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Author Topic: Wintergarden  (Read 6859 times)
OnyimBob
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« on: February 21, 2006, 06:35:55 PM »
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Feel like I'm hogging a bit, but here goes ...

This photograph is one I really like, but I'm not sure why, and don't know what to do with it.
Again there's an unseen narative behind it. The place is immediately to the south of ground zero and had apparently only been reopened to the public a month or so earlier after being totally demolished on 9/11.
It seems to need cropping, but I'm loathe to get rid of the chap in the suit bottom left.
The lighting is what really grabs me, along with all the people going about their business, all the stories they must have.

[attachment=276:attachment]

Bob.
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jule
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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2006, 08:54:02 PM »
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Wy do you think it needs cropping Bob? Everywhere there is something interesting. I really like this image - the postures and clothing of the individuals is fascinating.
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OnyimBob
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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2006, 11:15:47 PM »
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Hi Jule, you don't think that the right side bottom is sort of empty? Hmmmm, on the other hand the diagonals formed by the palm trees do sort of balance the triangle there. Then there's the top right corner, sort of unbalanced. I don't know, maybe I'll let it stew for a while and see how I feel later.
Thanks for the feedback,
Bob.
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JRandallNichols
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« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2006, 11:21:33 PM »
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I agree with Jule.  The image is interesting to me purely in its own right.,  The geometric synergy of vertical lines and chessboard squares, on which people of an incredible variety are "played" is very much like a story.  The 9/11 background raises an interesting question: for the image itself, it is irrelevant, though for a broader understanding of what it might mean to you and others it is vital.  The image critiques that Craig Tanner so artfully does on  the Radiant Vista /URL]http://www.radiantvista.com/) recently mention the possiibility that knowing something of the contextual background of the shot might be important.  Still, In another x years, it will be the image alone that probably speaks.
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Randy
jule
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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2006, 11:50:01 PM »
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Hi Jule, you don't think that the right side bottom is sort of empty? Hmmmm, on the other hand the diagonals formed by the palm trees do sort of balance the triangle there. Then there's the top right corner, sort of unbalanced. I don't know, maybe I'll let it stew for a while and see how I feel later.
Thanks for the feedback,
Bob.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=58787\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I think the space in the bottom right corner actually enhances the image... for a few reasons.
It gives the eye and mind time to pause whilst reflecting on all the human activity. It balances the man in the black suit in the opposite corner and I think makes him stand out more. I don't even think is empty at all anyway...it is just devoid of human activity. The tiles and the geometry are wonderful. The structure of the geometry, like a chessboard like JRandallNichols suggests, works superbly with the people.

I think it also has the potential for a sort of social commentray on how we humans like to huddle together. No one is standing really exposed. Even the gentleman in the suit is nestled into the corner.

The top right corner has people walking up the stairs leading to where??? interest...and there seems to be an area near the round post which is another empty space where humans aren't comfortable being in.

I put a few bits of paper on the monitor to add a few people in the spaces, and it totally destroyed the image for me.
Bob, I think the spaces actually work in this image. Sort of like music...where it is the pauses between the notes which give the melody.

Julie
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jani
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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2006, 06:17:23 AM »
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It seems to need cropping, but I'm loathe to get rid of the chap in the suit bottom left.
In my opinion, that chap is actually ruining part of the photograph. The reasons are semi-technical:

1) There's something wrong with the geometry, he looks stretched as if in a funny mirror.
2) There's too much picture noise, so he looks artificially placed.

This detracts from the image just by distracting.

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The lighting is what really grabs me, along with all the people going about their business, all the stories they must have.
Yes, but you could probably increase the contrast a bit; the colours seem slightly washed out.

I've tried a tighter crop to increase the feeling of a busy square, while keeping the geometric elements in there. Since I thought the stairs on the right also detracted from the geometrically clean feel of the image, I cropped them out, too. I tried increasing the contrast a bit, but since I'm not currently at a calibrated monitor, I'm uncertain whether I pulled it too far or not.

