Footpath

Started Oct 15, 2018 | Photos
Anisha Kaul Regular Member • Posts: 257
Footpath
2

These people live on the side of the footpath in a tent in the most expensive city(Gurgaon) in India. They are daily labourers. Mother had to keep an eye on two children. Luckily their children are well behaved.

Please tell your opinions on this and also tell how and where I can improve here?

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Comment & critique:
Please provide me constructive critique and criticism.
Mark9473 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,236
Re: Footpath

The story behind is good, but I don't like the extreme perspective. Not a fan of B&W either...

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Mark

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johnbandry Senior Member • Posts: 2,938
Re: Footpath
1

It looks to me like two separate photos, one stuck on top of the other. Neither half says anything interesting to me. Together they are just confusing.

your perspective on the foreground child is unflattering.

Sorry, I can’t get past that to comment more.

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John Bandry
“Reason is poor propaganda when opposed by the yammering, unceasing lies of ... self-serving men” - Robert A. Heinlein

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John Deerfield Veteran Member • Posts: 3,513
Re: Footpath
2

Best advice I was ever given, ask yourself two questions. 1: what am I taking a picture of? 2: how do I want it to look. Take away your explanation of the image. What are you showing us? What do you want us to see? Because right now, we don't see it.

OP Anisha Kaul Regular Member • Posts: 257
Re: Footpath

Thanks for the time to all of you.

My intention was to show that poor sleep on the footpath. I believe that the sleeping kid is quite close to the camera, mother is in the center and her gaze leads us to the crawling kid which is far.

So, this satisfies the requirements of a wide angle composition as shown in the first quote of this thread.

https://photo.stackexchange.com/a/12707/5205

The wider the lens you use, the closer you probably should be to the nearest thing in your scene. And there should be a nearest thing in your scene! The classic landscape shot is something like: near flower, middle lake, far peak. How far do you think the photographer is from the flower? The lake? The peak? How about 1 foot, 10 feet, 1 mile+? Yep, there's almost a logarithmic nature to near/middle/far in most pro landscape shots. In most amateur shots, it's more like middle/far/far (10 feet, 100 yards, 1 mile). And the image feels "flatter" when hung on the wall in a frame because of that.

Do the rules differ in street life? What could I have done better?

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John Deerfield Veteran Member • Posts: 3,513
Re: Footpath
1

Anisha Kaul wrote:

Thanks for the time to all of you.

My intention was to show that poor sleep on the footpath. I believe that the sleeping kid is quite close to the camera, mother is in the center and her gaze leads us to the crawling kid which is far.

So, this satisfies the requirements of a wide angle composition as shown in the first quote of this thread.

https://photo.stackexchange.com/a/12707/5205

The wider the lens you use, the closer you probably should be to the nearest thing in your scene. And there should be a nearest thing in your scene! The classic landscape shot is something like: near flower, middle lake, far peak. How far do you think the photographer is from the flower? The lake? The peak? How about 1 foot, 10 feet, 1 mile+? Yep, there's almost a logarithmic nature to near/middle/far in most pro landscape shots. In most amateur shots, it's more like middle/far/far (10 feet, 100 yards, 1 mile). And the image feels "flatter" when hung on the wall in a frame because of that.

Do the rules differ in street life? What could I have done better?

Only you as the photographer can decide when to apply a rule or guideline. An exaggerated perspective of a flower against a landscape is one thing. An exaggerated head in the foreground is something else. That isn't to say that perhaps there might be a time & place to put an exaggerated head in the foreground, but in this case, for the viewer we don't understand why it is there.

I believe that working through an exercise like this helps make you a better photographer. The flip side is to take the knowledge and make it your own, not just simply "near, middle, far". You could use a wide angle lens to put literally anything "near". Does that mean anything put near a wide angle lens is interesting composition? Why are you putting a subject close to the wide angle lens. Why do you want to emphasize that perspective?

