ON THE CRITIQUE WALL
I’m horribly late with my Flickr group critique post for March due to some pressing family business, but here it is at last. As we do each month, we’ll look at some images from The Discerning Photographer’s Flickr group, I’ll let you know what I like/don’t like about the images and hopefully, inspire you to join in the discussion! My aim with this monthly feature is to actually try and get a serious conversation going about the images and thus to provide some real feedback to this fine group of shooters.
‘Untitled’ by Ana Matos.
I featured a really fine abstract image from Ana last month, and once again she makes the cut with this abstraction. I love the way the image invites my imagination to try and deduce exactly what it is that I’m seeing (hint: if you read the comments on her Flickr page, you can find the answer). I think the choice of black and white is perfect for this image as well; color would be a distraction, I think. Anyone else? Your thoughts on Ana’s photograph?
‘Imprisoned’ by Bernd Limbach
I’m not sure why I like this image…it’s several things: well executed and exposed. I like the symmetry and the light-sabre-like quality to the lights. The barbed wire running right through the center of the image is disturbing and sinister, to me. What do you guys think? I know that this doesn’t qualify as a ‘beauty shot’ and some of you won’t like it…anyone?
‘Eastern State Penitentiary’ by Eric Sturdivant
This is from a series of images that Eric shot in an old, abandoned-looking prison, and they are all quite compelling. (I chose this one, but there are several other good ones in the group.) These have an eerie quality to them that’s really strong and attractive; I like the use of light and shadow here. (A criticism though: Eric, I wish you had put some real caption information on these, instead of the batch caption boiler plate that is on all of them.) I like the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ effect in this image. Looking at how grim and gritty this was, I was surprised to see it was in Pennsylvania, not some old eastern European gulag.
‘Outhouse’ by Florian Gradwohl.
The bottom border of this image says ‘Mar 81,’ leading me to believe this may be an old photograph. Hey Florian, is this a Polaroid? Or maybe a Holga or Diana camera? I like the vignetting and the way the border becomes an important, rustic piece of the overall effect. How about it, everyone? Questions or thoughts?
‘Abandoned Homestead’ by John Allen
I like the composition here but I’m not crazy about the toning. John, how did you tone this image? Is this Photoshop Adjustment Layers, or something else? I find the result seems oversharpened, actually making it hard to see the building in the composition. What I do like: the placement of the windmill in the frame and the drama in the clouds.
‘Lo que pudo ser..’. by Jose Ramon
I believe this translates to ‘What Might Have Been…’
So Jose, this title intrigues me: are you referring to how nice you could have shot this, if only that hulking photographer wasn’t messing up your frame? Or are you referring to something else?
(Jose shoots beautiful landscapes, and I’ll be curious to learn what he was thinking here.) I love the dreamy quality to the water…do you guys think the figure on the rock outcropping adds or detracts from the composition?
‘London Southbank Pier @ Dusk’ by Sandy Biring
I’m not sure how I feel about this image: parts I like, parts I think could be stronger. What I like: the quality in the clouds. I like the sense of movement, as if it’s flowing across the frame. What I don’t like: the amount of distortion in the foreground (although this may appeal to many viewers). Also, I’d like to see better overall control of the exposure, most notably, the overexposed buildings across the river. How do you guys like this one?
Untitled, by Sarah Tomlin
Sarah has been submitting a lot of interesting photographs the last few months, mostly from rural Arkansas. I like this one: the composition is particularly strong, I think, with the juxtaposition and positioning of the trees against the thunderhead clouds. What I don’t like: the toning. This feels oversaturated to me. I think this would make a dynamite black and white image. Anyone else?
So there are my thoughts about this fine group of images from our Discerning Photographer Flickr group pool. Now for the fun part! Let me know your thoughts! Let’s see if you all think I’m on target or way off base! And featured photographers, please don’t be shy! Let me know if you agree/disagree. There are no right or wrong answers, just a chance to have some meaningful conversation about images.
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