Notice how there's another guy in a suit that suddenly stands out a bit more?

It's only a suggestion, though. You'll probably find a solution that works better for you.

[attachment=278:attachment]

BTW, try converting to black-and-white with the channel mixer and see if that pushes some buttons with you.
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Jan
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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2006, 04:09:07 PM »
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Bob: for me this is a stunning image. I like your crop and Jan's about equally.

If I understand correctly, your original concern was that the bottom right is "empty". Time to introduce you to the artistically chic concept of negative space. The basic idea is that relatively blank areas can be regarded as components of a design in their own right, even as a mat and frame serve to focus attention on the meatier portions of a composition.

I think the real question here is whether any portion of the picture demands to pinch itself off from the rest of the scene like a single-celled organism reproducing and go off on its own. If you feel every part of the scene clings together sufficiently - has elements of shape, line, texture, and/or colour that adhere to the rest of the composition - then you're laughing. If not, then join in the crop-mania that pervades this forum (yet surely there are more creative and resolution-friendly ways of dealing with a problem than slash and burn?  )

Of course whether other people actually agree with you or not is a whole 'nuther question. I think you are seeing that your viewing audience will always fragment into warring camps and there will always be partisans in every possible faction. What you want to do is declare your candidacy in the faction that most nearly agrees with you and pooh-pooh everyone else.
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2006, 04:21:32 PM »
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OnyimBob,

I very much like the image you've presented here.  The only comment I have is that I think the man in the lower left corner is essential to the composition.  He both leads me into, and anchors, the scene.

Yes, there are alternate framings, but I enjoy the image as it stands.

Paul
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Dale_Cotton
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« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2006, 05:13:30 PM »
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Another little point.

I count 51 people in this picture and only 2 of them are clearly using a cellphone at the instant of capture. This alone dates the picture by at least 5 years...
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2006, 05:33:02 PM »
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Another little point.

I count 51 people in this picture and only 2 of them are clearly using a cellphone at the instant of capture. This alone dates the picture by at least 5 years...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=58864\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Well, according to the OP, the area photographed is recently reopened space near the 9/11 ground zero, so the image is far younger than 5 years.  

Strange but true, not everyone is surgically attached to a cellphone  

Paul
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Dale_Cotton
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« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2006, 08:21:06 PM »
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recently reopened space near the 9/11 ground zero
Thanks for clarifying, Paul; I misread the OP and thought Bob was saying the pic had been taken just before the tragedy. Still: I'm sure if I did a spot check in the local mall the ratio of cellphone use to non- would be closer to the opposite of Wintergarden's, so perhaps it's a Canadian thing.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2006, 08:21:50 PM by Dale Cotton » Logged
OnyimBob
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« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2006, 12:30:43 AM »
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13th of August 2005 at 2:41 pm local time.
Thanks everyone - very encouraging!
Bob.
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jule
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« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2006, 02:12:21 AM »
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Although I think Jan's crop is a good one and brings one closer to the people, I still prefer your original Bob. I do however like the way Jan cleaned up the colours and contrast. In light of Alain Broit's latest offerings on print size, I think that this would be a perfect contender for a really large print.
Julie
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OnyimBob
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« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2006, 05:58:11 AM »
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Jan, I'm almost like Dale - I think I almost like your crop as much as mine (which I have to confess was already cropped by about 1% on each side, had forgotten I'd done  this until I revisited the NEF file!). However I don't like the extra contrast. It takes away the quality of the sunlight streaming down through the glass roof which had a smoke filtered quality to it. Personal choice I guess. Though you wouldn't know that if you weren't there would you? There's another interesting thought. Just how much information can even the most accurate reproduction (digital or film) convey about the reality of what it purports to display? What about mood or context? In one sense it doesn't matter because the photograph stands by itself as something to be observed and to provoke a reaction.
This is a great forum - I'm encouraged and provoked each time I log in.
Bob.
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Dale_Cotton
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« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2006, 08:10:35 AM »
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There's another interesting thought. Just how much information can even the most accurate reproduction (digital or film) convey about the reality of what it purports to display? What about mood or context? In one sense it doesn't matter because the photograph stands by itself as something to be observed and to provoke a reaction.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=58906\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Bob: you're on a roll: but seldom does something good happen without something bad in compensation: you've gone and bumped into the Dale Didactic on-switch and your punishment follows. ;)