In terms of capturing this scene "better", I really am not sure. For me, I simply don't see much of interest here. The mother looking at the child crawling down the street is, to me, the most interesting part of the image so you could loose the child in front altogether. But even then I think there needs to be "more" to the scene. Is the child crawling towards something? Or maybe more of the mother's expression, moving more camera right. I am just not sure. One compositional guideline I teach is to "explore the frame". Where might I get the most interesting composition. Granted, harder to do with street photography I might imagine, but perhaps work it out in your minds eye: the mother's expression as the child crawls off into the sunset might be something to position for. Just thinking out loud.

OP Anisha Kaul Regular Member • Posts: 257
Re: Footpath

John Deerfield wrote:

Only you as the photographer can decide when to apply a rule or guideline. An exaggerated perspective of a flower against a landscape is one thing. An exaggerated head in the foreground is something else. That isn't to say that perhaps there might be a time & place to put an exaggerated head in the foreground, but in this case, for the viewer we don't understand why it is there.

I believe that working through an exercise like this helps make you a better photographer. The flip side is to take the knowledge and make it your own, not just simply "near, middle, far". You could use a wide angle lens to put literally anything "near". Does that mean anything put near a wide angle lens is interesting composition? Why are you putting a subject close to the wide angle lens. Why do you want to emphasize that perspective?

Am very thankful for this insight of yours. Both these paragraphs have made me realize that I had indeed just thought about near, middle, far without giving much thought to WHY!

In terms of capturing this scene "better", I really am not sure. For me, I simply don't see much of interest here. The mother looking at the child crawling down the street is, to me, the most interesting part of the image so you could loose the child in front altogether. But even then I think there needs to be "more" to the scene. Is the child crawling towards something? Or maybe more of the mother's expression, moving more camera right. I am just not sure. One compositional guideline I teach is to "explore the frame". Where might I get the most interesting composition. Granted, harder to do with street photography I might imagine, but perhaps work it out in your minds eye: the mother's expression as the child crawls off into the sunset might be something to position for. Just thinking out loud.

I realize the fault here also. Basically I wanted to show that these poor people live on the footpath. But, I realize that there is no "context" here. I could have shown some moving cars on the other side to show the richness and poverty.

Again, very much thankful to you.

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Jaykayg
Jaykayg Contributing Member • Posts: 690
Re: Footpath
1

I think the photo a bit further out would have shown us where they have to live. Then the normal human activities of sleeping, and watching a crawling child, would have seemed more shocking in the context.

And whilst I think black and white is often good for old faces, and cityscapes, in this case the chances are that the lady’s clothing is colourful - so again, that would have been interesting to see.

What I really like is that you are using your photography to highlight unacceptable inequality.

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mfinley
mfinley Veteran Member • Posts: 5,641
Re: Footpath

Anisha Kaul wrote:

These people live on the side of the footpath in a tent in the most expensive city(Gurgaon) in India. They are daily labourers. Mother had to keep an eye on two children. Luckily their children are well behaved.

Please tell your opinions on this and also tell how and where I can improve here?

Not every photograph contains the obvious story within it's frame without an explanation. In photojournalism a photographer often is hoping for that singular image that tells the entire story, however 99% of articles the photographs don't accomplish this, nor do they need to.

Your photo combined with the backstory works very well. It's not an image that tells the whole story just by looking at it, but does it have to? In itself it's well done and compliments the backstory. If you wanted to create an image that tells the complete story without any words, this one can't do it, you'd need more context in the image, which typically would be done by pulling back so the viewer can get more of the bigger picture which you saw standing there at the scene.

Overall a well composed image the viewer is taken into the image by the boy at the bottom, Its not obvious if he is sleeping or injured, they eyes go up to the mother and follow her gaze to the child crawling away. Its hard to understand what is going on, but something is definitely going on to invoke taking the picture. It's not a typical composition so you're going to get plenty of people who it's too out of their 'standard' for them to get it, so don't worry about that. I would also disregard any comments about b&w or color, they are irrelevant, if somebody needs to see color in this photograph, your images are probably lost to them already. Did you take any other shots?

