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Author Topic: Jesus fate  (Read 3312 times)
Andres Bonilla
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« on: January 18, 2008, 11:49:55 AM »
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Jesus Mendes came to Mexico from Guatemala with the intention of crossing the border to USA. When the coyote explained the plan he panicked, the trek involved crossing the Rio Nuevo between Mexicali and Calexico. "I am not a strong swimmer" he told me, besides he was aware of the level of pollution of the New River; he knew it was loaded with chemicals from the local factories plus all the sewage from both cities. He escaped the human traffickers and decided to cross on his own. He hoped on a freight train but lost his balance, when he woke up he learned the wheels had mangled his right leg. Now he stays at the "Mana" house where is taken care of by volunteers. He awaits for an answer from the Guatemalan consulate. I am in limbo he said, I just want to go back home.

I would appreciate any input.
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alainbriot
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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2008, 02:19:53 PM »
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The photograph is powerful in its own right, with the expression of the face being very poignant, but without your explanations I would not have known his leg was damaged or lost.  if this is something you want to say with your image, then it needs to be said visually. If the goal is to show a portrait in nice light, with a facial expression that invites a longer visual investigation of the image by the viewer, and a demonstration of gritty conditions, then you have done the job.
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Alain Briot
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Andres Bonilla
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« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2008, 08:25:47 PM »
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Thanks Alan for your comment! Yes, this was a struggle because I did not wanted to make it so obvious with his leg, I wanted the viewer to wander on the photo a bit and discover the tragedy but someone urged me to tell his story; they thought that it would complement the photo. I have been told in this forum before to hold on on the explanation and let the photo tell the story by itself. I' ll try that again.

Thanks,

Andres
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alainbriot
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« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2008, 10:13:51 PM »
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Andres,

I understand.  It's always a dilemna having to decide how much human suffering to show in a photograph like yours.  However, this is a visual medium and if the source of this suffering isn't visually present then it's just not there at all.  

I would suggest focusing on how you show the amputation or the leg damage, and not on whether you show it or not.  To me that's what good photography is all about: the light, the composition, the choice of how much or how little you show, and the manner in which it is shown.  You don't have to visually shout "no leg."  You can say it in a more subtle manner that suits your style better.  But you do have to say it in one way or another.

ALain
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Alain Briot
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alainbriot
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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2008, 10:16:24 PM »
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Andres,

I understand.  It's always a dilemna having to decide how much human suffering to show in a photograph like yours.  However, this is a visual medium and if the source of this suffering isn't visually present then it's just not there at all.  

I would suggest focusing on how you show the amputation or the leg damage, and not on whether you show it or not.  To me that's what good photography is all about: the light, the composition, the choice of how much or how little you show, and the manner in which it is shown.  You don't have to visually shout "no leg."  You can say it in a more subtle manner that suits your style better.  But you do have to say it in one way or another.

In this case just pulling the left (on the photo) pants leg up a little would have done the job.  Or showing the foot / shoe of the right leg.  It doesn't need much, just a little bit more than you have right now.

ALain
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Alain Briot
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Chris_T
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« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2008, 09:54:49 AM »
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Jesus Mendes came to Mexico from Guatemala with the intention of crossing the border to USA. When the coyote explained the plan he panicked, the trek involved crossing the Rio Nuevo between Mexicali and Calexico. "I am not a strong swimmer" he told me, besides he was aware of the level of pollution of the New River; he knew it was loaded with chemicals from the local factories plus all the sewage from both cities. He escaped the human traffickers and decided to cross on his own. He hoped on a freight train but lost his balance, when he woke up he learned the wheels had mangled his right leg. Now he stays at the "Mana" house where is taken care of by volunteers. He awaits for an answer from the Guatemalan consulate. I am in limbo he said, I just want to go back home.

I would appreciate any input.
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A very strong image captured under challenging lighting. I like it a lot.

Without your text, a careful viewer may still conclude that the right leg is missing, for the following reasons.

- There are only a few well lit spots which draw a viewer's attention. The left leg is one of them, and may raise the question why the pants' right hem ends without a leg.

- The left hand is also well lit, leading the eye again to the right hem.

- The top left shiny metal may suggest a crutch.

If the intent is to emphasize the missing right leg, the image can do the following:

- Wait until the face is turned to the left, and the eyes down cast to the right hem.

- And/or include more of the crutch, if indeed there is one.

