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Frank Jackson on Street Photography I am happy and excited to announce a new RFF forum on Street Photography mentored by Frank Jackson, one of the best producers of analog B/W prints I have ever seen. His shows include the Open Shutter Gallery, Heriard-Cimino Gallery, and Ogden Museum of Southern Art. His images are in the collections of Smithsonian Ogden Museum of Southern Art, California Afro American Museum and Xavier University New Orleans LA. He has worked for or has been featured with Visa Card, Xerox, UCLA, Eric Owen Moss, Architect, Hasselblad Forum (cover),Gordon Parks, Muhammed Ali, Million Man March Wash. DC, Lionel Hampton, jazz legion photographer , 1995-2002, Stevie Wonder, B+W Magazine (British version) twice, Rangefinder Magazine, Dahon Bicycles, Arelli Wheels, Real Product Design, Automobile Club of Southern California. Frank's online images are at fotographz.500px.com and fotographzfrankjackson.tumblr.com . "While on this diverse photographic journey…I have to say during this whole time my love for fine art black and white photography kept growing. I always found time to shoot in different cities and my own personal work…this has sustained me through some very tough times. As of 2012, with the help of a very good friend I maintain a state-of-the-art dream darkroom. The darkroom helps greatly in the on-going practice of understanding “the light”, being able to process film and print drives me to keep my digital photography “organic”. I’m curious visually and shooting what’s, what on the street feeds this curiosity. Everyday I walk out my front door to “see” the world with a digital camera, a film camera, the “cup” and an open mind (mostly).

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Old 02-23-2015   #81
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My take on the photo is that while there are these compositional/narrative elements within the picture (repetition of line, reflection of people on the other side of the street) that the others have rightly picked up on, I don't find these elements strong enough to make a significant impression. The reflection of the people on the other side of the street isn't really clear enough to make any meaningful sense of situation (this could possibly be enhanced with some PP), the repetition of line and shape isn't really immediately powerful, I didn't actually notice the poster at all until a second ago and only since you mention it; it all comes together as being fairly vague. I find myself being more intrigued by the image the more I look at it, but had this been on flickr, tumblr, or a portfolio I would have scrolled past without much of a thought. The most pleasing part of the image for me is actually the light and expression on the girl's face.

Also, to echo what Pherdinand said I really don't think you should caption your work the way that you did. There are some images that really require some context (not this one), and no work requires a pre-packaged interpretation.
I said this earlier I posted my thoughts because I wanted to get the ball rolling and I have thick skin. About half the crit that has been posted has been much different from your crit but I must thank you if you had to go back to soak it all in. Thats what I was going for. And trust me the flicker tumbler crowd is not what I am playing to. I have no presence there and have no desire to. Immediate gratification is not what most of my work is about. I tend to like to show my work as prints in galleries. But thats me.

To topic this is why you need to be very careful whose crit you take to heart. I have seen, on forums, people tell others to crop out some of the most important visual elements. I am very lucky to first have a lot of confidence in my vision and second to have a circle of artists and photographers as friends to help me when I need help.

Right now we all have a WONDERFUL resource in Frank to critique our work and everyone should take advantage of that. I don't just say that because of his favorable review LoL...
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Old 02-23-2015   #82
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“There are rules about perception, but not about photography.”

– Jay Maisel
Great quote....
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Old 02-23-2015   #83
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"I really don't think you learn from teachers. You learn from work."

- Garry Winogrand
He learned from Evans and Frank by his own words. He learned by looking at their work. But you do learn most from working...
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Old 02-23-2015   #84
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He learned from Evans and Frank by his own words. He learned by looking at their work. But you do learn most from working...
Yes, he learned quite a bit from them, especially Evans, who strongly influenced Frank. But as you said Allen, and I was pointing out, by looking at their work.
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Old 02-23-2015   #85
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Yes, he learned quite a bit from them, especially Evans, who strongly influenced Frank. But as you said Allen, and I was pointing out, by looking at their work.
Yes absolutely.
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Old 02-23-2015   #86
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I said this earlier I posted my thoughts because I wanted to get the ball rolling and I have thick skin. About half the crit that has been posted has been much different from your crit but I must thank you if you had to go back to soak it all in. Thats what I was going for. And trust me the flicker tumbler crowd is not what I am playing to. I have no presence there and have no desire to. Immediate gratification is not what most of my work is about. I tend to like to show my work as prints in galleries. But thats me.
Fair enough. I didn't mean to imply your work needs to supply immediate gratification, I just mean this particular picture feels dilute; but if that's what you're going for then by all means power to you. I guess if this was part of a larger series then I could potentially see it working in conjunction with other conceptually supportive images, but as an individual photo as I mentioned I think it could be stronger.

