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Ben_Leavitt
05-23-2008, 07:14 PM
Here are my four entries for this year's competition.
This is my first PPA competition so any help I can get would be great.

The titles and framing aren't set in stone, so if you have a better idea, please throw it out there.

I'd like feedback from anyone that can help me, so you don't have to be a master to give CC.

1. "Which one of you clowns is responsible for this?!?!?"

http://www.leavittphoto.com/misc/clown_sm.jpg

2. "Excalibur" or "Arthur, the Rightful King" or "WD-40"

http://www.leavittphoto.com/misc/king_arthur_3_sm.jpg

3. "Niche" or "Fitted Suit" or something else I haven't thought of yet.

http://www.leavittphoto.com/misc/niche_sm.jpg

4. "The Cost of Acceptance" or "Our Search for Happiness"

http://www.leavittphoto.com/misc/oursearchforhappiness_sm.jpg

Angela_Lawson
05-23-2008, 07:31 PM
Ben,

I've never entered comp, and don't know what the experts will say, but I really like the images. For the 3rd image - How about "Just trying to blend in".
And for the 1st one, I really like the title, but some might say it needs to be shortened some. Or how about, "There's one in every crowd".

Just my .02 worth. You can ask for change if you like. :)

Angela

Stephanie_Millner
05-23-2008, 07:45 PM
Ben, I'm no master but I think these are incredible. Laughed out loud! :)

You should do very very nicely. Are you entering these in Commercial?

Dave_Cisco
05-23-2008, 08:01 PM
I only see two images that show any photographic skills...the 2nd and the 4th...the 4th is, IMHO, your strongest, and I would expect it to merit.:)

Ben_Leavitt
05-23-2008, 08:12 PM
Are you entering these in Commercial?

I don't know what categories to enter them in.
Any ideas?

Stephanie_Millner
05-23-2008, 08:23 PM
No idea. Just the first 2 looked like they came from some sort of Commercial Shoot.

Ben_Leavitt
05-24-2008, 01:44 AM
Anyone else have any CC? ...... Anyone?

Gene_Paltrineri
05-24-2008, 04:33 AM
Ben
Very nice images
To score well in PPA print competition you must do well in, not being weak in any of the Twelve Elements of a Merit Print:
Impact
Creativity
Style
Composition
Print Presentation
Color Harmony
Center of Interest
Lighting
Subject Matter
Technical Excellence/Print Quality
Technique
Story Telling

All images are strong on Impact
1,2.and 4 have good story telling.
The lighting in number one is flat but that is what I would expect in a board meeting with overhead fluorescents. The title is great.
Image 2 - "Arthur" has great story telling. My question is why the blue hair light? Is it to signify "Royal Blue". I felt it was not needed. Also to make it a merit, something should be coming out of the WD40 can.
Image 3 has an interesting technique but what are you trying to say other than here is a neat blending technique that PS can do.
Image 4 is your strongest image and should do well. Good lighting. I would come up with a better title. "Defiance" or "Rebel with a cause".
Good job for your first set.
Good luck

Don_Chick
05-27-2008, 12:43 PM
Image #1 - Great concept, interesting idea, good title; however, the lighting (imo) is what hurts this image the most. I think that this images needs more dramatic lighting as right now it's a bit uninteresting. Some of the subjects have "raccoon lighting, and I know that with florescent overhead lights that's what you get; however this image is made for competition. I think the bald head is distracting too. It's placed in an area that creates high contrast drawing attention away from the clown. I could see this scoring in the above average category but not 80 or higher.

Image #2, Again, great concept, interesting idea, good title; however, why the blue in the hair (which you've now removed!). I also agree that something should be coming out of the wd-40 nozzle. I would look very closely at the location the sword enters the stone and make 100% sure that it looks like it's actually in the stone. I find the concept interesting; however, this image isn't compelling to look at. I could be the boy's expression, the fact that its a studio image.. Something that I can't exactly articulate; however, I think it causes it to miss the 80+ category.

#3 You have another interesting idea with this one. The overlay (if it really is one!) looks good. The big thing I am left with from this image is "why"? There isn't a complete story here... I can't see the scene behind to know how to tie him in with it and he's just there. His expression doesn't keep me in the story either, he's just kinda there... The "why" leaves me with the impression that it would also miss the merit category.

