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Julie_Poole
06-19-2009, 01:17 AM
I still can't wrap my mind around what will work, and what just doesn't. I personally love this image if nothing else as a motivational poster. Don't know if it would be appropriate for print competition though

http://llpoolej.smugmug.com/photos/481324390_HbcY2-O-2.jpg

Keith_A_Howe
06-19-2009, 04:47 AM
Julie
I see that this is falling down in the threads because of the PPA list posting. Here goes, I like the image, there are a lot of good things here but for competition I have some questions. I like the concept and the use of light and shadow but I feel that the direction of the light is the tool that we use to speak to the viewer, telling us the story of the subject. To me it appears that the brightest part of the image is the dogs back making it a primary element in the story. So when I look at just the image I see that the dog is dejected or sad or favoring an injured foot. Then I read the quote and it is talking of overcoming the suffering, so I looked at the image again and I can maybe see the suffering in the dog but not the overcoming of the suffering. Sorry but to me it falls just short of merit worthy. JMO though.
Keith

Julie_Poole
06-19-2009, 01:56 PM
Thanks Keith

Keith_A_Howe
06-21-2009, 04:27 AM
Thought I would bring this back to the top for others to post on for her.
Keith

Dave_Cisco
06-21-2009, 04:41 AM
For me, all elements of an image must have a purpose..a connection to all others. When I first glanced at this image, the first question I had was "Why is that piece of furniture in there"? It doesn't "fit".

John_Metcalfe
06-22-2009, 05:02 AM
Okay Julie...

Let's work from what we've been given so far. We've been talked to about the direction of light, the need to use it to direct the viewer to what I like to call the "critical focus point" and the purpose of elements in an image.

Great!

I spent a little time playing conceptually with your image. First, I cropped out the ottoman above the buttons and got rid of the wording for now... And even though I was concerned about the crop, my concentration went much more to your subject. Next, I tried to tackle the light and story matter by toning the image down. (I went in stages of about 10% from the outside in and progressively larger each time), always leaving the leg and sometimes the head of your subject untouched. It made a difference to say the least. I almost forgot, I softened the ottoman 10% along with the background.

If I were to lend a hand in your next setting I would retract the over-lighting back towards the background a bit and add an accent light behind the subject's face and front paw-side. I might even consider another behind the subject's backside. If no I might think about a reflector to lessen the falloff of light.

There's a couple more things I'd like to see happen, but let's see what you and others think first.

Cheers!

John_Metcalfe
06-22-2009, 01:57 PM
Oh... One more thing.

You said, "I personally love this image". This is one of the most common flaws in choosing images for print competition. Often times we fall in love with our images. We are intimately connected to them for many reasons. The problem is just as much as we ARE, the viewer ISN"T. They do not share the same or equal amount of bonds with the image that we do.

To prepare yourself for image competition you MUST remove yourself from the image. You MUST critique it as if you have never seen it and have no prior knowledge of how it has come to be.

I think this is the part that I excel at, "mostly due to my short term memory loss." HA!

Jack_Reznicki
06-22-2009, 05:51 PM
I'll be odd man out here in that I wouldn't make those changes to the image.
I think too many times we push images into preconceived boxes and lose some originality. I think the lighting, the background, and the stool all work together for that old time, turn of the century studio feel. The top down lighting looks like an old daylight studio portrait.
What I like is the lighting, that it falls off on the dog and that his face is in a bit of shadow. I would not add a reflector. And I like the space all around the dog. It gives me a feeling of place that again, feels like an old time studio.
I see this as an illustration, more of a commercial shot.

The only thing I don't like is the typeface chosen. Too much flourish. Makes it too hard, too much of an effort to read. I'd like to see a simpler font, but still a serif type. The long quote should be a quicker read, which this is not and so it takes away for me.

John_Metcalfe
06-22-2009, 09:03 PM
Great!

Change it, Don't change it, Crop it close, Keep it out, Text, No Text, you are going to hear it all... That's good! You want to hear them while you can evaluate your image and be able to make changes, not while it's on the Lazy Susan in front of the judges.

Take the opinions of others(for whatever they are worth to you), try them out, test them and then make up your own mind.

But do these things for me, please. Remember my writing about removing yourself from an image? Try these things (and I'll do the same). Squint your eyes at the image (down to where you almost don't see a thing) and tell us what you see first. Then turn your image upside down, close your eyes, view your print and tell us what you see first. I will post my findings after a bit or if you wish I can pm you...

Cheers!

Julie_Poole
06-24-2009, 03:49 PM
I will play with it a little more, make some changes to it and repost what I do. I value all the thoughts and opinions I get!

Julie_Poole
06-24-2009, 04:20 PM
Any better? Worse? My eye is not trained for competition, at all

http://llpoolej.smugmug.com/photos/572805925_9bU4y-O.jpg

Julie_Poole
06-24-2009, 04:38 PM
My sitting by and looking at all the images I still prefer the original, maybe with toning down of the back. it just seems to lose something(to my eye) cropped in close. I tried it with the serif style font and it just sorta looked dull. I do understand why the serif would be better and it is certainly easier to read. It just didn't seem to match

Don_Chick
06-24-2009, 05:42 PM
The last image posted does not have the feeling of "depth" the first image had.

