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  #1  
Old July 11th, 2009, 06:26 PM
Cem_Usakligil Cem_Usakligil is offline
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Default Pictures at an exhibition



C&C is welcome, as usual.

Cheers,
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  #2  
Old July 11th, 2009, 11:42 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by Cem_Usakligil View Post


C&C is welcome, as usual.

Cheers,
Cem,

My comments are my immediate reactions but influenced by previous photographs I've seen where you have looked at windows, passageways and doors. Without any previous knowledge of your seeming fixation on Portals by which we pass from one place, status or time to another, I'd have already been thinking of, at least, the opposite side of a mirror, mimicking two spaces, a real and a virtual one.

Here, we're faced with a seemingly central pillar dividing two exhibition spaces and holding up an impressive ceiling over a wood plank and stone geometrically inlaid floor. On one side is a man with a camera, (perhaps that iconic, caricatured Japanese tourist) facing on the other side a bronze sculpture of a wolf perhaps, representing maybe Rome, it doesn't matter, but it's mythological.

Both sides of the gallery are perhaps separated by a wall. Still, it seems that one space on the left is real and the one on the right is imagined. In fact they are both places for the exhibition of the materialization of the imagined.

A clean and thought provoking shot that makes more sense if you will eventually assemble all such related pictures in a series and then whittle them down to the best. This one will remain.

Asher
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  #3  
Old July 12th, 2009, 12:01 AM
Ken Tanaka Ken Tanaka is offline
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This is a wonderful image, Cem. I could give you a paragraph of pseudo-academic reasons why this is attractive but it wouldn't make it better.

But, at least for me, the one hitch is that woman taking a pic. Perhaps this is just my personal bugaboo but it's a real buzz killer. If she was just standing studying at an unseen painting, perhaps arms folded, terrific. If she was further back in the scene, as a counterpoint to the sculpture and smaller, even better.

But perfect worlds can be hard to come by in photography. I've certainly seen few.

Nice shot.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 12:50 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by Ken Tanaka View Post
This is a wonderful image, Cem. I could give you a paragraph of pseudo-academic reasons why this is attractive.
Ken,

That would be instructive or at least entertaining. If you could do that not tongue-in-cheek and not pseudo anything, it would be valuable; meaning if you have some other references to such pictures that come to mind, it would be fun to know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Tanaka View Post
But, at least for me, the one hitch is that woman taking a pic. Perhaps this is just my personal bugaboo but it's a real buzz killer. If she was just standing studying at an unseen painting, perhaps arms folded, terrific. If she was further back in the scene, as a counterpoint to the sculpture and smaller, even better.
Well, you may have sexed her correctly! I took the figure as male! I saw the void in front of her as significant and the fact that the bronze hound is way back and not opposite her, shows further disjunction between what one might "expect" to be complementary worlds. In fact nothing matches. Only the floor and the ceiling join them together. Their symmetry leads us to expect some resonance and equality between both sections contained therein. But it's not the case! The walls are of different colors and the the room on the right has no person to equate with the first.

Now with a small person lined up with the bronze would it be more agreeable? Yes! But to me the whole thing is somehow a commentary on the absurdness of photographing what's to be experienced in the museum as if the holy essence of art can be snapped into the camera.

Asher
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  #5  
Old July 12th, 2009, 01:02 AM
Nicolas Claris Nicolas Claris is offline
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Hi Cem
I thought it was forbidden to take photographs in museums (in Europe)! LoL

Double fault here! LoL LoL

Perfect view of another world thru a gate by Cem… congrats.

I love the framing.
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  #6  
Old July 13th, 2009, 12:02 AM
Cem_Usakligil Cem_Usakligil is offline
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Hi guys,

Sorry for the late reaction, I wasn't online much over the weekend.

Thank you all for your very informative comments. There is still much to be learned for me and thanks to your C&C I am closing the gap at a faster rate than I could ever do by myself.

