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Old Oct 12, 2008, 5:33 AM   #1
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I've had this one in my gallery for a while so I thought I'd share it for discussion. Why is or isn't this an effective portrait?

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Old Oct 12, 2008, 6:19 AM   #2
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Whether its an effective portrait or not Id say its ok. But it is an effective photo. It tells much and lets us imagine even more. I imagine the parents trying to get the kid to sit still and do as she is told. I imagine the photographer thinking the same and hoping he is going to get a shot worth the money they are paying him. Then we have the child who is oblivious to everything.,... the coaxing and pleading by everyone to take the perfect pose. In a moment of desperation you click away and this is the result. A moment in time. An action shot depicting the event and her life. Fleeting and not repeatable. The photo is in the middle of the action. So its easy to imagine how a moment before she was sitting still, then she saw something and moved to get it. Maybe you got a better shot, maybe you didnt. But you got this shot and it made it all worth while. Is it a good portrait shot.....Its not my cup of tea, but it does illustrate her nicely. It also says volumes about her. And it makes me smile.
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Old Oct 12, 2008, 7:16 AM   #3
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Nice lighting. Nice framing and an excellent subject. In my professional opinion an awkward pose that says nothing about the subject.
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Old Oct 12, 2008, 11:49 AM   #4
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I'd say it is a beautiful photo! I can't explain why but I feel it was supposed to be a classic portrait that became a wonderful candid?

Excellent! And I hope your own comments about it...
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Old Oct 12, 2008, 11:59 AM   #5
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artmustel wrote:
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I'd say it is a beautiful photo! I can't explain why but I feel it was supposed to be a classic portrait that became a wonderful candid?

Excellent! And I hope your own comments about it...
No, this was never intended to be a classical portrait which is why she is dressed the way that she is and has the toys. The child's grandmother was keeping her because her mother and father wasn't taking that responsibility and I was asked if I could take a picture of her because the grandmother had zero pictures since she was an infant so with just a little forward thinking I come up with what I did. True classical portraiture really isn't my style, though I do study it.

Thanks for your comments.

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Old Oct 12, 2008, 12:05 PM   #6
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Wonderfull shot, now if we were just so lucky to come up

with something just as nice.................................m usket
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Old Oct 12, 2008, 3:45 PM   #7
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Well, technically it seems fine. Well exposed, subject isolated from the background, no nasty shadows, catchlights in the eyes, looking nicely at the photographer. The pose is slightly odd, but nothing serious. About what you might expect from a competent studio photographer.

I'm sure the grandmother was satisfied.

But for me...

Honestly - it's boring, and worse than that - sterile and even slightly creepy. There is no sense of who the child is, what she likes or dislikes, her circumstances, her life. It's thoroughly artificial and therefore completely uninteresting to an observer other than the person who commissioned it. It looks as much like a porcelain doll as a child.

But I suppose your task was fulfilled well enough, you gave the grandmother a picture that is technically better than she could ever have taken herself. Job done.

But even from a commercial perspective, if you didn't take the opportunity to put the grandmother in the frame with the child, even if you had to overcome some resistance, then you let her go away with less than she might have had. To see herself may not be something she likes, but to see confirmation of herself with the child as protector and carer is something she would have cherished. I hope that some of the frames from the session included the two of them. Because this is something I promise you, if you had a frame that showed how much that little girl loved her grandmother you could get every single technical aspect wrong and you would not pry that picture from the grandmothers' hands until the day she dies. That's what you should have been trying to show. Maybe you did, we haven't seen all the pictures from the session.


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Old Oct 12, 2008, 5:45 PM   #8
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I am speechless after reading some comments here! They make me wonder if, after all, it is required to have a Master in Ars to be able to appreciate Beauty...

By the way...Rodney, please next time kindly include the subject's Birth Certificate in the frame.
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Old Oct 12, 2008, 6:59 PM   #9
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No. It is NOT a perequisite to have a MA or any extraordinary education to contribute or critique here. You must stay aquainted with the notion that this is after all, a critique forum.

The degree of perfection one presumes and claims to describe his or her talent often prescribes the calibre of critique it attracts, which is why more experienced photographers are comfortable directing Rodney's attention to flaws that while obvious to many seasoned photographers, escape the attention of neophytes.

Rodney is here to learn, as he has openly stated, and does not claim portrait experience to be his bread and butter. There fore do not be dismayed if he is asked to direct his attention to ways his work can be improved. He is well aware that critique is meant to be a learning tool. Hence he posts to this forum.


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Old Oct 12, 2008, 7:02 PM   #10
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Its a cute shot, I'm still trying to work out how to define EFFECTIVE. As far as i can tell a photo is effective as long as it does the job it was supposed to, whether it is technically perfect or not.
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