#4 I think this is your strongest image. Very interesting lighting, graphic design, composition. I think this could score 80 or higher but don't see it scoring a great deal higher (as presented). What holds it from (imo) scoring real high is 2 things. 1. his expression. He has (in my interpretation) kinda a fight stance and yet he has a disinterested expression on his face (no fight in his eyes!). I would like to see his expression carried through. 2. His hands are visually the same or greater in visual weight as his face. The jewelry is also competing for my attention. You need to tell me what is the primary center of interest (with light and dark).. If it's his face then darken the rest. If it's his hands darken the other parts. Cool image!

Good luck and remember this is just one opinion! There will be 5 others on the panel..

Michael_Gan
05-27-2008, 04:36 PM
I think #3 has a chance if the Judges understand Rene Magritte's "Son of Man" http://www.allposters.com/gallery.asp?aid=85097&apnum=389182&LinkTypeID=1&PosterTypeID=1&DestType=7&Referrer%20=http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/magritte_rene.html

Personally, I love the concept of this one.

#1 needs more of a "Rockwell" effect on it.

#2 I would have liked to see the subject either more stoic, or more crafty/mischievious.

#4 Will probably merit, but I agree, it needs a little more of a "Darton Drake" edginess in the expression to bring it forward into the loan category.

How did these images do in your local and regional competition? I'd recommend you wait a year and test the waters out on at least the state and regional level so that you can get actual competition conditions.

Ben_Leavitt
05-27-2008, 05:39 PM
Thanks for your feedback guys, I really appreciate it! :)

This is my first PPA competition ever. I've never even done an affiliate competition.
I've entered the Niche one in my local association's competition (non-ppa) and scored extremely high, but I guess that's not any indication as to how it will do in the international competition.
I have 2 other Magritte-style images on my website (http://www.leavittphoto.com) in my "commercial" gallery.
Would either of those be a better option than the Niche?

The sword in the Stone issue is a tough one.
I've thought about adding a scene behind him of woods, maybe a castle, but I'm not sure how much that would help or even if I could do a good job of it.
I think it would add more interest if I were Mark Beckelman (http://www.beckelman.com/) and had his skills.
I also worry that it might serve as more of a distraction.
I've also played around with getting the sword in the stone to look realistic and I've done all I can think of to do that...
I've never seen a sword embedded in stone before so it's hard for me to compare and see what realistic elements need to be included to make it "real".
I did break up the edge a lot which helped, but digitally creating a hole just makes it look fake.
Any ideas?

The bald head in the office... totally agree that it's distracting, especially after you mentioned it I haven't been able to take my eyes off of it.
Initially I figured every big office meeting needed at least one baldy. Maybe if I darkened it a bit it would help?

As it stands, is it even worth sending these to the international competition before a state one?
What advantages would I gain in waiting until next year?

Dave_Cisco
05-27-2008, 06:27 PM
The bald head in the office... totally agree that it's distracting, especially after you mentioned it I haven't been able to take my eyes off of it.
Initially I figured every big office meeting needed at least one baldy. Maybe if I darkened it a bit it would help?



You could put someone else's hair on him, but I don't think that would alter the outcome...there's no "presence" in the lighting.:)

Ben_Leavitt
05-27-2008, 06:53 PM
You could put someone else's hair on him, but I don't think that would alter the outcome...there's no "presence" in the lighting.:)

You are absolutely right Dave!
When I initially made this image I wasn't trying to get a presence in the lighting.
The whole idea behind it is that there's a drab, boring office with yucky fluorescent lighting and serious business people contrasted by a kooky clown being in the picture... blaming the guy next to him for his antics. I didn't want it to be about the lighting, but about the atmosphere and the subject matter.

It seems to me that this was probably a mistake since lighting appears to weigh in more than impact, and creativity. Is that right? If so, it makes sense to me since our profession is all about lighting. I would probably choose different images for next year if that's the case.

Dave_Cisco
05-27-2008, 07:22 PM
It seems to me that this was probably a mistake since lighting appears to weigh in more than impact, and creativity. Is that right? If so, it makes sense to me since our profession is all about lighting. I would probably choose different images for next year if that's the case.

No, that is not the message I meant to send. There are 12 considerations when evaluating an image...Impact is often a more significant one because it is seen immediately. Our profession is (or at least it should be) about professional images, and that implies consideration of a host of properties.

Kari_J_Blunck
06-11-2008, 11:11 PM
Ben,

I love the gangsta image!!!!

GOOD LUCK WITH THE COMPETITION!!!