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Chato
Chato Forum Pro • Posts: 47,070
Three images?

The point has already been made, that this image is too "busy," that it looks as if a number of different photographs were pasted together. I took the liberty of breaking the image into different shots. My apologies in advance.

FingerPainter Forum Pro • Posts: 10,493
Re: Three images?
1

Chato wrote:

The point has already been made, that this image is too "busy," that it looks as if a number of different photographs were pasted together. I took the liberty of breaking the image into different shots. My apologies in advance.

I think these three images are each better images than the origitnal, yet the original tells the story much better.

FingerPainter Forum Pro • Posts: 10,493
Re: Footpath

Anisha Kaul wrote:

These people live on the side of the footpath in a tent in the most expensive city(Gurgaon) in India. They are daily labourers. Mother had to keep an eye on two children. Luckily their children are well behaved.

Please tell your opinions on this and also tell how and where I can improve here?

From the point of view of telling the story of living beside a footpath, the three people cover the frame from top to bottom and left to right so they are not visually beside anything. If you want to give an impression of being bedside something, gather the collection of them in one part of the frame and have the thing they are beside in the other part of the frame. Your composition says "living outside" more than it says "beside a foot path".

Don't cut the top of the kid's head off.

The spacing of the three people seems to separate each into their own zone, so it doesn't  give the impression of living together. I might have tried shooting from farther away with a longer focal length to compress the distance between mother and son, to make it look like the baby was straying from the family group.

I think colour would help.

Nashtah Forum Member • Posts: 51
Re: Footpath

FingerPainter wrote:

Anisha Kaul wrote:

These people live on the side of the footpath in a tent in the most expensive city(Gurgaon) in India. They are daily labourers. Mother had to keep an eye on two children. Luckily their children are well behaved.

Please tell your opinions on this and also tell how and where I can improve here?

From the point of view of telling the story of living beside a footpath, the three people cover the frame from top to bottom and left to right so they are not visually beside anything. If you want to give an impression of being bedside something, gather the collection of them in one part of the frame and have the thing they are beside in the other part of the frame. Your composition says "living outside" more than it says "beside a foot path".

Don't cut the top of the kid's head off.

That is a very cultural statement, in a lot of way I really like at image as a portrait of the sleeping boy. To me that cut shows him as being very important and of such value he is bigger than the frame.

The spacing of the three people seems to separate each into their own zone, so it doesn't give the impression of living together. I might have tried shooting from farther away with a longer focal length to compress the distance between mother and son, to make it look like the baby was straying from the family group.

More of the environment would help as right now it is not clear the family is living there not resting as waiting for a bus, living in China I saw many families rest on blankets waiting for buses.

I think colour would help.

Color may help but the environment being included to a larger degree would have a way larger effect. Great job on the b&w conversion.

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(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 10,159
Funny feedback you got (mfinley's excepted)
1

Anisha Kaul wrote:

These people live on the side of the footpath in a tent in the most expensive city(Gurgaon) in India. They are daily labourers. Mother had to keep an eye on two children. Luckily their children are well behaved.

Please tell your opinions on this and also tell how and where I can improve here?

This is basically a 'documentary' type photo, often these images are accompanied by an explanation, and you have done that. The image doesn't at all look busy or disorganized to me and you don't need to chop it into individual bits or include something more in the frame to help assert that this is a scene in an expensive city... you've already explained it as such.

IMO the composition is just fine and beckons me to read what you have to say about it. Sure, I could nitpick about this and that but it's all very minor stuff and forgivable for such a spontaneous capture. Well done!

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Martin

Shoot From The Hip New Member • Posts: 2
Re: Footpath

Thank you for your compassionate photograph of itinerant worker mother with children.   Choosing to put the sleeping boy in the foreground shows that in spite of their circumstances he feels safe with his mother.  I like that it is black and white, colors would distract from the underlying issues you chose to portray, in my opinion.

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