* Wed C&C (No Theme) Thread, Ed. 271, 13 07 03 *

Started Jul 2, 2013 | Discussions thread
CharlesB58 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,734
Re: "Giant step for mankind"


You have shared what is your personal experience with this photo, and in that regards there really is no critique appropriate. If this photo captures the thoughts and emotions you had at the time of seeing the scene, then it works: for you.

Without the extensive explanations you have given, none of what you say is the intent of the photo is apparent in the photo itself, at least not in my opinion. The only mystery is whether the sculpture or the figures are meant to be the main subject.

Therein lies the great obstacle people run into in self-critique and producing photos that go beyond "snapshots" and into the realm of truly outstanding images. People inject their subjective experience in taking the photo into the process of self-critique, and assume that because they are re-experiencing the thoughts and emotions they felt at the time of capture, everyone else will to. This shortcoming in self-critique affects everyone to some extent and is difficult to overcome. That's why peer critique is so important, but only if the peers are willing to give honest critique instead of the frequent "Nice shot" comments found on this and nearly every other website that allows posting and critiquing of photos.

Others may disagree with my assessment, which is in fact the purpose of this thread. I will say that I have a preference from strong graphical elements in this sort of photo which support a narrative intent free from the need to explain the photo. Others may see exactly what you intend (or they may simply not want to discourage you.)

Here's how I check myself if it takes me more words to explain why a photo was made rather than how it was made, I feel that version of the image isn't working.

Here are two approaches I would have taken to capture the mystery of which you speak:

I'd sure the sculpture is sharply in focus, and have the figures in the background blurry enough to keep them from distracting from the sculpture, but still sharp enough to be recognizable as people. The mystery then comes as the viewer asks the question "What are the people in the background doing? It looks to be a wedding perhaps? How do they relate to the sculpture in the foreground?" Images intended to have any sort of narrative need to get people asking questions, then either find the photographer's answer within the photo, or be satisfied with their own answers.

Do the opposite: make sure the people are in sharp focus and the sculpture is blurred. Now you have viewers asking the opposite questions.

In either case mystery should result from the elements of the photo leading people to ask a question, not have it explained to them in text. Granted, in this thread, the explanation is part of the dialog and purpose of the thread. However if you go back through these particular threads, you will see that the strongest images require very little explanation other than relating to how the image was taken.

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If, in my lifetime, I will have produced just one image that makes a real difference in the life of another, I will have achieved my highest goal as a photographer.

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