Entering an image like this is a definite risk and will challenge most any panel. As you've seen here by the comments here, some will get it and some won't... Not a bad thing, just reality....One panel may score it high and the next won't.

Julie, keep up the nice work.

Julie_Poole
06-24-2009, 06:45 PM
I have been thinking on this for a long time. I know it is subjective and I know there is an art to print competition themselves.

I was on the tnppa page looking to join and was looking at the winners of the competition on their site. All but maybe three are heavily digitally painted. Is that what it takes to win in a competition now?

Another thing I don't understand is why images are matted on offset digital mats?

I really want to understand the whys so I can understand the hows

Keith_A_Howe
06-24-2009, 08:03 PM
I was on the tnppa page looking to join and was looking at the winners of the competition on their site. All but maybe three are heavily digitally painted. Is that what it takes to win in a competition now?
Julie The answer is NO! Regular portraits, Weddings and illistrative images do well also. When there is a treatment (painter, Lucis etc.) done to the image, the 12 elements still apply. Just because someone used a paticular treatment is not what may make it hang. Personally when I am analyzing an image with treatment I will often ask myself if the use of the treatment was an enhancement to an already impactful image? Does it add to or distract from the image? Is the impact of the image solely the result of the treatment?
Make sure any treatments you are useing is done for the benifit of the paticular image and not just because a given technique has done well in the past.

Another thing I don't understand is why images are matted on offset digital mats?
I really want to understand the whys so I can understand the hows

There are arguements to both sides of this question. Right now any non master has to enter on a 16x20 board. Where you choose to position your image on that board can add to or distract from the impact of the entry. You can use the same rules of composition on this presentation board as you would within an image. Each maker can choose to use the presentation how they want for a given image. Presentation is one of the 12 elements. Just as in most situations you would want to finish a print for your customers wall with a frame, album, gallerywrap etc. you want to finish your entry's presentation. Because of how they are displayed and the judging process, frames are not an option so the presentation acts as the frame (IMO).
Keith

Don_Chick
06-24-2009, 08:52 PM
....all but maybe three are heavily digitally painted. Is that what it takes to win in a competition now?

No it isn't .... Last year (08) I went 4 for 4 & 4 loans with portraits that have very little obvious digital manipulation. I say obvious because I took a patch off the clothes here and fixed the eye's in the glasses a bit there..

It's about the 12 elements. An image that does well meets the criteria. Look at Joe's images above. His album went loan and every image looks like its straight out of the camera. Look at his eagle in flight image... do you see obvious digital work?

Don't be discouraged, be determined!

Sorry Joe's images are in another thread about the list being posted (I think).

Julie_Poole
06-24-2009, 08:54 PM
OK, I understand now why they are put on digital mats, that makes sense.


I'm not discouraged :) Just trying to learn and understand.

Thanks everyone :)

Don_Chick
06-24-2009, 08:58 PM
Julie,

I've been thinking a lot about your image.... The biggest question I keep coming back to is why? Why is the dog sitting on the footstool? Why doesn't it look at the camera? What significance is the footstool? Why is it there? What is the story. I love the color, texture, monochrome treatment, and the composition. But what I cannot answer is "why"... What's the image all about? What's the story? I am not sure a different crop or burning down an area will answer that question.

Julie_Poole
06-24-2009, 09:35 PM
I can see that. The whole photo was really an accident and one that really resonated for a poster for rescue. I'll just keep it for that as when in that context, people make up their own story.

I'll try again with something else

Jack_Reznicki
06-24-2009, 09:58 PM
But what I cannot answer is "why"... What's the image all about? What's the story?

Don,

To me, good art makes you think.

It doesn't have to so obviously tell you the whole story. I love photos with some mystery and ones that look at something differently.
Makers, in my opinion, should be rewarded for going somewhere else and executing it well. Otherwise we get similar looking images.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents. I still like the original image.

Don_Chick
06-24-2009, 10:24 PM
Don,

To me, good art makes you think.

It doesn't have to so obviously tell you the whole story. I love photos with some mystery and ones that look at something differently.
Makers, in my opinion, should be rewarded for going somewhere else and executing it well. Otherwise we get similar looking images.

I still like the original image.

Hello, Jack.

I agree, I've been thinking about this image a lot today. And I do like this image too, it has a mystery about it that I can't put my finger on.

Some of my comments above have to do w/ PPA competition. A judge has about 20 seconds (on a slow panel) to come to a decision and enter a score! Sometimes things are missed/overlooked when one has so little time to evaluate something a little different.

As I said, I do like this image. I am trying to help Julie from my experience in print competition and judging.

