Jon -- Your photograph has a painterly quality. Watercolor. From a technical standpoint it is hard to find any fault other than it could stand to be sharper especially in the area of the window bars -- but I realize that with a digital image there are all sorts of reasons why something might not appear sharp so if sharpness was lost as a result of a jpg conversion or some such then that comes with the territory. Compositionally I am less impressed. The bland gray area that surrounds the window on three plus sides is just not very interesting visually.The uninteresting aspect of this predominant area of the image outweighs and competes in an unsatisfying way with the far more interesting areas on the right and bottom and with the window and what might be behind it. A tighter crop might help but as is I find the image confusing (ie. what should I be looking at) and out of balance.
ampguy -- No sure what to make of this one. My first impression was how flat it is. If nothing else I think that amping (pun intended) up the contrast would help a lot. I opened the jpg in PS and did mess with the brightness and contrast some so I could better see the picture elements. Though the jpg is low resolution after lightening I can see a mirror image "Picture Books" -- this adds a nice sense of depth. Anyway the compositional balance of the image is perfect, the blue dot mysterious, and the depth of the image can be improved with simple brightness and contrast adjustments. But that still leaves the question of what am I looking at and why is the blue dot there? Maybe this is what you were going for but it doesn't work for the me that is often way too literal to be a good art critic.
RayPA -- The esthetics of your photograph is more my speed. It is what it is and leaves few questions unanswered. I think in this case that both helps and hurts this particular image though. First from a technical standpoint, you should think about all of the (almost) blown highlights (i.e., on the truck, street, and sidewalk). The overall contrast of the image is rather high. (Again, I realize that this is a low res jpg and cannot be perfect.) The bellman's shadow is terrific and we get the sense of what he is looking at. This brings me back to my original comment though -- we know (or at least think we know) that he is checking out the woman up the street -- so there isn't much for the viewer to figure out -- and therefore the image is less interesting then it might otherwise have been. (I know I made a contradictory remark about ampguy's image but in general I think it better to leave a view wondering then not.) Compositionally I might have chosen a slightly different aspect ratio and cropped some from the top.
formal -- This is a very nice portrait. Sharp as a tack on the man's face and his jacket. This works very nicely. Frankly I find the interested observer in the background to be more of distraction then it might help the overall image. Blurring the background some more could benefit the image. And since I am one of those who thinks that cropping is often a photographer's best friend, I think the image could also be improved by a tighter crop -- one that not necessarily centers the subject but one that removes the door on the right side, some of the redundant top features, and all or part of the man in black. If the background was retained because you were making an environmental portrait (which required background for context) then in this case I gain little to no contextual information from the image as is. I give the portrait part of the image an A+ but as a whole I think there are some issues.
Last edited by AusDLK : 12-29-2006 at 14:05.