(Un)fortunately, I don't have any other pictures with the same composition. The fact that I could photograph freely in the museum has to do with the so called Wiki Loves Art NL project. So the opportunity is gone I'm afraid.

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  #7  
Old July 13th, 2009, 10:37 AM
Ken Tanaka Ken Tanaka is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Ken,

That would be instructive or at least entertaining. If you could do that not tongue-in-cheek and not pseudo anything, it would be valuable; meaning if you have some other references to such pictures that come to mind, it would be fun to know.

...

Asher
Well here's a bit of academic context that readers might find useful.

One compositional technique that good art schools often taught students of painting and drawing was that of organization through compartmentalization. In such an exercise students would be assigned to organize their paper/canvas into 'x' segments, not necessarily of equal area. Imagine, for example, a canvas conceptually divided rather like a painting by Piet Mondrian:


Students would typically start with a two segments and then work their way up to n-segments. The goal would be to organize your subjects into those compartments, rather like a Japanese bento box. Some compartments could be empty but only by design.

This was (is?) a very useful exercise for learning to structure 2D compositions that became popular in America when the Bauhaus basically fled the Nazis and moved to Chicago (as the Institute of Design, now the Illinois Institute of Technology) around WWII. Famed photographer, and I.D. student at the time, Ray Metzker made extensive use of this technique in some of his most famous images from the 1950's and 1960's.

I've no idea if it's still commonly taught in art schools. (Judging by what I see I coming out of some schools I doubt that anything very practical or instructive is being taught any longer.) But I know that I was taught this useful compositional device as a young student and still use it today. In fact I used it just this past weekend:


I don't know if Cem was consciously using such a technique for this shot but he has certainly structured his composition in a manner consistent with this compartmentalization. The symmetry and the curvilinear element at the bottom really tend to pull the eye into this otherwise flat image. Subconsciously we feel we're looking into the eyes of a scowling face (the top curve and motion sensor forming a knit brow).

Cultivating an eye for form and composition, not just light, is really the key characteristic that distinguishes the artist from the happy snapper in my book. Regardless of the nature of the image I can nearly always spot a shot captured by someone with some genuine art training, or with some uncultivated talent, versus a shot by a camera owner. I think that many people can, too, although they don't understand why.

Regarding photographing in museums... there are no universal rules. Museums are private institutions that can set their own rules. Here at the Art Institute of Chicago non-flash photography is permitted in
the galleries featuring the museums permanent collections. Photography is generally prohibited in special exhibits where pieces have been borrowed from other collections and for which the AIC does not have repro rights. Other museums try to restrict all photography. (I say "try" because it's futile to day with camera phones.)
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  #8  
Old July 13th, 2009, 12:38 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Default Organization by segments in art and photography, Mondrian, Metzker and more!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Tanaka View Post
I've no idea if it's still commonly taught in art schools. (Judging by what I see I coming out of some schools I doubt that anything very practical or instructive is being taught any longer.) But I know that I was taught this useful compositional device as a young student and still use it today. In fact I used it just this past weekend:



Ken,

This is exactly the input I'd hoped for. I'm impressed by your school's curriculum and the reference to the organizational structure that can make a composition of an ordinary scene impressive and worth revisiting. In your parkway scene by the edge of the water, most shots would have zoomed in one the people and likely be just mementos of that walk and good enough for keepsakes. Here, however, you surveyed the location and created a solid base for reference and then divided the ordinary parkway scene into two rectangles, each populated differently. Now the composition, while not calling attention to itself, seems to provide endurance to scene by its sense of order.

As a bonus, we also have a reference to movement. We can imagine that behind the foreground, speedboats and water scooters are zooming around! Just the painted sign, ordering the water craft revellers to make "NO WAKE", implies this. The idea of sport and movement is then gently recapitulated in the parkway with the cyclist moving forward about to pass the tree and enter the second geometric space. It's as if we have moved the concern for damage passing boats might cause to the water bank to the need for the cyclist to beware of pedestrians and kids playing.

