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
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
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 . . .).