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Author Topic: She likes it. You might hate it.  (Read 13288 times)
michswiss
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« on: July 19, 2012, 11:17:34 AM »
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Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2012, 11:52:34 AM »
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Hi Jennifer - not sure why anyone might hate the picture.  However it's not a pretty picture, and so I guess it is trying to communicate a message.  To me it is saying young woman not having an easy life, possibly single-parent, maybe alcohol or drug dependant, generally down on her luck.  Why does the subject like the picture?

Jim
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ckimmerle
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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2012, 11:54:50 AM »
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However it's not a pretty picture....

In this day and age, that is about the highest praise a photographer can ask for. Really.

As for the image, I like it. However, it's hard to decipher and, without some sort of context, my mind creates all sorts of likely and unlikely scenarios. Perhaps that is the point?
« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 11:57:12 AM by ckimmerle » Logged

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Chuck Kimmerle
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2012, 11:57:32 AM »
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I like it.

The scene looks like a down on her luck single mom, but she's dressed and the baby is kitted out, as if there's enough income in sight to get by at any rate. The cues we're given are conflicted. What's going on here? We get to fill in the story, don't we? That's "street" or an aspect of it, right there. Except this looks posed -- I cannot think what on EARTH she is doing sitting there, except setting up to get her picture taken.

So, it fails a "street", because the only interpretation that makes sense isn't very interesting!

The kid's pretty cute, and mom's got a bit of something going on too, for all she looks a bit rumpled here.
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« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2012, 12:06:10 PM »
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Now you're talking, Jennifer. Bravo! Fine street photography, partly because, as Chuck and Andrew both point out, your mind creates all sorts of scenarios when you look at it. I think the thing that jabs me hardest is the dirty snow along the wall. From the way she and the baby are dressed I'd guess she can't be destitute, but . . .? It's a very moving picture.
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popnfresh
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« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2012, 12:16:21 PM »
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I don't see "destitution" in this picture at all. In fact, I can't surmise much of anything beyond the probability that's she's a single mom, due to the lack of a wedding ring. But why this relatively well dressed woman should be sitting with this seemingly well-fed and warmly-dressed baby in an alley is totally unclear. It could be merely for an urgent diaper change. The new-looking backpack sitting next to her is open and could well contain baby changing supplies.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 12:21:27 PM by popnfresh » Logged
RSL
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« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2012, 12:22:38 PM »
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That's my best guess too, Pop, but it's a hell of a place to change a diaper.
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Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2012, 12:32:07 PM »
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I don't see "destitution" in this picture at all. In fact, I can't surmise much of anything beyond the probability that's she's a single mom, due to the lack of a wedding ring. But why this relatively well dressed woman should be sitting with this seemingly well-fed and warmly-dressed baby in an alley is totally unclear. It could be merely for an urgent diaper change. The new-looking backpack sitting next to her is open and could well contain baby changing supplies.

But that is where without any other context the viewer is going to go - destitution.  Of course she could be a middle-class girl looking after her niece and just posing for the photographer.  But I don't know any mum's who would normally sit on the ground in a back alley without a good reason.  Certainly in Europe even quite a deprived mother would still be reasonably well dressed and fed, and the child would almost certainly be so.

Jim
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Rob C
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« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2012, 12:37:36 PM »
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"That's my best guess too, Pop, but it's a hell of a place to change a diaper."



Much more considerate than in a restaurant or an airport lounge.

I suspect that the 'she' in 'she likes it' means Jennifer and not her friend...?

Yes, she's right: I don't like it; I dislike all aspects of unhappiness and tough times, and neither am I great for looking at folks in uncomfortable positions or circumstances. Frankly, there's enough negativity of my own life to be more than I need; why would I relish an additional helping? That's not for me to attempt to deny Jennifer the right to shoot anything she pleases, of course, it's just my current reaction to this type of image. Was a time I admired all that stuff, but I grew out of it and eventually saw it for something very else to what it's usually admired for being thought to be.

Rob C
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popnfresh
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« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2012, 12:49:03 PM »
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But that is where without any other context the viewer is going to go - destitution.  Of course she could be a middle-class girl looking after her niece and just posing for the photographer.  But I don't know any mum's who would normally sit on the ground in a back alley without a good reason.  Certainly in Europe even quite a deprived mother would still be reasonably well dressed and fed, and the child would almost certainly be so.

