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Thread: Portrait in B&W

  1. #1
    Antonio Correia's Avatar
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    Portrait in B&W

    Portrait in B&W

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    Re: Portrait in B&W

    Antonio, a problem I have with this one is there is not enough of the face to identify the person. An unfamiliar viewer such as myself would have no idea who this is. Perhaps another photographer may like the lighting and contrast but to the average person the photo would have no meaning and be quickly passed over.

  3. #3

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    Re: Portrait in B&W

    I think, Antonio, you can get away with only showing part of a face but in this case there is too much uninteresting baldness for me. The top of his head dominates the scene.

    I would try cropping closer to remove some of the top. Maybe a square crop; or 5 x 4 ratio? Which should produce a stronger and more interesting result.

    The exposure and focus are good.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Portrait in B&W

    I agree with Geoff and Andrew.

    There are a few other things in the image that don't work for me. The depth of field is too shallow, so the left ear and hair are out of focus, so that detracts from the image. The glasses are quite dark and take away from the eye as being the focal point of the image. I also think that your very large, hard white frame is problematic as well as it distracts from the image.

  5. #5
    Antonio Correia's Avatar
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    Re: Portrait in B&W

    Let me try to answer you in one post only.
    The white frame is a "style", a mark. All my projects are with white canvas and text. Kind of compulsory stuff !
    And so is the format. I use three or four formats which I stick to. This gives me a coherent body of work and when I photograph I do have that in mind. It is not by chance that I photograph portraits vertically or horizontally...

    The shallow depth of field is intentional and so is the frame.

    Try to look at the image with other eyes, try to look at this as something different, something trying to show not a perfect image, all focused and bla bla but something out of the common.

    OK, you may like it or not. This is like a stone falling in a quite water surface making ripples/waves.
    Why do we have to do portraits so perfect like the commercial ones if we do not have to please our "clients".

    For the persons knowing this guy he is perfectly identifiable. Just image a similar image of... Obama or Merckel. Wouldn't you know them if a similar pictures would have been taken ?

    In fact this image was to measure the light on his face as I do not own a light meter even knowing it's importance to measure flash light for example. This is natural light, from a large window. I wanted all around dark as I was inside a dark room walls included.
    As Andrew said this is an image which only some people appreciate.

    I show you the final version of the image. BTW: the guy is a mathematician ! The work on the image bellow is not yet completed as it belongs to the project "Notable Cityzens"...

    Portrait in B&W

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    Re: Portrait in B&W

    I'm with you, Antonio; I like the photo.

    The man is looking down and I like that the viewer is also looking down toward him. Using a larger depth of field would have ruined it for me because I wouldn't be paying as much attention to the glasses frame and his eye. Including more of the face would have rendered the image more typical. Despite that people who know this gentleman will surely recognize him, it's not necessary for people who don't know him to be able to see more of the facial features. (A famous photo of cellist Pablo Casals was made with his back to the camera in homage to the fact that most people didn't know what he looked like, only that they heard him on the radio.)

    Consider toning down the bright spot on his head and in his hair to draw even more attention toward his eye. Those two spots command my attention more than you probably want to happen.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 21st June 2013 at 01:31 AM.

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    Re: Portrait in B&W

    If your intention is to only worry about the people who know this person then your first version is fine because nobody else will see it or care. Good for his family and friends who would recognize his forehead and glasses and it seems that is your position on that one. If however your purpose for the project as I believe it to be from past postings is to introduce these special people to others in the larger community then they must be able to recognize the person you are trying to show them. For that purpose, the second is more appropriate. They could look at the first photo then pass the man on the street 2 minutes later and not know him.

    As for your recognizing your examples; Obama - probably. He's well known and in the media daily. Merckel - who? The mayor of my city - I wouldn't recognize with a full face shot. There are quite a few entertainers who have a really distinct look that many of us would recognize from such a small portion of the face but the only two that really come to mind is Michael Jackson and Mickey Mouse. If the project is to be about the important people of Setubal rather than your photographic impressions, we need to see them.

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    Re: Portrait in B&W

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    Consider toning down the bright spot on his head and in his hair to draw even more attention toward his eye. Those two spots command my attention more than you probably want to happen.
    Wonderful style of presenting a known mathematician.