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To topic this is why you need to be very careful whose crit you take to heart. I have seen, on forums, people tell others to crop out some of the most important visual elements. I am very lucky to first have a lot of confidence in my vision and second to have a circle of artists and photographers as friends to help me when I need help.
For sure, it's good you have a group of friends to work with, in the some 5 years since my MFA easily the most important thing I've done is find that group. Without my clique I doubt I would have been able to achieve what I have over the past years. Not to mention, the majority of people will give useless critique, just in the same sense that for every fan you make you'll make two enemies. 2014 was my most successful year yet; a major national award, 4 solo shows in 3 continents, 3 artist residencies etc., but I've been having to learn the hard way that haters gon' hate and at the end of the day for an artist uniform praise is far more of a concern than uniform disapproval.
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Old 02-23-2015   #87
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Can you really critique just one shot? I'm not sure...it's a rare image that can stand on its own and not only stand the test of time but say something all by itself.

Most of the street photography I like that really resonates with me is a group or collection of images, over time, that explore a place or some theme...sum greater than its parts, kind of thing I suppose you'd say.

Just a musing, as I look over a book by one of my great street photography inspirations:
http://uofmpress.ca/books/detail/the-north-end
http://www.amazon.ca/The-North-End-P.../dp/0887557007
https://www.nfb.ca/film/ted_baryluks_grocery/
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Old 02-23-2015   #88
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Originally Posted by nongfuspring View Post
Fair enough. I didn't mean to imply your work needs to supply immediate gratification, I just mean this particular picture feels dilute; but if that's what you're going for then by all means power to you. I guess if this was part of a larger series then I could potentially see it working in conjunction with other conceptually supportive images, but as an individual photo as I mentioned I think it could be stronger.



For sure, it's good you have a group of friends to work with, in the some 5 years since my MFA easily the most important thing I've done is find that group. Without my clique I doubt I would have been able to achieve what I have over the past years. Not to mention, the majority of people will give useless critique, just in the same sense that for every fan you make you'll make two enemies. 2014 was my most successful year yet; a major national award, 4 solo shows in 3 continents, 3 artist residencies etc., but I've been having to learn the hard way that haters gon' hate and at the end of the day for an artist uniform praise is far more of a concern than uniform disapproval.
Thanks and congrats on your recognition. If you go back some the group I am lucky enough to critique with includes 3 MFA's. One received a Guggenheim and is working on a book and teaches. One was the photography head at a college for over 25 years and is now retired and he received his MFA from RISD when Callahan and Siskind were there and Francesca Woodman was a classmate. and the other also teaches and a few other pretty amazing artists and photographers that are not afraid to give good with bad are all part of that group.
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Old 02-23-2015   #89
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Originally Posted by Colin Corneau View Post
Can you really critique just one shot? I'm not sure...it's a rare image that can stand on its own and not only stand the test of time but say something all by itself.

Most of the street photography I like that really resonates with me is a group or collection of images, over time, that explore a place or some theme...sum greater than its parts, kind of thing I suppose you'd say.

Just a musing, as I look over a book by one of my great street photography inspirations:
http://uofmpress.ca/books/detail/the-north-end
http://www.amazon.ca/The-North-End-P.../dp/0887557007
https://www.nfb.ca/film/ted_baryluks_grocery/
I totally agree. It's always about the body of work. Three of my real strong influences.
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Old 02-23-2015   #90
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Enough about me for gosh sakes. I mean you have Frank here that has asked folks to post work a page or two back you should all take advantage of that in my opinion. Someone that can give you some good insight into your work.
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Old 02-23-2015   #91
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Who has the authority to critique your street photography?
If I may respond to the original poster's question, I don't think it's so much a matter of "authority." There are people who have something valid to say about street photography and there are people who don't. The trick is to know the difference.

