Photos and Critiques

From an on-line photography class by Carol Leigh

Developing Your Creative Edge #3

Assignment #6: Mystery Photos

From:  caroleigh@c...
Date:  Sun Mar 20, 2005  10:29 am
Subject:  Critique: Rich Baker (Pencils - 4 photos)

Mylar has raised its little shiny head in this last lesson, hasn't it? Very cool effects emerging as a result. It's not an easy thing to work with, though! I've been trying for the past couple of days and I've not come up with anything really very satisfactory. So I'm envious of you and Ruth and CJ, who seem to have made it work for you.

Pencil Ends - Really, Rich, if you wanted more pencils, I would have sent you more! But here you doubled your fun by using the mylar to augment the pencils you had. At first I didn't realize that this was a reflection, and was wondering what sort of horrible postal service accident had occurred to transmogrify the pencils on the right . . .

What I like about this photo is how the pencils all seem to emerge from a point in the upper left part of the frame and branch out from there. The colors are saturated and jewel-like, and I really like that little rim of lightness around the end of the far left pencil. Had that light "circle" not been there, the pencil would have just merged in with the dark background. Your lighting is good, focus is right on.
I'm not sure about the distortion of the three pencils on the right -- in a way they're very cool but in another way they're more of a distraction than an artistic statement. Oh, I know! I think they're not distorted ENOUGH. Seriously. I think had you had them REALLY wonky, like a fun house mirror, the effect would have been more dramatic; as it stands, they look too similar to the "normal" pencils. As opposed to the concept of "less is more," in this case it would be better if "more is more."

Pencil Reflections - Cool concept! All the pencils branching out like that is very effective and the colors are outrageous. Would this have been better had you used the pencil POINTS rather than the pencil ENDS? I don't know . . . I'm liking the repeating patterns, the bright colors. As usual, I think this photo could be brightened a bit. I brought it in to Photoshop and played with the levels a bit and posted my version in your album. If it looks too light on your monitor, well, what can I say that hasn't been said before? :-)

Pencil Cone - This one's my favorite. I like your background, I like the swirl of the cone, I like how the pencils stick up there in the flower right, not unlike the very center of a flower with the pistils and stamen sticking out. The colors are bright and, again, jewel-like. Would this have been better had you used the points rather than the ends? Maybe. But this is wonderful as-is. Good one, Rich. Creative, bright, fun . . .

Pencil Stack - Mylar's such weird stuff. You don't know where reality ends and reflectivity begins . . . This one's big and bold and frame-filling, but doesn't have the interesting composition and swirlyness that your previous one has. And I know I keep saying this, but perhaps the pencil points might work better. Why? Because you have things "bursting" and to enhance the concept of BURSTING, pencil points would serve to continue the burst-line (what a difference an R makes) whereas pencil ends tend to make our eyes do an abrupt stop. Yeah, that's it -- a pencil point creates a continuing outward line, but a pencil butt creates an end. So to speak.

Wonderfully creative photos you did, Rich. Proud of you. You and CJ have been with me since, oh, gosh, an indoor nature class I did in San Diego when, 15 years ago? And we're still on SPEAKING terms? You're two very special people in my life and both Chris and I value your participation in the classes as well as your friendship. Your enthusiasm for photography and your good humor (both in person and over the Internet) come through loud and clear. Looking forward to seeing you both in Tucson (hope it's stopped raining by the time we get there . . .).

Carol Leigh


Pencil Ends

Reflected Pencils

Pencil Cones


Pencil Stack

Reflected Pencils
Lightened by Carol

DYCE02: 1 2 3 4 5 6 | DYCE 03: 1 2 3 4 5 6 | Home