    In addition to Mike's comment about the distracting bald spot,
    may I add the distracting handkerchief/napkin(?) on his knee.

    Cheers ...............

  9. #9

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    Re: Portrait in B&W

    Victor's post perhaps assumes my post explaining my recommended changes applies to the second photo. Though I was referring to the first photo, Victor is right that I would make the same recommendation about the second photo. I also agree with him for the same reason about the handkerchief/napkin/actually I think it's a booklet that is on the subject's knee.

  10. #10
    Antonio Correia's Avatar
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    Re: Portrait in B&W

    Much obliged for the replies.
    Indeed the first image is rather controversial while the second one - which I have adopted - is right so the person can be easily identifiable by herself and by friends an public in general.
    A friend of mines told me the other day that I could even propose the photo of a foot, a hand, a nose, whatever but I found it to be like pulling my leg.
    It is obvious that if we want to get some success with portraits involving important people from Setubal or where ever, they have to be rather "classical".
    It is in fact my trend in this project and on another one I will not talk about for the time being.
    The model I have adopted for this project "Notable Cityzens" is this one here bellow.
    It is a work in progress which I would like people from the World to get into but that seems to be rather too ambicious. I have even a space for the links in my blog.
    If you care to join...

    Portrait in B&W

    João Cabeçadas - Offshore sailor
    Born Setúbal, Portugal 1961
    Graduated as Deck Officer at Escola Superior Náutica Infante D. Henrique
    Merchant Marine Deck Officer at Sociedade Portuguesa de Navios Tanques from 1982 to 1989
    Whitbread Round the World Race winner in 1990. And America's Cup winner in 2001 in New Zealand and in 2007 in Spain
    Participated in numerous World and European Championships, pre-olympic regattas and transcontinental races
    Participated in three editions of the Whitbread Round the World Race, on Esprit de Liberté, La Poste and Brunel Sunergy
    Participated in fourth edition of the America's Cup with two victories, one in New Zealand and one in Spain
    Team member of D'Orelhas Sailing Team
    Team member of Team Alinghi since 1999 participating in numerous yacht races. Presently in the international circuits «Extreme Sailing Series» and the «Vulcain Trophy»

  11. #11
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    Re: Portrait in B&W

    Interesting Antonio....for some reason I want to say it's not half bad.*

    Chuck
    * I hope that translates OK for you...in the US it's a compliment.

  12. #12
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    Re: Portrait in B&W

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonio Correia View Post
    Let me try to answer you in one post only.
    The white frame is a "style", a mark. All my projects are with white canvas and text. Kind of compulsory stuff !
    And so is the format. I use three or four formats which I stick to. This gives me a coherent body of work and when I photograph I do have that in mind. It is not by chance that I photograph portraits vertically or horizontally...

    The shallow depth of field is intentional and so is the frame.

    Try to look at the image with other eyes, try to look at this as something different, something trying to show not a perfect image, all focused and bla bla but something out of the common.

    OK, you may like it or not. This is like a stone falling in a quite water surface making ripples/waves.
    Why do we have to do portraits so perfect like the commercial ones if we do not have to please our "clients".

    For the persons knowing this guy he is perfectly identifiable. Just image a similar image of... Obama or Merckel. Wouldn't you know them if a similar pictures would have been taken ?

    In fact this image was to measure the light on his face as I do not own a light meter even knowing it's importance to measure flash light for example. This is natural light, from a large window. I wanted all around dark as I was inside a dark room walls included.
    As Andrew said this is an image which only some people appreciate.

    I show you the final version of the image. BTW: the guy is a mathematician ! The work on the image bellow is not yet completed as it belongs to the project "Notable Cityzens"...

    Portrait in B&W
    Hi Antonio, for visual artists I find no issue in your first photo. For technical photographers maybe there can be plenty to be said. I totally agree with you if your purpose is to project a unique portrait, be the person identifiable or not. If the purpose of these portraits is to compliment each other then I may say go for it!

  13. #13
    Antonio Correia's Avatar
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    Re: Portrait in B&W

    Thank you Dustin
    I will keep doing it

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