(This is another post that comes from my invitation to all of you to send me two of your pictures to get my thoughts on them. Send two photos at 544 pixels/72 dpi to me at: tekamah at me dot com Explain something about yourself, the photos and what you'd like for me to address about them. And feel free to send me a print for the effort.)
Not all submissions and queries to this layer of this blog are from professional photographers. Take David Burstein, of Cape Town, South Africa. He’s an avid photographer who doesn’t make a living making pictures.
He says: “I grew up shooting film with a home darkroom etc, and eventually gave it up as life happened. With the advent of proper digital I rekindled the passion.”
He sends these two pictures:
Of the pictures, he explains and then asks: “The first was shot in Simons Town, a small naval port down from Cape Town. It was a serene man who floated by. To me his posture and steady gaze indicates a grounded vision as he moves forward into the world. I guess the question is whether this is a simply a conceited self centered projection?’
“The second image was made in Miami. Personally I find it a very evocative image. It starts a conversation: What's what? Who is what? Where are they going? How do the people fit together? Technically I'm not sure if its cluttered, too busy?”
There is a nice quality to both photos, similar to what you might see from a movie set. It’s a more observed than experiential feeling, a passing by and happened to stop this moment feeling as opposed to one that happened from connection to the people. They feel more like nice versions of photographs that a private detective might make.
The color range is nice in each, the quality of light is appropriate to the mood without being overbearing or underseen, the moment in each isn’t hugely unique except in the passing-by quality.
Which leaves composition and distance from the subject to consider.
Both appear to be made from some distance. So the feeling of connectivity that can come from being close to someone is not here. The long lens tends to flatten the depth in each frame so you lose out on the three dimensional possibilities, though there is roundness because of the quality of light and in the Simons Town photo, the green background creates a connection to the green in his shirt that also adds depth/dimension.
You may well be reading more into the first photo than was there. No, the second photo is not too cluttered.
I would like to see photographs you’ve made where you’ve engaged the subjects and become part of what they’re doing, instead of being a distant observer. There is such great photographs that reach into people’s lives, the one thing that these two lack.
I would also challenge to make more complex photos, to put more into them.