As a viewer, I much prefer that the photog tells me nothing about an image, at least at the first viewing. I can then view it with an open mind, and pay close attention to unearth what are in it and what it is trying to say.

I have found that different photographers handle this differently. Some go to great length about the locations and gears, but have nothing to say about the intent of their work. Some, mostly documentary type, write essays to complement their photos. (I think in the past I suggested that your work is well suited to this approach.) Some only answer when asked. (I belong to this group, most of the time.) Some say not a word, even when asked.
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Andres Bonilla
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« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2008, 04:30:18 PM »
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Andres,

I understand.  It's always a dilemna having to decide how much human suffering to show in a photograph like yours.  However, this is a visual medium and if the source of this suffering isn't visually present then it's just not there at all. 

I would suggest focusing on how you show the amputation or the leg damage, and not on whether you show it or not.  To me that's what good photography is all about: the light, the composition, the choice of how much or how little you show, and the manner in which it is shown.  You don't have to visually shout "no leg."  You can say it in a more subtle manner that suits your style better.  But you do have to say it in one way or another.

In this case just pulling the left (on the photo) pants leg up a little would have done the job.  Or showing the foot / shoe of the right leg.  It doesn't need much, just a little bit more than you have right now.

ALain
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Good points Alan, I took several shots as he pondered and spoke with a fellow immigrant, I liked the expression on this one. I have a wider angle shot that shows his left leg but I need to see it again and see how much of his face is readable.
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Andres Bonilla
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« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2008, 04:33:51 PM »
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A very strong image captured under challenging lighting. I like it a lot.

Without your text, a careful viewer may still conclude that the right leg is missing, for the following reasons.

- There are only a few well lit spots which draw a viewer's attention. The left leg is one of them, and may raise the question why the pants' right hem ends without a leg.

- The left hand is also well lit, leading the eye again to the right hem.

- The top left shiny metal may suggest a crutch.

If the intent is to emphasize the missing right leg, the image can do the following:

- Wait until the face is turned to the left, and the eyes down cast to the right hem.

- And/or include more of the crutch, if indeed there is one.

As a viewer, I much prefer that the photog tells me nothing about an image, at least at the first viewing. I can then view it with an open mind, and pay close attention to unearth what are in it and what it is trying to say.

I have found that different photographers handle this differently. Some go to great length about the locations and gears, but have nothing to say about the intent of their work. Some, mostly documentary type, write essays to complement their photos. (I think in the past I suggested that your work is well suited to this approach.) Some only answer when asked. (I belong to this group, most of the time.) Some say not a word, even when asked.
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Thanks Chris! Your comment describes very well what I was attempting to do  there is a crutch and perhaps aI should have framed this photo a little wider to include more of it. Perhaps some of the elements were to subtle.

Thanks again!
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jule
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« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2008, 07:50:54 PM »
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I don't think the crutch needs to be added at all by widening the frame.

The top of the metal of the crutch assists with the downward angular feel of the image which to me, leads the eye downward to the shorts where there is no leg. The hand with it's desperate, anxious gesture also leads the eye to the absent limb. I think in this instance, subtlety is the key to the image.

I love the lighting and the mood of the image, and the way his amputation doesn't hit you in the face like a sledgehammer. That's what makes it so interesting.

I am however a bit bothered by the smoothness of his left leg. The skin seems to be over-smoothed. It just seems to lack that masculine grittiness of a male leg, and a lack of texture in it which for me, I think is necessary.... but only in my opinion.
Thanks Andres.

Julie
« Last Edit: January 21, 2008, 07:53:59 PM by jule » Logged

Andres Bonilla
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« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2008, 11:08:29 AM »
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I don't think the crutch needs to be added at all by widening the frame.

The top of the metal of the crutch assists with the downward angular feel of the image which to me, leads the eye downward to the shorts where there is no leg. The hand with it's desperate, anxious gesture also leads the eye to the absent limb. I think in this instance, subtlety is the key to the image.

I love the lighting and the mood of the image, and the way his amputation doesn't hit you in the face like a sledgehammer. That's what makes it so interesting.

I am however a bit bothered by the smoothness of his left leg. The skin seems to be over-smoothed. It just seems to lack that masculine grittiness of a male leg, and a lack of texture in it which for me, I think is necessary.... but only in my opinion.
Thanks Andres.

Julie
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Thanks Jules very good commnet   I did not do anything with his visible leg, I wonder if the lighting contributef to that. He has a scar that is visible on his left leg so I did not retouch that part of the photo.

Thanks again,

Andres
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