Without the underlying organizational structure, that inferred subtle reference to sport but safety would likely have been not readable.

Thanks for sharing.

Asher
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  #9  
Old July 13th, 2009, 12:56 PM
Winston Mitchell Winston Mitchell is offline
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Fascinating, informative thread.

I differ a little with Asher as to the amount of division. I see three distinct rectangles; each one focused on distinctly different activities.

Thanks all for this thread. This is why I lurk here so much.
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  #10  
Old July 13th, 2009, 01:21 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Winston Mitchell View Post
Fascinating, informative thread.

I differ a little with Asher as to the amount of division. I see three distinct rectangles; each one focused on distinctly different activities.

Thanks all for this thread. This is why I lurk here so much.
You are correct, I only referred to segmentation of the parkway into two rectangles, not the picture itself. The horizontal one at the base is obvious.

Asher
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  #11  
Old July 14th, 2009, 04:02 AM
Cem_Usakligil Cem_Usakligil is offline
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Hi Ken,

I am extremely glad for the invaluable information you have given us in your posts. I am not formally educated in the world of art although I am more initiated about it than the average Joe as one might say. My composition was definitely not an accidental result of a snapshot, but neither was it the fruit of a formal training in arts. So here I am in the middle of transitioning from an unconsciously capable snapper to a consciously incapable art photographer. I am definitely willing to continue this process and I'll welcome all the help I can get from fellow OPFers along the way. Thanks a million.

Cheers,
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Last edited by Cem_Usakligil; July 14th, 2009 at 06:44 AM. Reason: typo
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  #12  
Old July 19th, 2009, 04:10 PM
Per Ellström Per Ellström is offline
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I like it a lot. It gave my perspective sense a run for the money.
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  #13  
Old July 21st, 2009, 12:38 AM
Cem_Usakligil Cem_Usakligil is offline
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Originally Posted by Per Ellström View Post
I like it a lot. It gave my perspective sense a run for the money.
Thanks Per for looking. Your phone booth pano of London is a more of a perspective twister, nicely done.

Cheers,
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  #14  
Old June 30th, 2011, 11:39 AM
Rick LeDuc Rick LeDuc is offline
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I personally love this shot. I really can't give a long winded explanation of why I like it, nor would I try and elevate myself by telling you what you could have done better. I just like it because of the emotional response I get from it. I think that my response is very much subconscious, maybe it is the moment captured, or perhaps the technical aspect of angle and color etc... likely it's both. At any rate, I think its a great shot.
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  #15  
Old June 30th, 2011, 03:03 PM
Cem_Usakligil Cem_Usakligil is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick LeDuc View Post
I personally love this shot. I really can't give a long winded explanation of why I like it, nor would I try and elevate myself by telling you what you could have done better. I just like it because of the emotional response I get from it. I think that my response is very much subconscious, maybe it is the moment captured, or perhaps the technical aspect of angle and color etc... likely it's both. At any rate, I think its a great shot.
Thanks Rick, really appreciated.
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  #16  
Old June 30th, 2011, 04:04 PM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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Since you requested critique:

I agree with what is written above but, IMO, that picture should be cropped so that the frame is homothetic to the rectangle encircling the door.

Better, but that is another picture: redo it in a square format. Move closer to the door and use a wider angle so as to change the perspective between the door and room and leave less space on the top and bottom but more left and right.

This is not only about dividing the frame as in a Mondrian picture. This is also about symmetry. You need to support that symmetry.
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  #17  
Old July 1st, 2011, 11:12 AM
Cem_Usakligil Cem_Usakligil is offline
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Hi Jerome,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
Since you requested critique:

I agree with what is written above but, IMO, that picture should be cropped so that the frame is homothetic to the rectangle encircling the door.