Constantine Manos is a man who has many valid things to say about street photography; being a long time member of Magnum and having made a few billion street photography images himself makes it so. You could say the same about Peter Turnley, Jay Maisel, Joel Meyerowitz and several others who teach street photography workshops and have spent their entire working lives making street and documentary photography.

Academic and gallery types? Proceed with great caution when it comes to giving their commentary on your street photography any weight.
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Old 02-23-2015   #92
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There have been some great photographers that have taught at universities and colleges.

Winogrand
Callahan
Siskind
Uelsmann
Swedlund
László Moholy-Nagy
to name just a few and Stieglitz was a gallery owner and actually gave many great artists a start like Picasso's first major US exhibit
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Old 02-23-2015   #93
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NSFW: Main St. Port Dover, Friday 13th motorcycle event:

(The mods have the authority to censor this image.)
Frank went to your site and you have some terrific portraits there to. The guys in the sunflowers, the guy looking up with the coffee on the table, the guys with his head in his hands and the couple at Brighton Beach are a few that i really like.
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Old 02-23-2015   #94
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Actually it was Paul Strand who was discovering "modern" artists for Stieglitz to exhibit and reproduce in Camera Work, which did not always show photography. Stieglitz' s gallery introduced many European artists that were not known in America.

I had the unfortunate task of separating pages of full issues of camera work when I worked in a photo gallery many years ago. The individual images were worth more separately then the full issues!
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Old 02-23-2015   #95
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Actually it was Paul Strand who was discovering "modern" artists for Stieglitz to exhibit and reproduce in Camera Work, which did not always show photography. Stieglitz' s gallery introduced many European artists that were not known in America.

I had the unfortunate task of separating pages of full issues of camera work when I worked in a photo gallery many years ago. The individual images were worth more separately then the full issues!
That is sad about the issues of Camera Works...
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Old 02-23-2015   #96
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That is sad about the issues of Camera Works...
I was almost in tears Allen!

The good thing, I was able to get two pages. One was a photogravure of Steiglitz's "Icy Night", which was an ad for Goertz lenses. The other was a reproduction of a Picasso etching, "Nude Woman" or something to that effect.
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Old 02-23-2015   #97
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I am not a professional photographer who needs to care what others say about my "work".
If I post here on RFF and get some feedback that's good enough for me. Someone took a few minutes of their life to think about my shot and formulate a comment. Thanks a lot, much appreciated !

As far as professional critique goes I only have one Leica workshop experience and the saying " ask two different people and you'll get two different answers" was absolutely true also for this workshop. Apart from general rules of composition the perception why a photo works or is strong - or just the opposite can vary pretty much.

But then these kind of workshops are usually about going out with a certain task and come back 2 or 3 hrs later, do a quick run through editing and choose a couple of shots for critique in front of group. The comments should stimulate and make you think how to improve in certain formal aspects. To be at the right time at the right place and intuitively put some of the stuff you learned into the composition and press the shutter at the decisive moment, that take a lot of practice and a good portion of luck.
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Old 02-23-2015   #98
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Frank went to your site and you have some terrific portraits there to. The guys in the sunflowers, the guy looking up with the coffee on the table, the guys with his head in his hands and the couple at Brighton Beach are a few that i really like.
Thank you !
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Old 02-23-2015   #99
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I was almost in tears Allen!

The good thing, I was able to get two pages. One was a photogravure of Steiglitz's "Icy Night", which was an ad for Goertz lenses. The other was a reproduction of a Picasso etching, "Nude Woman" or something to that effect.
That's very cool....
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Old 02-23-2015   #100
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Originally Posted by airfrogusmc View Post
1024) {this.width=1024;this.alt='Click here to see a large version';}" onmouseover="if(this.alt) this.style.cursor='pointer';" onclick="if(this.alt) window.open('http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/airfrogusmc/airfrogusmc024/L1028142_zpsc461e890.jpg');" border="0">
It left me wanting to crop most of the image away. A tight crop, portrait orientation with the girls face to the left edge and the middle aged ogling men to the top right filling the area.

The blank space is not working for me in this image. It feels like a vacuum sucking away my interest. I understand though that it's hard to get close to people in particular cities or parts of town. I struggle with that all the time and I could not see how you could have been closer to the girl without seeming like a creepy space invader with a camera. Perhaps a longer focal length would have worked in your favor here.

Ps: I admire you for putting it out there to be critiqued.

