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Continuing on from yesterday’s post…
the second photo (http://www.nicolemorgenthau.com/faces4.html) was described as a failure. Now, I would like to start off by saying that this photo in no way represents my taste. I might make it if paid, but it wouldn’t be in my portfolio. Well, maybe one that I keep in the office to show certain people, but certainly nothing this public.
Here’s the deal: it’s a non-stop cliche. Things that jump out at me:
- “Hip” angle;
- Couple kissing;
- Drinks in hands;
- Young couple;
Furthermore, I personally believe that they’re all done poorly: the kiss is two faces, awkwardly smooshed up against each other. The drinks are tacky, plastic 40-oz bottles of brand-name low-flavor beer (disclaimer: I’m a beer snob and have been known to brew my own). The angle denotes nothing to me – normally it’s good for showing action. In this case, it seems to show the overly aggressive desires of a young man (like I’d be any different). The couple: they’re young, but not the “pretty” type of young. Not the type of young adults that other adults want to look like (not rail-thin, not supermodel-hot). That’s a good picture for them, not for a portfolio.
Sepia tones, of course, are overplayed. They work for some situations, often for showing memory. Again, the people buying the pics may like it, but it’s not portfolio territory.
OK, so I’ve thoroughly trashed this photo. Is it the “failure” that it was described to be?
No, I don’t think so.
It still has a visual appeal to some people, and anyone who’s had excess fun on Spring Break will have a different perspective. By all appearances it fits the couple and tells us something about them.
That’s not failure. But I still say it’s not a good choice for a portfolio.
So after my initial reaction (see yesterday’s post), I started to think: what was it that made these photos so horrible? Since I don’t want to violate copyright, I will post links, their description from the “John” guy, and a description of each photo.
Today’s link: http://www.nicolemorgenthau.com/faces14.html
Description: An older lady in a loose, pleated (almost wrinkled) light-yellow dress. She sits on a chair, her arms resting on the arms of the chair, straight at us with her hands hanging down. She is square to the viewer and facing us in the frame. The background is a reddish-orange, and the light from the background is reflecting throughout, giving a slight orange tint to her face and dress. Her lips are a fairly bright red, and she is wearing sunglasses.
Overall, it’s a warm image of a happy person. At least, that’s the impression that it makes on me. I suppose if I were Jörg Colberg, I might trash the work and agree with the others. Of course, if I were Mr. Colberg, I’d cite good reasons to support my position (if I were really him, I doubt I’d waste my time with this).
So, my first glance impression: a little too warm for my tastes, but not too bad. It has a couple of important elements: the person is relaxed, happy (seemingly genuinely so), and seems to be full of confidence.
Further review gives me the following pros and cons:
It’s a warm photo, and endearing. If this was taken for me (as the purchaser), I’d doubtlessly have a strong emotional attachment to it. There are good colors and textures going on – too many for some, but I think they help draw the eye to the least textured part – the lady’s face and her smile.
There is a lot of color bleed going on here. The oranges are overpowering, especially as they get reflected into the frame. The sunglasses – perhaps appropriate for this client, but in a portfolio? The general rule of thumb is to show a person’s eyes. You connect to the person through the eyes, and the shades spoil that. Hand position: hardly flattering, and considered a huge negative – this shows the wrinkles, which in turn show her age (not that there’s anything wrong with that, exactly). By leaning her back, you lose her figure in the dress, which in turn creates a less-than-optimal pose for showing her face and neck. Her neck, as a result, has more wrinkles and shadows than might otherwise be. The dress: by hiding form, she is turned into a blob. And the yellow of her dress is too dull for such a vivid background.
Boy, that sounds like a lot, no? Well, no – I’m being extra-critical here. I’m trying to figure out what makes this a disaster.
So is this the “disaster” that it was described as being? I don’t think so. Not my taste, for sure. But that horrible? Again, I don’t think so. At best, it’s exactly what the client wanted. At worse, it’s merely tough to look at and overly bright in a way that I find grating (to the eyes)
I wonder what Jay Maisel would say.
My favorite holiday of the year is Oktoberfest. Mostly because I can eat & drink for nearly a month and I won’t be accused of being a pig. This is legitimate reason enough, I feel.
However, I only really do one event: Oktoberfest at Humpy’s. For two Sundays, the Alaska Blaskapelles toot their horns while you wend your way through a 5-course meal. With each course paired with a beer, and interspersed with hollering, hooting, and a symphony of other loud revelry.
This year’s event marks our 5th in a row, I believe. Click to continue »