Better, but that is another picture: redo it in a square format. Move closer to the door and use a wider angle so as to change the perspective between the door and room and leave less space on the top and bottom but more left and right.

This is not only about dividing the frame as in a Mondrian picture. This is also about symmetry. You need to support that symmetry.
Thanks a lot for the kind comments, I have been considering them carefully. A slight crop from the top seems to improve it a bit indeed. But I am undecided yet about cropping such that the outer frame has the same proportions as the opening to the rooms. Reshooting may not be an option as the museum was open for photography only on that particular day. I will check their website though. This was taken using a 17mm so going even wider is a technical challenge. I would probably shoot tiles and stitch later using an appropriate projection method.

Speaking of Mondriaan, somebody wrote about this next picture of mine (taken 1.5 years later) that the processing of the ground was particularly well done, allowing it to become part of a single dimensional Mondriaan-style picture within a frame. Also, you can see that the crop of the outer frame is more proportional to the opening as per your suggestion.

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  #18  
Old July 1st, 2011, 01:51 PM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cem_Usakligil View Post
Hi Jerome,


Thanks a lot for the kind comments, I have been considering them carefully. A slight crop from the top seems to improve it a bit indeed. But I am undecided yet about cropping such that the outer frame has the same proportions as the opening to the rooms.
I define the "opening" as the rectangle going from the round bottom of the two orange pillars of the ground to the two extreme corners at the top left and right.

I did not came to that "homothetic" notion by sheer chance. First, I tried to crop a bit from the top and found out that it indeed improved the picture. But I wondered why. Then, I tried a few different crops or extensions left and right and realized that the picture is always better when the two rectangles match. The reason, I believe, is the strong symmetry in the picture left and right.


Quote:
Reshooting may not be an option as the museum was open for photography only on that particular day. I will check their website though. This was taken using a 17mm so going even wider is a technical challenge. I would probably shoot tiles and stitch later using an appropriate projection method.
This is shot on an EOS 5DII. Canon has a 14mm lens. Sigma has a 12-24 zoom. But a stitch would work the same and be cheaper, of course.


Quote:
Speaking of Mondriaan, somebody wrote about this next picture of mine (taken 1.5 years later) that the processing of the ground was particularly well done, allowing it to become part of a single dimensional Mondriaan-style picture within a frame. Also, you can see that the crop of the outer frame is more proportional to the opening as per your suggestion.
Yes, but this picture is constructed in a very different manner. Here the first door is constructed by a succession of rectangles which are progressively shifted upwards. So one would expect that the frame should also extend more to the bottom. However, that would not work. At first, one would think that it would not work because we do not want to see the green of the grass at the bottom, but this is not the reason: if we imagine that this would be a window in the wall, we would not like the wall to extend more to the bottom either. So why is it that we need an homothetic frame in the first picture and a frame which blocks the bottom of the picture in the second? The answer is in the question: we need to terminate that progression of successive frames at the bottom, while the other sides just need a bit of space to be understood.

This is a very nice picture, very well constructed. The Mondriaan (or Mondrian since 1912) divisions in the room are lovely. I think it would merit some post-processing efforts. I would try to lit up the green stuff on the room floor and to do something about that end window, so that it is more apparent that light shines through it (and adjust the reflection accordingly, of course).
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Old July 1st, 2011, 02:22 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Default Mondrian conundrum

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Originally Posted by Cem_Usakligil View Post


C&C is welcome, as usual.

Cheers,

Cem,

It would be valuable and I would offer, "important", for you to reconstruct how you considered the spaces and built up this picture in the first place. The problem is that, once out in the world, the perception of this picture by all of us is so colored by what has been said about it.