Jim

Maybe a European viewer would see destitution, but here in the USA it's a bit different. I see lots of destitute people every day and none look as neatly dressed as this woman. Even her shoes look new. But we won't know for sure until Jennifer weighs in with the real story.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 12:50:41 PM by popnfresh » Logged
Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2012, 01:03:06 PM »
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But I suppose the point I am making irrespective of whatever Jennifer says, is that the message of the picture as shown is surely despair and unhappiness.  That to me is the message because of the way the picture is photographed and the setting chosen.  But as I also said - it could be something else - in which case the message has failed.  For me the picture would be better if there was a connection with the photographer - I want to read the eyes.
I would like to know why the girl likes the picture though, and if she wanted to be portrayed in this setting rather than in the park, and why Jennifer thinks others may hate it.

Jim
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popnfresh
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« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2012, 01:15:08 PM »
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But I suppose the point I am making irrespective of whatever Jennifer says, is that the message of the picture as shown is surely despair and unhappiness.  That to me is the message because of the way the picture is photographed and the setting chosen.  But as I also said - it could be something else - in which case the message has failed.  For me the picture would be better if there was a connection with the photographer - I want to read the eyes.
I would like to know why the girl likes the picture though, and if she wanted to be portrayed in this setting rather than in the park, and why Jennifer thinks others may hate it.

Jim

I don't see unhappiness or despair either. The only thing that might suggest those things is where's she's sitting, but nothing else does, at least to me. Even the expression on her face doesn't look particularly despairing.
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RSL
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« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2012, 02:26:22 PM »
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Much more considerate than in a restaurant or an airport lounge.

But not considerate for the kid's frozen butt.
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Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2012, 03:21:13 PM »
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I don't see unhappiness or despair either. The only thing that might suggest those things is where's she's sitting, but nothing else does, at least to me. Even the expression on her face doesn't look particularly despairing.

But then what is the picture trying to say. I cannot believe Jennifer just took it as a random shot meaning nothing.  If that was the case it must be one of the most pointless pictures ever and I don't think that's the case.  I am only saying what the picture means to me - others can have a different interpretation.

Jim
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popnfresh
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« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2012, 03:33:46 PM »
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But then what is the picture trying to say. I cannot believe Jennifer just took it as a random shot meaning nothing.  If that was the case it must be one of the most pointless pictures ever and I don't think that's the case.  I am only saying what the picture means to me - others can have a different interpretation.

Jim

Well, if she was trying to say something, it's lost on me. I'm not sure that social commentary was the goal here. I also don't think that a photograph necessarily needs to "say" anything for it to be effective.
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Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2012, 02:21:43 AM »
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Well, if she was trying to say something, it's lost on me. I'm not sure that social commentary was the goal here. I also don't think that a photograph necessarily needs to "say" anything for it to be effective.

We might just have to disagree on that one.  But there's no harm in that.  Personally I think all photographs need to say something.  In the case of a beautiful landscape picture it may just be saying "lovely, restful, tranquil scene - don't you wish you were here?"  Michwiss has chosen to show a girl with a baby sat in an unattractive way, in an unattractive setting, in rubbish light.  The photographer is not a bad photographer - so there must be some reason for the picture, it's just being left up to us to interpret it.

Jim
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JMPhoto
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« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2012, 02:36:30 AM »
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I think this photo has room to improve technically

composition and lighting mainly, a wider view would be helpful in illustrating a story along with more context clues
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Rob C
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« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2012, 02:48:06 AM »
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But not considerate for the kid's frozen butt.

Russ, babies can even bounce! What's a bit of chill on the fat?

Rob C
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stamper
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« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2012, 03:18:58 AM »
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I take it the image isn't posed? If not and it's for real then I wonder how the women feels about someone sticking a camera in her face in what looks like a moment of despair. The image makes me feel uneasy and it looks like to me like an unwanted intrusion into her life. The question is what happened afterwards Did the photographer walk away or stop to offer assistance?  Undecided
« Last Edit: July 20, 2012, 09:10:27 AM by stamper » Logged

michswiss
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« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2012, 05:46:21 AM »
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Interesting feedback and analysis.  Thanks everyone.  I don't normally share backstory, but I'll ease your minds a little.  This is a friend, also a professional photographer.  She'd stopped to adjust a few things.  I was struck by the spot, pull a camera out and shot 4 or 5 frames.  She liked this one in particular. I realise it's potentially a disturbing image, thus the "you might hate it" portion of the thread title.
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