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Critique Requested What is wrong with this photo?

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
There is no varnish on one nail and, as was already noted, no locomotive either. So what? If this were a "formal portrait of a woman", whatever that means, we would also correct the varnish on her other fingers, the lack of makeup, the blemishes on her legs, the harsh front light, weird perspective and then probably the clothes and pose as well. Then it would be a completely different picture and, I think, not necessarily a better one. That particular picture is quite engaging, because it is not a "formal portrait" but shows what is objectively a young attractive woman in an unusual way.

Anyone can take a "formal portrait" but not anyone can take an interesting portrait.
Exactly!

To me, Will gave us an immediately engaging Portrait.

Nicolas surprised us by make it more compelling with a remarkably effective crop, that I certainly had not imagined.

...and as you imply that “fixing” that nail would not only have made a different picture

....but in addition seems implied that we’d then have ruined a key part of the “proof of authenticity” of the picture that perhaps, subconsciously makes it so valuable.

“Vogue” is valuable in that it perhaps, it gives women the wanted delusion that they cannot find in a mirror!

OTOH, the natural blemish, pen in a pocket or shaving cut, each build in our minds the authenticity and worth we value in a real person.

This is so important as we fear getting advice from a pretty shape in plastic, but love a word from friendly strangers, reaching out and acknowledging us!

More than that, anyway, as a general rule in art, perfection can be the mortal enemy of wonderful!

Perhaps these are two sides of the same coin.

I have always loved this photograph by Will, but now I value it more and have learned from you and Nicolas such a lot!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
The light is from the top producing dull eyes. As for the pose the limp arm, her legs and chair are unnecessary....



James,

Your comments are academically mostly correct.

Your own portrait is nice too and of course gets a huge welcome! I am glad you shared it as its enjoyable. He might have even have fixed my BMW before I gave it to my steel guy!


3667

Your apparently content and solid fellow has already made most of the traveling decisions of his temporary visit to this planet!

...and yes, the eyes are well done! I even see your reflection therein!


But you made a very very different portrait of a mature fellow in a truck/ car he probably owns, gliding towards the inevitable, likely mostly unimportant end of his life’s Odyssey!

By contrast, Will’s portrait, (and all the “unnecessary elements you complain of)

....uniquely captures an awkward undecided teenager, just hanging out!


3668


She is at the very beginning of realizing that life is a unique journey we all make.

Likely as not, she hadn’t even looked at a map of where she might be going!

Asher

BTW,

As to lighting, Will lights by design, for sure! So I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. You don’t like the hotspot on her forehead? I agree! He is no renowned guru, but he does understand lighting, I assure you.
 

James Lemon

Well-known member
James,

Your comments are academically mostly correct.

Your own portrait is nice too and of course gets a huge welcome! I am glad you shared it as its enjoyable. He might have even have fixed my BMW before I gave it to my steel guy!



Your apparently content and solid fellow has already made most of the traveling decisions of his temporary visit to this planet!

...and yes, the eyes are well done! I even see your reflection therein!


But you made a very very different portrait of a mature fellow in a truck/ car he probably owns, gliding towards the inevitable, likely mostly unimportant end of his life’s Odyssey!

By contrast, Will’s portrait, (and all the “unnecessary elements you complain of)

....uniquely captures an awkward undecided teenager, just hanging out!




She is at the very beginning of realizing that life is a unique journey we all make.

Likely as not, she hadn’t even looked at a map of where she might be going!

Asher

BTW,

As to lighting, Will lights by design, for sure! So I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. You don’t like the hotspot on her forehead? I agree! He is no renowned guru, but he does understand lighting, I assure you.
Asher

I suppose we can justify anything within the context of our own minds. The OP asked a question and my response is unchanged. A portrait without adequate light in the eyes is not worthwhile.

Best, regards
James
 

Tom dinning

Registrant*
There is no varnish on one nail and, as was already noted, no locomotive either. So what? If this were a "formal portrait of a woman", whatever that means, we would also correct the varnish on her other fingers, the lack of makeup, the blemishes on her legs, the harsh front light, weird perspective and then probably the clothes and pose as well. Then it would be a completely different picture and, I think, not necessarily a better one. That particular picture is quite engaging, because it is not a "formal portrait" but shows what is objectively a young attractive woman in an unusual way.

Anyone can take a "formal portrait" but not anyone can take an interesting portrait.
At last! Someone who didn’t see the loco that wasn’t there.
And the nail polish! Oh, how distasteful?

Really?

If this image is the starting point it’s also the finishing point. Whatever else people want to do is likely to be time wasting, irrelevant, unnecessary and possibly destructive to the interpretation a viewer might have.

She is posed well, natural, interesting, casual, expressive, even moody. Little is hidden from the viewer. Aesthetically, it is pleasing. She would be easily recognised from the image.

So what’s the problem?
Why change what ain’t broken?
 

Jim Olson

Active member
Question Will. If I remember, she is your niece. So how old is she now & can you post the same pose (hopefully with a similar business type suit) but duplicating the shot. It is a thing.Unless she lives in NM. Not going to fly anywhere right now.
 

Will Thompson

Active member
At last! Someone who didn’t see the loco that wasn’t there.
And the nail polish! Oh, how distasteful?

Really?

If this image is the starting point it’s also the finishing point. Whatever else people want to do is likely to be time wasting, irrelevant, unnecessary and possibly destructive to the interpretation a viewer might have.

She is posed well, natural, interesting, casual, expressive, even moody. Little is hidden from the viewer. Aesthetically, it is pleasing. She would be easily recognised from the image.

So what’s the problem?
Why change what ain’t broken?
Thanks Tom.
 

Will Thompson

Active member
Question Will. If I remember, she is your niece. So how old is she now & can you post the same pose (hopefully with a similar business type suit) but duplicating the shot. It is a thing.Unless she lives in NM. Not going to fly anywhere right now.
Jim she is my second cousin, no idea where she is now.

She was around 14 when we shot this for her modeling portfolio.
 
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