Paradoxical that Ken Tanaka wrote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Tanaka

I could give you a paragraph of pseudo-academic reasons why this is attractive but it wouldn't make it better.
But then proceeded to state regrets that the lady caught taking pictures and not contemplating in purity! After that Ken successfully framed the picture in reference to Mondrian's esthetics! That was a powerful intervention. It has become a filter through which to consider your composition. Now, are we not stuck there! If that's not "academic" then what is? But it's hardly "pseudo academic" and as always Ken makes good points!

So what was your original intent? How did you value the left figure v. the right dog sculpture, "facing off", but each having no idea of the other's existence? Was that woman's pose you caught indeed a mistake and a detraction or a treasure? Was the extra crown of white above it all part of your concept?

I too, am impressed by Ken's insight, but concerned here, that the power of his analogy might be now distorting your own ideas. But maybe not! After all, Mondrian didn't invent such patterns himself, they're built into nature and we just respond to them!

So how did you think of this when you planned it and what elements were intended to do what?

Asher
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  #20  
Old July 2nd, 2011, 04:59 AM
Cem_Usakligil Cem_Usakligil is offline
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Thanks again Jerome for taking your time to analyze these. I have enjoyed reading it and will contemplate your input for future reference.
PS: for us the Dutch, it is and has always been Mondriaan.

@Asher: you had also posted a reaction last night. I wanted to reply just now but it has disappeared? Mainly, you were asking about my intent. As it happens, the picture was not a lucky shot but it was consciously constructed that way. The balancing of the symmetrical rooms against each other and the apparent isolation of the lady on the left vs the sculpture of the donkey on the right is what I tried to capture consciously. I have had my back against a wall and had to crouch to get the composition as shown. After that, I have waited for more than 10 minutes very uncomfortably (tripods were not allowed) untill the room on the right was empty and the lady on the left decided to take a picture. The symmetry was of course one of main drivers, which helped pronounce the difference within a setting which initially may appear to be as alike/uniform. It all comes down to my main theme of portals. Provide a set of windows into a situation and the possible universes/lives which can branch from there. I have respect for Ken about his comment that it would have been better if the lady wasn't taking a picture. I however disagree, since it adds layers to the scene in my mind. I think about the invisible object she is photographing and whether she also has a window in the wall which provides a peek into the room on the right. And the evident duplicity of taking pictures of taking pictures of pictures, which may indeed be a cliche to some. I like the curvature of the opening with the Art Nouveau elements, which anchor and frame the picture. Most importantly, I have liked the empty off white space which creates a feeling of isolation and surrealism. It must be a remnant of my youth, as if I am looking at a scene from the masterpiece of Stanley Kubrick, the 2001:a space odyssey. The interesting ceilings within the rooms were the visual clues for me to start thinking of a scifi setting a la Kubrick. I did leave the top part of frame as such and did not crop because I wanted to emphasise the feeling of space, that outside the rooms there isn't a restrictive ceiling right above us to press us down.

So this was what I have seen in my mind and captured accordingly. The proportions within the frame are based on what my eyes and mind told me would be pleasing. Of course I am aware of golden ratios and rules of composition, what have you. But right there and then I wasn't busy with a scientific analysis.

Now that the picture is out there, it is up to the looker to make their own story out of it. I don't like speaking about my personal intent much, since I don't think that is essential for the looker to know that. Regardless of what my intent has been, they will either like or dislike it within their own frames of reference. I am happy to hear crtitique from others as to how this could be improved. Ideas they offer can bear fruit in my future works. But one must also consider the fact that I just don't share a particular picture such as this one as art unless I am confident that my execution actually reflects my vision.
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  #21  
Old July 2nd, 2011, 06:31 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Cem,

I put my post aside temporarily to allow me to reconsider what I wrote! Now it's back unchanged.

Thanks for your detailed and honest response, as always!

Asher
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  #22  
Old March 25th, 2012, 02:06 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cem_Usakligil View Post


C&C is welcome, as usual.

Cheers,
Cem,

This has much in common with you new work in the harbor, Fun on water where segmented spaces make the picture more interesting and work for us so well.

Asher
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