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[FORMAL CRITIQUE] Baseball Field

Joe Mortelliti Joe Mortelliti 2272 posts

Experimenting more with abstract realism

BYRON BYRON 10951 posts

Hiya Joe,

With abstract realism, its important to focus on simplicity of composition, line, shape, and colour.

You’ve got great colours. There are 3 bands of colours here – Blue, Green, and Red (brown), but the lack of uniformity in composition is letting it down and detracting from its inherant simplicity.

To sound less technical – you should have shot this more squarely so that the lines dividing the colours were horizontal across the frame. Its ok to have things on an angle, but it must appear to serve some purpose. Here it does not seem to do so.

Also, the top rail creates a diverging line with the screen in the background, which looks awkward. Diverging lines are fine in urban abstraction/realism, but they must be used for a purpose and not appear to happen haphazardly.

The 2 strongest lines (the fence post and the fence rail) are positioned badly and create a poor balance. They should have been placed squarely on the 1/3rd lines to create a strong balance to counterpoint the three bands of colour.

The position of the water bubbler is also awkward and does not “feature” the bubbler, which is a shame. It needs to be positioned either on the 3rds lines of the frame, or roughly the same distance from the side of the frame as it currently is from the bottom of the frame.

There are some very strong compositional elements in your image, but at the moment it looks too much like a “record-shot” of a baseball field and not so much a study of urban abstraction.


Look at this image by JULIAN ESCARDO

This is a fine example of diverging lines being used effectively to create a very abstract image of a very real urban environment. JULIAN has given us another way of looking at a very ordinary everyday item.

Check out JULIAN ESCARDO’s PORTFOLIO work, he has many fantastic examples of Urban Abstraction/Realism


Look at this image by PAUL VANZELLA

PAUL has used bold geometric shapes and lines, combined with blocks of simple colour to create a unique 2-Dimensional image of a 3-Dimensional urban environment.

I consider PAUL to be one of the best exponents of this style of photography and I strongly recommend studying his PORTFOLIO


In this final example by BENSOUND you can see how BEN has used simple compositional elements and non-intrusive secondary-subjects (the lady and the pram, and the crow) to create an image that is almost surreal, yet somehow familiar.

BEN has employed contrasting colours and subjects to make a powerfull image. The brown ground versus the bright bold colours of the building, and then the stunning sky (which seems strange juxtaposed against the cold hard modernity of the building) all enhance the feelings of abstraction (and a bit of loneliness) within the urban setting.

BEN skillfully uses compositional elements in his imagery and I would recommend also checking out his PORTFOLIO

Joe Mortelliti Joe Mortelliti 2272 posts

Thanks Byron, valuable feed back, will revisit

Joe Mortelliti Joe Mortelliti 2272 posts

Re Byron recommendations…
Could not acheive the ideas/changes “in Camera” due to the curved elements of the fence,grass,pathways, so used PS to distort.
The main post/drink fountain remains in the original postion.
Now will need to decide if I go back and shoot with post/drink fountain on the “third” line and rework the rest again in PS.

BYRON BYRON 10951 posts

Joe, nice post-production work!

Joe Mortelliti Joe Mortelliti 2272 posts

Thanks Byron,
Normally just a few tweeks is all I do.
Do you (others members opinions welcomed also) think it should be reshot with drink fountain on the vertical third?

JanT JanT 2562 posts

Nice editing work, Joe.

Yes, reshoot, but not if you will need to “rework the rest again in PS”. Might want to search for a new subject with fewer distracting elements, after reading and seeing Byron’s examples and tutorial that you prompted.

Doug Wilkening Doug Wilkening 416 posts

The first thing that struck me about it was the colors. I said to myself, “Nice color composition, but not much else.” I honestly don’t think that the scene has enough going for it to be worth re-shooting and agonizing over. There’s so much visual interest out there in the wide,wide world. It’s almost always more profitable to move on and discover another scene than to spend hours or days trying to improve a so-so scene.

Joe Mortelliti Joe Mortelliti 2272 posts

Thanks Jan & Doug,
A more complex subject with more interest might be time better spent, the colours did work in this but there is more appeal for me in an image that is not so simplistic.

Mary Campbell Mary Campbell 970 posts

Too many lines it’s distracting, I wouldn’t consider this abstract by more of minimal realism.. It just doesn’t do it for me.