Soxy Fleming Soxy Fleming 77 posts

I had this rejected from another group (which doesn’t particularly fuss me except that I felt it was perfectly within group guidelines as an unaltered image)

I’m really more of a wacky artist than a photographer and I’ve only recently starting taking pictures of things in the street. I wouldn’t say it’s my best image but there are things I really like about it. The scene is one I have observed for many years and have always loved. To me it would have been predictable to centre the urn and have it horizontal (I rejected a shot that was like this). I like the way the light plays on the plant and the sharp focus of the plant and urn. I also like the background made up of what I see as a patchwork.
The darkening at the top was not added in post processing…it comes from a verandah roof which is out of the picture. I also like the little chain of sparkles in the window and the colour generally.

shutter 1/250
f 4.0
ISO 800
camera Pentax K200D

Carisma Carisma 291 posts

If you will allow me….
at first glance it needs to be straightened, is cluttered, the shopping bag on the right and the plastic containers on the floor makes it unitdy, there is a stick that looks like coming out of the plant….

I don’t know what suggestion to offer to sort it out…my PS skills are very minimal – the cloning to be done would have to be pretty extensive……what about darkening all the BG and concentrate on the main subject that, as you say, as got a very good light??

I hope I have not offended you…..XXX

Soxy Fleming Soxy Fleming 77 posts

not at all offended!
But amused…the clutter is the whole point and I would have taken a straight photo if that was what I wanted! But obviously that is not the style of thing you would want….we all want different things.
A little more about the composition which I thought of after the first posting was this…
This is street photography, photojournalism, whatever….real life, a record of what is actually there. I’m not trying to make a pretty, perfect picture but instead record the unusual contrasts that actually are there. The urn I feel is a formal garden element…if it was in a perfect formal garden setting I may have gone for symmetry and straightness. Here it is naturally shown against a cluttered, half renovated house (the shopping bag is actually a bag of cement) all the other patch work of elements (or clutter if you like) are part of the urn’s real surroundings. I wanted to record those contrasts of formality and chaos.
To me it is a picture which invites questions and has many things to be discovered…I feel that there are stories to be told about this house and this urn and anything connected with it.
So that deals with the composition element a little (though I’m happy to hear the thoughts of others)
….what about the technical aspects…???

Thanks so much for taking the time to look and comment. You might like to look at this which is a photoshopped version my daughter did of this picture.

BYRON BYRON 12560 posts

Hiya Georgina, I am not going to do a full-length typical Byron-Critique here (I just don’t have 2 hours to spare at the moment.

While the lighting on the flowers is nice, the overall lighting is very dark. A bit of fill-flash would highlight the urn and the flowers more and with a faster shutter speed this would darken the background, thereby featuring the urn even more.

Depth of Field…
DOF really should have been used here. While I dig the “street photography” aspect you were going for here, the items in the background are not interesting enough to look at, but we do need to know they are there. Putting the background waaaay out of focus would look better and would also feature the urn better.

Its either really off-level or its dead-level. Slightly off angle just looks annoying.

The POV (Point of View) is predictable and a little boring. I think if you had a higher POV and shot pointing downwards you would have got a better perspective on the urn and we would have got a greater sense-of-place for this urn.

Also… placing the urn dead centre in the frame is a bit … common. Its ok to do it – there is nothing that says you should not place your subject in the centre of the frame. But if you do, then you should consider compensating for it (artistically) in other ways. For example:

- Creating a symmetrical image (these typically have a very clean background to enhance the symmetry)
- Change the POV to something very very different.
- Using creative lighting / enhanced colour saturations.

I don’t feel that you have made enough of a feature of the “chaos” here. That is primarily a result of the flat/level POV. Perhaps if you had pulled back further to reveal more of the house and the chaos.

You said that you were going for “symmetry and straightness” but does that really compliment your impressions of “contrasts of formality and chaos”? I am not sure that it does.

You could enhace the feeling of chaos by tilting the camera 45degrees to the left or right. This naturally makes the viewer feel uneasy and would enhance the chaos you were trying to communicate.

My philosophy of composition is simple: “If it is meant to be in the image then put it IN the image, otherwise take it out completely.” The chaos in the background (which BTW I think looks great – lots of texture and colour!) barely features in the image, and I feel a higher/elevated POV would include the mess much better, and this would communicate your intentions much better to the viewer.

Soxy Fleming Soxy Fleming 77 posts

thanks Byron…that’s a fabulous amount of info. I’d try it again with your suggestions, except that I’d feel a bit stupid carrying a ladder up there and peering over their fence…..guess I could always knock on their door and ask.
I would like to try to work with the DOF, I’ve had some great results doing that with this beautiful lens.
I’ll look through the other shots of this that I took….there was a fence in the way which controlled things a bit and I got it in one shot. I was also very nervous about the residents coming out while I was there so I didn’t stay for long.
When/if I’m feeling brave I’ll sneak up there again with my ladder and high heels… (just noticed that you are black and grinning again…)

Ersu Yuceturk Ersu Yuceturk 190 posts

love it :)

It has emotion, it looks to me like you where walking past and you snuck in a photo, because someone important/dangerous/special lives there. Someone preferably older, maybe even mafia, ie old italian. The slight angle suggests you walking past fast so as not to be noticed. The lighting suggests that it was very dawn or dusk a not some common hour (not for me anyway). The “clutter” suggestions a DIY person lives there, and there DIY because because they have something to hide from intrusive tradies. All those bricks to fix a window.. I don’t think so, I think it’s to hide the dead bodies. The “twinkle” in the window to me suggests someone peaking out on the look for cops or suspicious activity like you.

If your brave enough, I’d go back and hang out the front, then throw a pebble at the window to get their attention, and take the shot when they are peaking through the window. You might have to hide a bit better so the whole picture might be more on an angle, and your focus point would be the back window past the fountain.

So in the way of any suggestions, I would change your focal point from the fountain to the window? But definitely keep the lighting the same, if not darker? I agree with Byron on the angle though it’s either spot on or obviously not. if you just wanted the urn, I’m sure they have heaps of them at your local hardware/garden shop.

I think we all have a different take on things, mines to seek emotion out of art if not then at least it’s gotta make you think, and this does.

Soxy Fleming Soxy Fleming 77 posts

thank you…that’s all great! yes it was a quick walk by. This house has been “in progress” for at least 10 years, and I’ve been wondering about it all that time. I’ve never seen the people.
I think they are pouring the cement over the remains that will stay forever in the new floor slab…. certainly poses some questions!

Mary Campbell Mary Campbell 942 posts

My first impression is this is a crooked not well thought thru composition. I agree with most said by Byron, and Chrisma, street art is still art and needs to have some artistic interest, or form or subject that excites the viewer. The flower pot is about the only thing I find interesting and it’s placed amounst a backround that detracts from it, and it’s crooked. Sorry but it’s not a very interesting photo to me, I can see why someone might have removed it. I think if I liked the centered object I would make it the focus, crop it to show that, and do away with the background that detracts from it. If it’s the mess of the background that interests you then focus on that, the brick alignment, or something in the background.

Soxy Fleming Soxy Fleming 77 posts

thank you for your comments. It’s very interesting to see what people have to say!