Monday, February 4, 2008

My Kitchen Art Critique is up!

CRITIQUE: Linda Jeffers (Kitchen Art)

You indicated that you "tried to do what
(you'd) seen a chef do for table
decoration" and I like your set-up. Once
again (are we seeing a theme here?)
you've got things radiating outward (like
your previous purple/yellow pencils) and
it's an effective compositional technique.
Your composition's good, your colors are
good, the subject matter's terrific. What's
bothering you about the shot? There's
something bothering me, too, but I don't
know what it is.
Hmmmm . . . what if (and I wouldn't know unless I actually saw it) there were no white bow-tie
pasta in the mix? Is the white somehow diluting the rich colors of the green, red(dish), and
warm yellow colors? Do the white guys stand out so much that they're distracting our eye from
the overall warm tones? Could be.
And what if the background hadn't been red? We can see bits of it here and there through the
spaghetti. What would have been a good color? Nothing. I believe you needed to completely fill
your background with pasta, pack it in so that we don't see the background at all.
Your photo is all about rich-yet-subtle color and repeating patterns. White isn't a color. Red
background interrupts the pattern. I think that's it! Your lighting and composition are all good.
(Except for the one bow-tie up at the very tip-top that's trying to escape.) You did well with this
one. Kudos to you.

Another in your series of "focal point with things
radiating outward" and it's another good one! What
you've done with your composition is you've
forced us to look at something quite ordinary (the
burner on a stove) in an artistic way. You've
broken the scene down into color and line -- and
both are bold.
Your blue/red combo is your photo's
focal point. It's the more colorful, most
in-focus element in the frame, so our eye
goes there first. From there, the three
(three!) metal lines of the burner lead
our eye over toward the upper left. We
then slide back toward the flame. Very
Since your photo is about simplicity,
color, movement, what about the dark
area in the lower left corner and the
curved element in the lower right
corner? Would your photo have even
more impact if they were gone?
I brought your picture into Photoshop
Elements and cropped your picture and
then messily cloned away the darkness to give us an idea.
(Upper photo is my submitted photo. Lower burner photo is the teacher's edited example.) Better or not? Yes, I think so. Our
eyes now go back and forth, back and forth, without feeling we have to look down into the
lower corners to see what you’ve got there. There’s more of a smooth flow. Minor tweakage,
but I think it makes a big difference. Very good photograph overall, Linda.

You gave up on this, but your concept
was excellent, your colors great, your
lighting just right. I like how the purple/
orange combo is reflected here and there
in the glass pattern. I like how your eggs
look glossy and orange and how your
lighting enhances the glossy feel, but
doesn't fill the frame with annoying white
spots. I like how your focus is all on the
right stuff. And I like the surprise of little
bits of light teal colors show up here and
So what's the problem? I'm thinking that you have too many eggs. How many would have been
better? Three! And if they'd been huddled together more, those three eggs, maybe more toward
the left of the bowl, that would have been very effective. Why? Because here we've got no
really tight composition of egg yolks. Your composition in general is tight, but the yolks are
sort of spread out and not in any particular design. Limit the eggs to three, cluster them together
on the left, and you've got it aced. Why three? It's just that magical compositional number --
and three eggs ALWAYS make a pattern -- a triangle -- which solves your problem right there.
Of course, I might be wrong . . .
You should be so proud of yourself. This assignment was a difficult one. (Almost as tough as
the "ice" assignment I give in the macro class.) But you handled it well. I feel sorry for your
husband, however, being "forced" to take this photo class along with you!
Thanks for posting these.
Carol Leigh


Here is some of yesterday's online correspondence with a classmate to help explain the reference to my husband in the last sentence of Carol's critique: The student wrote:
My Kitchen Art photos are ready for critique. I want you to know I really enjoyed this assignment and took what seems like zillions of pictures--learning all the time! Choosing what to submit became a monumental task in and of itself. I finally found myself asking two questions to help me select: First, is this just a photo or is there "art"
to it? Second, what
technical achievements do I feel I have achieved and want your feedback on?

And now for a complaint...-this project became such an all-consuming, task that it often determined which dishes we were allowed to eat from on some days! My husband accused my right brain of taking over the kitchen! He also accused me delaying dinner on several occasions to take pictures of a meatloaf just out of the oven, loaves of bread fresh from the oven and other "inconveniences" incurred by my right brain!

Then I wrote back:

Ditto to Betty’s post.

After interrupting and calling my husband over to give me feedback on which of the zillions of kitchen art photos I’d taken he liked best, he finally said, “I didn’t know I was going to be taking the photography class too!”

Linda Jeffers

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are having an amazing time taking this class. Your photographs are beautiful and thank you for sharing the critiques with us. Keep up the beautiful work!