Like the Naked Leads the Blind

Discussion in 'The Professional Gallery' started by JEazy, May 30, 2006.

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  1. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    Mark, could you send me to one of your horizontal headshots please. I am dead curious now.

    And i will agree to this about the shot with the angle of his head the the crop that is there square is about the best you can do.

    I can remember several cases where horizontal is the only way to go. I am thinking of a very famous profile headshot of a man with a cigar. The cigar was the reason for the horizontal crop. In the classic or old school (I guess now) It was verticle subject, verticle crop. However a man with a cigar is not a verticle subject any more.

    I took a look at some skateboard contest winner pictures because someone said a center skater is a no no... Well it is, if there is a reason for him not to be. However if the shot has no over riding reason then the shots are verticle and as close to centered as is possible and not lose the reason for the shot. In other words it looked to me like the shots were just the same composition as they ever were not something different at all.

    So Mark I would love to see your horizontal head shots so that I can add them into the equation.

    Honest to god guys I hate being behind the curve like this..


     
  2. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I don't want to step on JEazy's thread, but here's a couple in case any one else is curious.

    http://www.markcarpenter.com/gallery/Portraits/K2730
    http://www.markcarpenter.com/gallery/Portraits/Carl
    http://www.markcarpenter.com/gallery/AtomicEggplant/Meg

    I have a few square ones too, but the majority are definitely portrait orientation. There needs to be a specific reason in the image for me to go horizontal.

    In the case of JEazy's, a portrait comp might feel too cramped for him, which is why I think square works so well for this one.
     
  3. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    Your number two is a classic man and cigar reason to go horizontal.

    The other two I like and have no problem at all with there is a reason for each not to be verticle.

    Number three is cropped to the universal experience of having sat a lunch counter and looked through the window into the food prep area. To cut the window verticle would make it feel open on one end. the anchor feeling would be lost.

    Number one I'm not sure about but it certainly isn't floating so I dont have a problem with it. (not that it makes any difference what I might have a problem with.) I think the point most people who understand composition can agree on is that you break the traditions for a reason. We were all saying the same thing I just had to understand what we all meant.

    Traditional composition is alive and well and I can rest easy tonight...Or not

    I to am sorry for hi jacking the thread. I would hope that all people are interested in learning. I know I am...
     
  4. JohnMF

    JohnMF No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    i think you raised an interesting and valid point mysteryscribe

    IMO though i think it's the vacant expression that could leave the viewer cold, and considering it is basically a photograph of a face i think it should have projected more emotion or expression
     
  5. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    You have to assume that the photographer knew his subject...
     
  6. ShutteredEye

    ShutteredEye TPF Noob!

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    I think this is some of the better discussion on here as of late.

    I know I have used a horizontal composition in portraits for a couple of reasons. First, often it lends a sense of intimacy, or closeness for me. Cutting off the top of the head and under the chin brings me in closer to the subject as a viewer. Just imagine how close you might have to stand if that were your field of view. Second, it can be used as an artistic tool, IMO. For example, the woman in THIS image of Mark's seems to be alone. There's space there for someone to be in her life.

    Thats my completely uneducated take on this subject.

    In this particular photo of JEazy's I agree, it does feel a tad unbalanced. It's in the middle ground IMO. His head tilt tends toward the center of the picture and there isn't enough dead space to the left of the frame to indicate that it is done on purpose to me.

    If he cropped a tad closer, maybe to the top of the head, or created more negative space it would work better to me.

    Oh and I agree about the signature. ;)
     
  7. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    Let me say this one thing then get off his tread... It speaks a lot about this young photographer that he didn't ask for a critique then cop an attitude when he got it. From experience I can tell you that a lot do. I am impressed by that more than I would have been by a perfect classic self portrait. Being willing to learn is the only way to learn.... Now Im going to go hide..
     
  8. JamesD

    JamesD Between darkrooms

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    The lettering distracts me.

    Looking at this with the analytical eye that (I think) I'm gradually acquiring, I find that I'm not inclined to take it as a literal depiction of reality. After all, in reality, peoples' faces don't blend into the whiteness.

    I see the "blinding whiteness" behind the subject, and the highlights merging into that brightness. At the same time, the rest of him is much darker, much closer to reality. Overall, there's heavy contrast between the background (wherever the subject is, figuratively, I guess) and the way the subject appears. Also, I find it interesting in this light (no pun intended) that this is a nude, which nobody has pointed out yet.

    I won't get too much further into interpretation than that, partly because it seems to me that the topic is the composition, rather than the message; and partly because I probably don't know what the heck I'm talking about.

    Anyway, considering what the "message" may (or may not) be, I think that the horizontal format is important. Probably critical. If you turn this one on its side, it just wouldn't be the same. Also, the way he's placed in the image leaves me with the impression of, maybe not advancing, but almost as though he's just come around the corner and is wondering what I'm doing... perhaps as if I'm supposed to be or have been following. Also, I'm not quite sure why this expression would be described as "vacant." Subject is looking at viewer, and is clearly thinking something. To me, "vacant" means "catatonic," or something similar--at the very least, detatched from the present circumstances.

    Anyway... Like I said, I probably don't know what I'm talking about, and I'm probably reading too much in to it. So, I'll sum it up: this shot needs to be horizontal, IMO, just as the waitress or cigar-smoker do.

    My two-an-a-half cents, and you get what you pay for.
     
  9. JohnMF

    JohnMF No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    i had to look "catatonic" up, because i wasn't sure what it meant :) apparently it's something to do with being schizophrenic or in a drunken stupor, which is not what i meant when i used the word "vacant" to describe his expression. I meant vacant as in empty and lacking expression... just so nobody thinks i was calling JEazy a drunken mentalist :p
     
  10. Jeff Canes

    Jeff Canes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Back to Justin's shot, I like the horizon crop and light, did you try a version B&W

    PS: was this a late night or early morning
     
  11. JEazy

    JEazy TPF Noob!

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    yeah i guess hearing what is wrong with my pictures helps me better future photos.
     
  12. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    Oh i dont know about right and wrong... seems as many folks liked it as it is, as those who said it could be better... The important thing is really listen and then try it all. Some will work for you and some won't be in keeping with your vision.

    This is a true story.. In 1969 I began serious photography with film. I made about five grand that first year and spent about ten, none of it on equipment. I spent it on film and processing. Learning the craft, and that was after I got out of school. So the best learning is by doing. It is inexpensive and easy to do that now. It is the best time in the world to be a young photographer. So many new things in the field and so easy to experiment with them all.

    The truly successful one will be the one who can blend the old school classics in new ways. That is what I tell my son in law. He shoots one thing this weeks, I *****, he defends, I shut up, two weeks later he is doing it different and criticising guys who did what he did the week before. But he placed second in a competition in a very reputable technical college sponsored event. It was highly digital, so I wouldn't have stood a chance, but he had a very classic portrait too. He beat some guys with a lot more experience and a lot more formal training. Like I said you can teach yourself just as well as anyone else can. Just be open to new ideas... Not follow anyone blindly or carve a hole for yourself you cant get out of.

    Now where the hell is my ladder so I can get down off this soap box or is it high horse. I can be a truly pompus ass by the way.
     
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