Monday, August 10, 2009

Online photo class assignment #2 Halves - Critique

CRITIQUE: Linda Jeffers

I hope I included the right number of "E's" in the title!
This is a cute photo of you, Linda, and it was a good
idea for this assignment. And just as an aside — isn't it
weird when we examine a photograph of ourselves? If
we stare long enough it's almost as though the
photograph is of a stranger and you begin wondering
about this other person . . . Nah, probably just me . . .
Anyway, I like this photo. I also like how you post processed
it. The black and white treatment is
appropriate and it's flattering. You've also softened the
image, which again is appropriate. And it looks as
though you may have overexposed the shot somewhat,
which is ALSO appropriate. The little I know about
people photography, I know that the black and white
treatment removes some of the distractions that color
can create. And the softening aspect draws our attention
to the eyes, which are the most important part of a
portrait. And slightly overexposing a black and white photograph often removes a lot of the
deeper lines in our faces.
Please note: I am not saying that you are an overly tan wrinkled old hag and my, what a good
job you did disguising it! No, no! I'm saying that we digital photographers have the skill and
tools to become self-portraitists, and we can do exactly what a professional portrait
photographer might do. We can soften lines or we can emphasize lines. We can max out on
color or we can be more subtle. We can selectively soften an image, making the eyes leap out in
sharp focus.
Your lighting is such that the background really blends, providing just enough shadowing and
texture to be interesting, yet being soft enough so that your face really stands out against it,
especially the strands of your hair and the peach fuzz on your cheeks. (It's said that Marilyn
Monroe had this same soft fuzz in her face, which gave her a naturally luminous glow.)
Your glasses blend in well, don't they? We know they're there, but they don't interfere with our
connecting with
you via your eye.
Good shot,
Linda. You look

Beautiful. What makes this shot (to me) is (1) the bit of
yellow in the reflection and the sharpness of the base.
You filled your frame with 2/3 glass and 1/3 background,
which works great and ties in with the overall Rule of
Thirds in composition.
Your background is completely out of focus but has
strong bits of color in it, making your glass stand out well
against it, but without overpowering the image. Your
glass is darker than the background, which makes it stand
out even more.
My eye goes first to the lower left, focusing on the
yellow. Then it sees the yellow in the reflection, and so
my eye works upward. It then begins looking for
something in focus, and it finds the base of the glass/
This is important:
Did you notice that my eye concentrated just on the
bottom of your photograph? The yellow, up to the yellow,
then down to the base? Maybe THAT'S where your
picture is. Maybe if you turned this photo into a square, it
would be jam-packed with good stuff, without any
extraneous empty dark stuff on top. Let's take a look. (Carol Leigh posted a square version here on my critique cutting off the upper third of the vase.)
Hmmmm . . . I think I like this version a lot better. I think
we see all of the interesting things at once — yellow/
yellow/base. What do you think? Less is more?

I’m sorry, I just
had to do this.
Here’s how
you’d look as
Yoko Ono! Ha!
This looks
you! (I couldn’t copy the photo Carol that appeared here to explain this last comment. In the critique she posted a full face photo she’d created of me, by somehow flipping or reversing my face to seamlessly post a full faced photo.)

Very interesting. I'm glad you added descriptive info
— TV and poster edges — that helps me out a lot.
I'm not sure about this photograph, but I'm finding it
intriguing. Let me just sort of ramble on and maybe
something will come of it.
First of all, my initial impression was Obama/
Kennedy. I shan't go into politics, but my thinking
was, "Oh, give me a break!" The important thing
about this little thought bubble is "teeth." My eye
went first and foremost to the teeth and to the guy on
the left rather than the guy on the right, who is much
darker. So to me, you're emphasizing the person on
the left. But what's tying the two together is the bright
white of Obama's shirt. So I go from teeth to shirt and
then up to Obama's eye. All I'm trying to do right now is point out the movement in your photo
and how our eye goes from point to point and why.
I truly like what you did here. It's fresh and different. And the poster edges filter in Photoshop?
I think it worked great! You took what was (I'm assuming) a relatively grainy photograph of a
television image. So your photo is not only of halves, but of grain. How can you enhance the
concept of grain? Poster edges does it beautifully. Ink outline sometimes is a good filter for this
sort of thing, too. And the black and white treatment? Again, it works for a TV image — a sort
of retro TV feeling.
Photoshop filters can look gimmicky and obvious, but they can also enhance a concept that's
already in place. When we use filters for a reason, not just because we can, we add our own
artistic touch and vision to an image. As you did here.
I think you did a great job with this picture. It made me stop, look, and think. Congratulations.
Carol Leigh
August 10, 2009

It's me back.........I'm so sad Carol is no longer going to offer these online classes. Here is a link to her blog where I'm sure other learning possibilites will be offered under her web pages section.


Anonymous said...

I love the picture of you! It's so cute. You should print and frame.

Thank you for your inspiration.


gottago said...

Thanks Karen. Soon, I'll have a Front Page that will tie all my different websites together. The link isn't ready yet, but it will be On this new Front Page, I'm using this half photo of me you like.

Love, Linda

Katya said...

I love your teacher! I love her critiques - she is so helpful. I also really like you in your picture. I see a bit of a smile, but not a big one, really cute.

Cindy Faith Swain said...

great picture of you, you !