One of the commonest experiences in photography is to take a picture of an emotionally charged scene then to look at the resulting print with disappointment. Every detail and colour may have been "accurately" captured but little or nothing of the original emotional charge is invoked. Just one example: a calendar shot of the Grand Canyon may capture the gaudier foreground colours and the blue atmospheric haze of the horizon; but we have to lend it a large dollop of imagination or memory to re-create the three dimensionality and sheer scale of the place. Simplistically, we could go to great expense to make a billboard-sized print; substituting what is huge in print terms for what is huge in geographic terms.

Still photographers have no choice but to throw away scale, three dimensionality, motion, sound, temperature, and often a great deal of dynamic range when going from eye witness to print maker. If the photographer then imposes a narrow literalness and adopts a strictly scribe-like role, clearly the baby is all too often going to be thrown out with the bath water. If it means anything to do art photography, surely it means to use the tools at hand to re-invoke the emotional impact that the necessary limitations of still photography have stripped away from the original scene.

One of the few such tools in good standing with photographers is Velvia, or more generally the contrast and saturation sliders. Turning up the gain on colour and contrast is perhaps the photographic analogue to turning up the volume on a sound system or inking in a crescendo at the climax of a symphony. Tightening a picture's composition - either during capture or later with cropping - is another such tool.

These things are habitual for me and if I had taken your Wintergarden frame I would have had to fight these habits in order to retain the loose, atmospheric quality you achieved. If anyone happens to know Debussy, the low-key subtleties of Afternoon of a Faun are no less moving than the Dionysian surge of Isle of Joy. Jan's version and your own remind me that more than one arrow may hit the same mark.
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AWeil
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« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2006, 05:31:19 PM »
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Great image , Bob. How about straightening the palm trees a bit? Note how the guy in the dark suit becomes a major player in the narrative when the image is straightened out and cropped because of it. It's a quick job right now, the trees would take a little more work than that - but I think it is already noticeable to show what I mean.
Angela
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jani
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« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2006, 03:25:43 AM »
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Great image , Bob. How about straightening the palm trees a bit? Note how the guy in the dark suit becomes a major player in the narrative when the image is straightened out and cropped because of it. It's a quick job right now, the trees would take a little more work than that - but I think it is already noticeable to show what I mean.
Yes, but he still looks like a distorted cardboard figure.  

I guess my reactions towards the guy would be more favourable if he seemed to have more than two dimensions and looked a bit more human.

Another tip:

Try evening out the noise in the dark suits.
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Jan
Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2006, 06:48:09 PM »
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Yes, but he still looks like a distorted cardboard figure. 

I guess my reactions towards the guy would be more favourable if he seemed to have more than two dimensions and looked a bit more human.

Another tip:

Try evening out the noise in the dark suits.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=58972\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I agree that the guy in the corner is problematic and distracts from an otherwise fine image. My fix would be the following:
1.   Straighten the trees,
2.   Crop just as needed to get back to a rectangle, and then
3.   Clone out the guy in the corner, using sections from the other vacant parts (this will surely get me drummed out of the Honest Photographers' Club.     )

I see the man as analogous to the bottle and bag that Michael recently cloned out. Without him, both lower corners are somewhat empty, but (to my mind) in a way that lets the image breathe.

Eric
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-Eric Myrvaagnes

http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my website. New images each season.
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