A LITTLE HISTORY
[Editor’s Note: Eons ago, back in college, I had an art professor who insisted on a weekly critique of our photographs. We were allowed to choose the image to print and show, but all of us were required to put a print up on the wall for review and discussion by the group.
This was always a painful experience and a growth experience. All of us love to get the kudos and ‘attaboys’ for our successes; few of us really want to hear what others maybe don’t like about our work. But it’s through this sometimes-painful process that artistic growth occurs.
Looking through our Discerning Photographer Flickr pool recently, it occurred to me that we could accomplish much the same thing here with an online ‘virtual’ critique. About once a month, I’m going to choose a half dozen or so images from the Flickr feed and talk about what I liked (and maybe didn’t) about the images chosen. I’m hoping that in the Comments, all of you out there will take a few moments to add your thoughts to the discussion. If it’s your photo, by all means, chime in with your thoughts/reasons/defense/etc for the image! With this we might just be able to all get better, which is something I think we’re all looking for.
Please don’t be offended if one of your images didn’t get chosen this month. And if you have an image you’d like to be considered for next month’s Critique Wall, email me the url and I’ll take a look. The only requirements will be that the image be posted within the last month to the Discerning Photographer Flickr pool and that it meet the usual guidelines for the group.
With that mouthful out of the way, here are this month’s photographs, along with my thoughts about them. Let the discussion begin!]
JANUARY CRITIQUE WALL
‘Vauxhall Sunset’ is by KBTimages, a London-based photographer who has been an active contributor to the site for months. This is a typical example of his work: well-exposed, nicely framed, dramatically lit. KBT is a photographer with a developed sense of what he likes and wants to do in his work. I love the drama in this image, the muted tones of the river reflected in the waning light in the sky. It might have been interesting to go into the tones in the sky and add a bit more contrast and drama there…
Here’s a very different photograph. ‘Under the Lord’s Feet’ by Devansh Jain. I like how much scale plays into this photograph: your sense of how large/small things are changes as you study the photograph. I also like the monochrome nature of the image with the splashes of color. Nicely done.
This photograph made me laugh out loud. It’s one of two submitted together by regular contributor Edward in Canada. Edward is a father and photographs that reflect his sensibilities as a father are frequently included in his submissions. But this image (and its sister file) went a step further, reflecting a sense of humor I hadn’t see in his work before.
‘Brown Deer Park’ by C.J. Schmit. I love a well-done night photograph, as anyone who read my recent ‘Photography by Moonlight’ post will know. C.J. has done a nice job with this image. My eye is drawn to the light source, then back out, following the shadows created by the trees. Well composed and properly exposed.
I love a well-done flower image, and Enivea has a good one here. The trick is always with the focus: how much is in focus, and is it the right part of the image? Much like in-focus, sharp eyes in a portrait, I find I usually want pistils in a flower photo to be sharp. This photo also works due to the drama and contrast created by the dark edges to the image.
‘Cherubs’ by Marco Fiori. I love how Marco has handled tonality in this image. It definitely works as a ‘toned’ black and white. (I’d like to hear about the toning process you used on this one, Marco.) I think the burned-down corners add to the mystery and sense of depth I get from this also.
This is my last selection for this month, and it’s all about color: the blue of this bicycle seems to vibrate right off the screen, set against the flaming red/orange of the wall. I’m not sure this was the best image to be made of this scene — it might have been nice to play around with some tight details, abstracts that play off the color theme — but it still works for me. (According to my Google search, the Djemma el Fna is a bustling square in Marakech, although the translation from the Arabic is ‘Place of the Dead.’)
So: these are my selections for this month. What do you think? Do you have a strong reaction, positive or negative, to any of the images? Share your thoughts in the Comments below so our Critique Wall can take off!
Hi, I’m Andrew Boyd, a.k.a. The Discerning Photographer, and I hope this post has been interesting and informative. Please leave me a comment about it, let me know what you’d like to see more of on the site! You can also sign up for email delivery of all future articles or my RSS feed. Thanks!–DiscerningPhotog