Note in response to the topic: Two people spring to mind when I think of whom I trust to receive critique from. One is a mentor of sorts, a teacher at a photography school who taught me wet printing but who is an accomplished photographer in his own right. The critique revolves around the image in a print. That is my ultimate goal anyway so having critique and deciding on whether it should be printed and how the best image can be realized in print is IMO a great way to critique your images. The other is a friend who is an art director in his own ad agency. He's an accomplished graphic and industrial designer and sees my work from a unique perspective. Being close friends there are no reservations. He generally hates it when rubbish is passed off as art so I can be sure I'm getting an honest critique.

Last edited by Paolo Bonello : 02-23-2015 at 15:24. Reason: Ad note:
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Old 02-23-2015   #101
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Hi Paolo,

Did you read Franks eval about balance?
Here
http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...5&postcount=50

I have to say that I agree. Pretty much similar feed back from the group I critique with.

And again enough about my work. lets see yours....
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Old 02-23-2015   #102
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I had written something here about this image but I deleted it. I do enough self critique anyway so lets hear it.


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Old 02-24-2015   #103
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being a long time member of Magnum and having made a few billion street photography images himself makes it so.
a quick calculus tells me that, to make a billion photographs he would need to make one photo per second, 8hrs per day non stop, every day of the year, - for 99 years.



i figure you were not literally speaking
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Old 02-24-2015   #104
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The trouble with internet 'critiques' it seems is that they usually all appear to come laden with caveats. Often from the image-maker trying to explain the picture, its meaning and the reasoning behind everything from timing to composition but also from the critic who feels that telling you what they would have done in the same situation (despite not having been there or even knowing the situation, unless that was part of what the photographer felt they needed to type out to explain even further the motivation behind the image,) is the best way for you to learn.

I've always found critiques as part of a face to face conversation to be the best way to learn as this allows an ebb and flow of discussion and listening to develop that doesn't appear possible via the net.

Of course we take what we can get but perhaps a little more thought into how the message is read may help when making a criticism via the internet. Well done those willing to put their images up for discussion, especially after how some recent threads descended into childishness over opinions on imagery. Though isn't that the crux of creativity, to produce and let go - you can't control the perception nor enjoyment of others... let it go.

So, if it isn't obvious from all of that, my answer to the original question is; any and all of course.
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Old 02-24-2015   #105
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IMO, its not just street photography that has no rules. Any art is subjective, and the best anyone can do is to explain why they like something or not.

It is up to history and academia to determine what art works are significant.

It is up to dealers and galleries to determine what art can be profitable to them.
The voice of reason.
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Old 02-24-2015   #106
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I thing a good guide to seeing what may or may not be good critique is bad critique is usually someone trying to push the way they see the world or they way they would do it instead of taking the piece for what it is. 5 great photographers shooting the same thing should have 5 different interpretations. Not the same.

Also vague critique like it is boring or I just don't like it also is something to not take to seriously.

Anyone can like and dislike whatever but to see something that you may not like and still see it as important or good and vise versa something you like but know is not good. I am not a huge fan of Witkins work but I see why it is important and can judge it putting aside that.
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Old 02-24-2015   #107
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I had written something here about this image but I deleted it. I do enough self critique anyway so lets hear it.


Paulo, I find some humor here and I like the balance of the two men but the background is so busy and with the exception of the look after yourself better wording it doesn't seem to relate much to the foreground and those bright rectangles of light upper right just seem to grab my attention.

I do find the question raised about is the guy looking at the car the owner interesting? Or maybe a stare down LoL....

I would love to read your words on it.
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Old 02-24-2015   #108
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I've always found critiques as part of a face to face conversation to be the best way to learn as this allows an ebb and flow of discussion and listening to develop that doesn't appear possible via the net.
Agree
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Old 02-24-2015   #109
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Exposing intentionally something to everyone means something like expecting criticizing by everyone. Else, if this is not desired, one should aim for a specific audience of perhaps certain taste, skills, and whatever else.
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Old 02-24-2015   #110
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agree with Nikos. Also, if you have doubt on who has "authority" to criticize your work, well request it only from those then, and not from random folks over the Net.
ps: this is not necessarily intended to the OP of course
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Old 02-24-2015   #111
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I think it is good to get feedback from as many as you can. Then it becomes crucial who you listen to as I said in # 107.