Whoooo hoooo this is my first post! :)

OH and nice avatar!!
Who's the photographer that took that pic? :)

Barry_Hayes
06-13-2008, 04:11 AM
Just some weird thoughts:
For #1 I think ALL the board (bored?) members should have been clowns. Just strikes me as funnier that way. Also, it could have been shot from the leader's perspective looking down the table with the cushion on the table instead of from the side. (No back of heads that way.)
Titles for # 3: "An end to polyester", or "Fashion is my strong suite", maybe remove his head & hands so it is just suit? Might have been more interesting with a female model.
#2: nice concept, but the face & upper hand is too bright, and somehow the kid is more cute than sly about the spray.
#4, hands are WAY too bright. They seriously detract from the power of his expression. (Try using Your hands to crop in on just his face & letter to see what I mean). Lighting overall could be more dramatic for more impact. Seems like it should be deeper overall but hard to tell on monitor. I really don't like the titles. Too generic & bland. If you can get the image dramatic enough how about "Burning Man", "Prince of the City", "I Pledge Allegiance" "Coronation" or "The Talisman" A good title could really help the impact here.
So am I full of you know what? Probably, but after all my advice is worth everything you are paying me for it. And no judge has understood MY work for the last 5 years or better. (Don & Gene will confirm this).
Good luck
Barry Hayes

Rodney_Ninow
06-13-2008, 07:14 AM
What did you end up doing? Did you send them in?

Noelle_Zaleski
06-13-2008, 09:55 AM
Ben I just saw this thread, I'm impressed! You have some really great ideas!

Ben_Leavitt
07-03-2008, 05:11 PM
What did you end up doing? Did you send them in?

Yep, I sent them in, printed to competition density so they looked a lot nicer. I ran out of time to scrutinize the images any longer. Everyone's comments really helped me learn what I should do for next year though... with completely different images of course.

Thanks for the compliment Noelle!

I'm not sure how I'll do in the competition, but at least I had a great time making these and hopefully I'll learn some more from the judge's DVD critique. :D

Ben_Leavitt
07-29-2008, 12:59 AM
Well, to my surprise 3 of my 4 prints went loan!

I'm very excited, and very surprised.
Thanks to everyone who helped me bring my entries up to competition level!
Thank you thank you thank you! :D

The "Niche" entry was the only one not to merit, and I'm pretty sure I know several reasons for that. I learned a lot and I'm so glad I tried entering this year.

I'm excited to see my DVD critique now!

Michael_Gan
07-29-2008, 01:07 AM
Congrats to you Ben!

Ben_Leavitt
07-29-2008, 01:17 AM
Thanks Michael :)

Sandra_Pearce
07-29-2008, 02:10 AM
Ben,

I loved your originality on your images when you posted them. So proud of you. Next year 4 for 4 with all loans. Different is a good thing.

Sandra

Ben_Leavitt
07-29-2008, 02:35 AM
hehehe! Thanks Sandra!
Yeah, must get 4/4 so I can get that cool pin!

Now the pressure's really on! :o

Kari_J_Blunck
08-01-2008, 10:13 PM
Congratulations Ben!!! :)
Can't wait to see your images for next year!!

Ben_Leavitt
08-02-2008, 12:36 AM
Thanks Kari!
I can't wait to see my images for next year either!

Ron_Jackson
08-02-2008, 01:25 AM
Ben I am extremely happy to hear the news. You are a great artist and will really go far in this business. I have always enjoyed and admired your work. Congratulations! Well deserved. I'm glad you stuck to your gut feelings and submitted. You are very far ahead of the curve. I will be anxious to see what you come up with next. Well done.

Ben_Leavitt
08-02-2008, 01:52 AM
Ben I am extremely happy to hear the news. You are a great artist and will really go far in this business. I have always enjoyed and admired your work. Congratulations! Well deserved. I'm glad you stuck to your gut feelings and submitted. You are very far ahead of the curve. I will be anxious to see what you come up with next. Well done.

Wow Ron! :o You just made my day/week/month/year!
That's a huge compliment, and coming from you makes it even bigger. I'm flabbergasted that you think so highly of my work, and it makes me happy.:D
Thanks!

Ron_Jackson
08-02-2008, 02:10 AM
Ben you shouldn't be so surprised. You are a great evolving talent and you have a very keen thought process that surpasses most other photographers. I am very eager to watch you grow.