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Thread: Life in the Fast Lane

  1. #1
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Life in the Fast Lane

    ...isn't always easy.

    I have seen many a fine image posted here concerning poverty so I thought I'd give it a try.

    In this image I was attracted to the juxtaposition of the poverty of the two women pushing wheel chairs and at the opposite end of the scale, the tour bus. Normally I associate dreary and lifelessness with a lack of colour but these women were very colourful in their poverty. Maybe that is why I feel that there is something amiss in this image but I can't quite put my finger on it.

    Any comments and/or suggestions would be appreciated! Thank you for viewing.


    Life in the Fast Lane

  2. #2
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Life in the Fast Lane

    Hi Frank,

    It looks like it would stand a little clockwise rotation to get the building and lamp post vertical.

    I'd probably also crop off the 'bit of car' on the left.

    Cheers,

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Life in the Fast Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Maybe that is why I feel that there is something amiss in this image but I can't quite put my finger on it.
    May I suggest cropping very tightly on the front and back of the bus. that gets rid of the extraneous and distracting information (edge of the car on the left : person in the background on the right) and then our attention is firmly thrown onto the bus and the figures. And it works in colour.

    I just took a copy and tried a 1:1 square. Keep the top and bottom. Give it a little at the back of the bus. You end up cutting that front wing mirror on the bus, but I think it's ok.

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    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Life in the Fast Lane

    Here it is with the suggested changes...

    Life in the Fast Lane

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    Re: Life in the Fast Lane

    I do like the crop better, although the image content makes my heart sad! I hope you don't mind me posting this but, the juxtaposition of poverty and affluence reminded me of this image I shot in China. This image also makes my heart a bit sad...

    I posted a small size so it would not interfere with your post...


    Life in the Fast Lane

  6. #6
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Life in the Fast Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Here it is with the suggested changes...
    Frank - What do you think of the change?

    Richard - I remember that image from first time around. It remains as powerful now as it was then.

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    Re: Life in the Fast Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Frank - What do you think of the change?
    Hi Donald. It feels tight but adds to the impression that the women have no place to go that is safe. I wonder about the saturation. I feel the women should be more subdued so that the poverty is emphasized and they stand out from the bus more but when I tried that, the emphasis went to the bus - not where I wanted it to be. I also wonder if it would help to de-saturate the bus, particularly the reflections in the windows but for each variation I tried, I just couldn't get the emotional 'grab' I felt when I took the shot. Now I am wondering if I shouldn't crop significantly closer to make the women more prominent and let the viewer's imagination fill in the rest of the bus?

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    Re: Life in the Fast Lane

    Frank,

    I agree with the thought that the new crop feels tight - particularly for me, it is the fact that the bus mirror is breaking the edge of the frame. I'd pull it back a bit if possible - actually, I'd pull it back a lot if you could. Just enough to eliminate the car in the original and leave everything else. I think the bus becoming so large in the frame is what is helping draw your eyes to the red reflections on it.

    And though I'm usually not a huge fan, what do you think of doing selective color just on the women and making everything else B&W? I think that might give that juxtaposition of the dreary/mundane of the "affluent" world against this instance of colorful poverty.

    - Bill

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    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Life in the Fast Lane

    Thank you for taking the time to view and comment, Bill.

    Cloning out the car (and person in the background) is certainly possible but I'm not sure that those changes alone would bring about the emotion in the viewer that this image needs. Once I can figure out what treatment will move the emotion in the right direction I'll be better able to 'see' how alternative cropping and use of B&W could enhance the impact.

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    Re: Life in the Fast Lane

    Frank,
    Have you tried your image in B&W. Fifty years ago or so, when I attended the Univerity of Southern California's School of Cinematography, one of the instructor's opinion was, "sad pictures do better in black and white. Color makes things too pretty!" Of course, B&W was more prevalent in those days than it is now!

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Life in the Fast Lane

    Hi Frank,

    More thoughts;
    I like the straighter, tighter crop
    I don't like that in order to force a certain aspect ratio, we've cut the mirror, I wouldn't do that - two options; go non-square or extend canvas and clone in more foreground
    If going non-square, I'd add back in, a bit more on the right too
    Worth toning down that reflection of traffic in side of bus

    Cheers,

  12. #12
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Life in the Fast Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Frank,
    Have you tried your image in B&W. Fifty years ago or so, when I attended the Univerity of Southern California's School of Cinematography, one of the instructor's opinion was, "sad pictures do better in black and white. Color makes things too pretty!" Of course, B&W was more prevalent in those days than it is now!
    Hi Richard, I'm not against trying B&W but how would I keep the women from blending into the bus and loosing definition? My gut feel tells me that I need more separation between the two but aren't both subjects needed to tell the story? Or perhaps there is a different way to get the juxtaposition of poverty and affluence idea across?

  13. #13
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Life in the Fast Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Hi Frank,

    More thoughts;
    I like the straighter, tighter crop
    I don't like that in order to force a certain aspect ratio, we've cut the mirror, I wouldn't do that - two options; go non-square or extend canvas and clone in more foreground
    If going non-square, I'd add back in, a bit more on the right too
    Worth toning down that reflection of traffic in side of bus

    Cheers,
    I'll give the tone-down a try and clone out the car and person in the background and see if that moves us any closer to a winner. I might also try a much tighter crop as well.

    Thanks for the feed back!

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    Re: Life in the Fast Lane

    Hi Frank

    Here you have a suggestion you may want to try. I just cropped out the car and adjusted the image to 5:4 ratio. Then desaturated the image to 22%.

    Indeed, it is a sad image. We are using our cameras and computers trying to obtain an image that conveys the sadness of their reality, while those women probably are thinking of some more basic human needs.

    Let us know what you finally decide about your photo.

    Toņo

    Life in the Fast Lane

  15. #15
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Life in the Fast Lane

    Thank you, Toņo. While you were doing that, I was also trying some options. Here are two I played with based on several of the suggestions made and a tighter crop that I experimented with.

    1. Clone out distractions, reduce the reflections in the bus windows, and reduce the saturation on the women and background:

    Life in the Fast Lane

    2. Same as above but a tighter crop to put more emphasis on the women's plight:

    Life in the Fast Lane

  16. #16
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Life in the Fast Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by acsky View Post
    Hi Frank

    Here you have a suggestion you may want to try. I just cropped out the car and adjusted the image to 5:4 ratio. Then desaturated the image to 22%.

    Indeed, it is a sad image. We are using our cameras and computers trying to obtain an image that conveys the sadness of their reality, while those women probably are thinking of some more basic human needs.

    Let us know what you finally decide about your photo.

    Toņo

    Life in the Fast Lane
    Hi Toņo,

    I'm not sure what is best for this image as yet. Your treatment is certainly an option but my concern is that by muting the bus along with the rest of the image, the difference between the haves and have-nots is diminished.

    I was hoping that others would chime in with suggestions as well as I am at a loss to find a way to effectively convey the emotion that I think is hidden in the image. This may, like several others I have not been able to effectively communicate, need to sit for a while and think about.

    Perhaps the problem is that, unlike Richards image above, we don’t see the faces of the women so perhaps we are losing a critical ‘human’ element in the image?

  17. #17

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    Re: Life in the Fast Lane

    Yes, indeed the picture would be stronger with some faces. Especially if the bus was carrying a bunch of wealthy tourists.

    I like the girl on the background giving her back to the ladies, but the problem is that she is too far away to be involved with the other subjects in the picture.

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