Frank is here and a great source. I would surely take his words to heart.
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Old 02-24-2015   #112
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Frank is here and a great source. I would surely take his words to heart.
yes we know that. You've said that a few times already
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Old 02-24-2015   #113
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yes we know that. You've said that a few times already
So wheres all the takers?
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Old 02-24-2015   #114
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Somehow i find a strange double standard or, at least contradiction, in the 'art' world regarding entitlement to giving criticism (and about teaching the same).

On one side, it is kinda well-accepted that if you are a well-known, well-established, well-respected, good photographer your criticism is welcome and worthy, you do know what you are talking about, and if you are a nobody or somebody who obviously has no special photography talent nor reputation, your criticism to others' work is of a lesser value. I could even accept this reasoning.

Now on the other hand, we all seem to be up to criticising a movie or music, and acccepting written reviews of these, while how many of us (or even of the famous critics whos writing we acknowledge as valid) ever made (even a crappy) movie or produced anything musical that doesn't hurt the ears? Raaaarely..

How do you explain this discrepancy?
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Old 02-24-2015   #115
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So wheres all the takers?
well i have two links hereunder, and as usual ANYBODY is welcome to tear my pics apart (not literally, of course)
but my images are far from extraordinary so i don't mean to show off with my mediocrity.
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Old 02-24-2015   #116
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I think it is good to get feedback from as many as you can. Then it becomes crucial who you listen to as I said in # 107.
I might be biased by the review process I usually follow(ed) in science instead of art. There it's not important (well, at least not for reviewing single publications - for a body of work reputation is of course still important ) who it is who says something, it's more important WHAT the person says and whether it is scientifically sound and well founded, or it is rubbish in which case it (the review) will be mocked disregarded and wiped off the Earth
that's helped a lot by keeping peer reviewers anonymous to the author; because scientists are also humans, with pride and prejudice.
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Old 02-24-2015   #117
paulfish4570
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none of the photos in this thread interests me.
that's my criticism, and i'm sticking with it: interest, or lack of it, on a personal level.
anyone can offer such a view, and be equally valid ...
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Old 02-24-2015   #118
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Originally Posted by paulfish4570 View Post
none of the photos in this thread interests me.
that's my criticism, and i'm sticking with it: interest, or lack of it, on a personal level.
anyone can offer such a view, and be equally valid ...
i think that's an absolutely valid criticism.
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Old 02-24-2015   #119
Paolo Bonello
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airfrogusmc View Post
Paulo, I find some humor here and I like the balance of the two men but the background is so busy and with the exception of the look after yourself better wording it doesn't seem to relate much to the foreground and those bright rectangles of light upper right just seem to grab my attention.

I do find the question raised about is the guy looking at the car the owner interesting? Or maybe a stare down LoL....

I would love to read your words on it.
I chose this image because I struggled with the framing yet could not seem to improve it by cropping in post.

I agree about the busy background especially top of the Chemist facade and the block of neon sign. You should see it in colour, it's a fruit salad. Didn't really know if I could have improve that area since I wanted to keep the dentist sign and the two individuals in the frame. Felt they might all be part of the story. So yes it's busy and it distracts, totally agree. The rest I find interesting like it's a mystery that you need to solve so it outweighed the negatives.

The mini parked with one wheel on the kerb at an awkward angle, well I found it immediately bizarre and humorous hence my simple reason for taking a shot.

If I had to guess at the back-story I imagine the owner might have been having an extremely bad day. Inside the dentist perhaps? The Chemist's slogan has more relevance if the driver is suffering as I imagine he might be. The parking ticket on the window to top his bad day and all the cars that forced him to park so awkwardly are now gone and he just looks like a fool. Kinda like that scenario where one guy in the parking lot creeps into the next bay and the error is compounded by the next car and the next until you get the last spot but it's got a divide line right through the middle. Oh well, it's a spot so you park there regardless but when you return everyone around you is gone and you look like a tool who parked in two spaces.
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Old 02-24-2015   #120
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Originally Posted by Paolo Bonello View Post
I had written something here about this image but I deleted it. I do enough self critique anyway so lets hear it.


The image is descriptive - somebody badly parked a car and a passer-by is looking at the car.

That is what the viewer gets right away, even though that maybe not the case.

This is what Winogrand has also addressed in one of his videos that you can find online. How can you "show" more than the simple description? That is the challenge of street photography.
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