted under your name. I think that you would like it less however if I then went on to add that the model, which happens to be your wife, .... (one of my models may be mine too) .... has a nice ass! As for the photo above, she had her shower, she was standing in the doorway drying her hair in the sun and I snapped the photo. Anyone who attempts to analyze it more profoundly certainly has more artistic vision than me! You say that you like this photo and the model's expression, but you add that this and others could be improved, however without saying how .... where is the constructive criticism in this case?! That being said, some people will inevitably "identify" with Bill, and you have every right to be one of them, though not many seem to have done so on this site as "obviously" as you state . ...... Oh, and by the way, I will never agree with that authoritative remark that "shorter lenses produce better results" - who is the maestro that said so ?
nice image I very much like this shot as well as the models expression. I agree that future images could be improved if you were more receptive to constructive critiques. Obviously a little history there but over all I agree with Bill with the possible exception of the lense, while perhaps a shorter lense may produce better results, I think longer lenses don't invade the models space. As far as someone who doesn't have photos posted crtiqueing others works... so what. I think it's obvious Bill knows something about photography even if he has never picked up a camera. And yes there is a part of me that wants to hear Great image I honestly want to hear whats wrong and what can I do to improve the quailty of my work much more. You are far better than I am, at least for now, lol, does that mean I should only critigue those I think I am superior to? Any Way I do like most of your work, Have fun and keep growing. Who knows you might just quit the day job
I think you have captured the softness of the model as you have a bit of her personality ( looking down the way she does reveals shyness, yet the opposite of her nature is also revealed, bare body) We`ve been on this site for some time now John and I feel that I have come away a better photographer by you sharing your excellent work. Thank You! John You and Your Family have a Wonderful Christmas and I wish You All the best For 2004! ...detlef
How kind and generous of you Detlef, thank you, but I could say the same for you. A very Happy Christmas to you and your family also. All the best, John