Julie_Poole
06-24-2009, 10:42 PM
I just like reading the replies :)

Linda_Gregory
06-24-2009, 10:50 PM
Don, would a title explaining why help with this? I look and think this dog is where it's not supposed to be. It's in a part of the house it shouldn't be or is on the furniture and knows better but is now begging to not be in trouble. how to put that in a title is a bit beyond me...but would that take the guesswork out?

Don_Chick
06-24-2009, 11:46 PM
Don, would a title explaining why help with this?

Yes, it could help to paint a picture or explain a situation to the judges.

The best advice I ever received about titles was from Darton Drake... Capture the emotion of the image with the title.

Jack_Reznicki
06-25-2009, 04:36 AM
I agree, I've been thinking about this image a lot today.

Don,

That tells me that the photo has the power to pull an emotion.
But you are right about competition (and 20 seconds would be a slow panel).

I think, as you well know yourself, it could score high with one group of judges and way down with another. I don't think that's a flaw or knock on the judging, but rather that it's a different image that might be hard to judge.

But I still would like to think, that an effort like this should be rewarded. I think work that makes you think, that are not easy to judge, but yet stays with you, deserves praise. And encouragement to continue in that path.
I hate to see imagery being brought to a common denominator, a sameness.
When I judged the Scholastic High school photo competition years ago (which was a thrill as a former national winner myself) , there were certain images that after seeing for the 10th time, you just moved on quickly. Bums on the street, wagon wheels, and others I've luckily chased away from my memory.

I've seen images like this one by Julie being called back by judges in a competition. They score on first impression,usually low, and 15 minutes later, they call it back, because it resonates on a level.

Watching the International judging is a treat, as said in another thread. It is great to see a panel of judges discuss the harder images.
I love it :D

Anyway, just my thoughts.

John_Metcalfe
06-25-2009, 06:40 AM
I know it is redundant but here we go again; Why is it there? What is the story? I love the color, texture, monochrome treatment, and the composition. But what I cannot answer is "why"... What's the image all about?

What's the story?

---------------------------

Julie,

This next bit comes from an article I have held on to for the better part of 10 years. It has help me define my approach to competition. I hope you find some of what you are looking for in the words below.

-----------------------------

"Having looked, the viewer now must see."

The first item in an image that holds the viewer's interest is the subject matter. The subject should be apparent without delay and elicit an emotional response.

To judge, you must know what you are judging. You should be able to define art and it's purpose.

"An art image is a graphic representation of an emotional communication."

An art image is communication. The one failing characteristic in the communication of an image is the assumption that communication has taken place. When the image has to be explained, communication has not taken place.

When judging an art image, you should consider only the design that is presented to you. You should never assume. If you have to assume, the communication of the image is not strong enough to merit consideration.

------------------------------

Keith_A_Howe
06-25-2009, 02:59 PM
"An art image is a graphic representation of an emotional communication." . . . When the image has to be explained, communication has not taken place.



Probably the smartest words I've ever seen you post John . . . oh wait . . . you said you were quoting them from somewhere! :o Oh well you get 100brownie points for knowing they were well worth quoting!

Keith

John_Metcalfe
06-25-2009, 03:16 PM
Thanks Keith.

If I am not mistaken this is the lead in to a PPA hand out from 1998 concerning the 12 Elements. I thought Bob Hawkins wrote it at first, but the wording is different than what is on the site.

Randy_McNeilly
06-26-2009, 02:41 PM
Julie, as often happens with judges, I disagree with Keith.
Trust your instincts and enter this photograph as you envisioned it.
I enjoy the image working on two levels at once, a portrait of this animal and a commentary on life. As for Jack's comment on the font, it engages me, making me spend more tine analyzing the photograph. I vote merit! Hope you will give it a chance.

Julie_Poole
06-26-2009, 03:06 PM
I guess you never know unless you try :) It has been a very interesting discussion. Is there photos of the loan prints anywhere?

Keith_A_Howe
06-26-2009, 03:20 PM
Julie, as often happens with judges, I disagree with Keith.

Hey Randy Welcome thanks for your imput! By the way for anyone who doesn't know Randy is another Affiliate Juror!


I guess you never know unless you try :) It has been a very interesting discussion. Is there photos of the loan prints anywhere?

Julie The Loan collection is printed in a coffee table book each year and is available from Marathon Press. Check with some of your fellow photographers in the area to see if you could barrow a copy of a little while.
Keith

jonallyn
06-26-2009, 08:10 PM
This is an image that can be cropped a number of ways. Personally, I would crop the right side to make a slim, balanced vertical. I like space over the dog's head. Remove the text for sure. It is far too distracting for a competition image. Let the title and the image tell the story. That will help eliminate the need for a judge to compare the text to the emotion. It is a very good image conceptually. It reminds me of the work of Vedros and Hauser. Care must be taken to ensure that the technical side of it is done equally as well. For example, be careful that it doesn't look burned in from the left bottom leaving a halo around the leg of the ottoman. Jon Allyn