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Another go at analyzing an anonymous "famous" photo
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May 30, 2022 20:21:17   #
NickGee Loc: Portland, OR
 
There was an interesting thread about a month or so back in which we (the viewers) were asked to comment on and critique a photograph by Ansel Adams (Moonrise Hernandez New Mexico), but with the stipulation that we should treat the photo independently of anything we know about Adams, etc. That was a tough assignment since, among other things, Adams is a bit of a god here on UHH, and because the photo is so damn famous.

I'd like to try this again but with a far lesser known photo, by a photographer whom I've never heard mentioned on this site (so may be unfamiliar to many here). It won't be completely anonymous I suspect since I'm sure some of you will recognize the photo, or may recognize the style of the photographer (especially if you're a street photographer). If you do know the photo and/or the photographer, please don't drop a spoiler on the thread. I think the exercise of having a blind critique is a really good one and I'm hopeful we can learn from it.

You can see that the photo breaks many of the rules of photography that we've had drilled into us, but we also know that it's okay to break the rules if you need to in order to get the result you desire. How do you rate the rule-breaking on this one? Thumbs up or thumbs down? And why?

I think it will be great fun analyzing, dissecting, deconstructing this photo. Have at it!



Reply
May 30, 2022 20:26:51   #
mwsilvers Loc: Central New Jersey
 
NickGee wrote:
There was an interesting thread about a month or so back in which we (the viewers) were asked to comment on and critique a photograph by Ansel Adams (Moonrise Hernandez New Mexico), but with the stipulation that we should treat the photo independently of anything we know about Adams, etc. That was a tough assignment since, among other things, Adams is a bit of a god here on UHH, and because the photo is so damn famous.

I'd like to try this again but with a far lesser known photo, by a photographer whom I've never heard mentioned on this site (so may be unfamiliar to many here). It won't be completely anonymous I suspect since I'm sure some of you will recognize the photo, or may recognize the style of the photographer (especially if you're a street photographer). If you do know the photo and/or the photographer, please don't drop a spoiler on the thread. I think the exercise of having a blind critique is a really good one and I'm hopeful we can learn from it.

You can see that the photo breaks many of the rules of photography that we've had drilled into us, but we also know that it's okay to break the rules if you need to in order to get the result you desire. How do you rate the rule-breaking on this one? Thumbs up or thumbs down? And why?

I think it will be great fun analyzing, dissecting, deconstructing this photo. Have at it!
There was an interesting thread about a month or s... (show quote)


I've never seen that image before but I really like it. It a very fast paced urban scene with everything and everyone moving in a blur. I lived and worked in Manhattan for many years and this images evokes strong memories and emotions.

Reply
May 30, 2022 21:27:25   #
luvmypets Loc: Born & raised Texan living in Fayetteville NC
 
Like mwsilvers, I have never seen this photo nor do I know who the photographer is. My first thought was that this photo was probably taken in the late 50's or early 60's. Clues being the shape of the bus, the year models of the cars and men wearing hats; how often do you see fedoras today.

What caught my attention next was the primary colors: red bus, yellow cars, blue hats and coat. Then the diagonal balance: bus using 3/4 of the frame from the top left towards the right and the people using 3/4 of the frame from the lower right towards the left with a car in the middle.There is also the use of foreground, middle ground and background. I commend the photographer for seeing all these elements come together and capturing it. The woman's blond hair is distracting and feels out of place with the more somber colors in that area.

The motion blur of the cars tells you this is not a static scene; a world in motion; a single frame of daily life in that era.

This photo does not appeal to me; it wouldn't be hanging on my wall. If not for the compositional and color elements I listed above, I would pass this by if I saw it hanging in a gallery.

JUST MY OPINION!

Dodie

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May 30, 2022 21:28:19   #
SuperflyTNT Loc: Manassas VA
 
So what I see a typical judge saying about this is “I don’t know what subject is. Is it the people in the foreground? Is it the bus?” That kind of critique drives me crazy. I think you could certainly crop and process differently and make either the subject but I also think neither change would be as strong. I think everything in the image is important to the story. I agree that it captures the bustle of a morning in the city, the motion of the bus, the taxis zooming by, (including the tail end of the first taxi really adds to urgency), the people waiting just so they can hurry. I like the image. It doesn’t blow me away, but I like it.

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May 30, 2022 21:39:57   #
mwsilvers Loc: Central New Jersey
 
SuperflyTNT wrote:
So what I see a typical judge saying about this is “I don’t know what subject is. Is it the people in the foreground? Is it the bus?” That kind of critique drives me crazy. I think you could certainly crop and process differently and make either the subject but I also think neither change would be as strong. I think everything in the image is important to the story. I agree that it captures the bustle of a morning in the city, the motion of the bus, the taxis zooming by, (including the tail end of the first taxi really adds to urgency), the people waiting just so they can hurry. I like the image. It doesn’t blow me away, but I like it.
So what I see a typical judge saying about this is... (show quote)



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May 30, 2022 21:44:09   #
mwsilvers Loc: Central New Jersey
 
luvmypets wrote:
Like mwsilvers, I have never seen this photo nor do I know who the photographer is. My first thought was that this photo was probably taken in the late 50's or early 60's. Clues being the shape of the bus, the year models of the cars and men wearing hats; how often do you see fedoras today.

What caught my attention next was the primary colors: red bus, yellow cars, blue hats and coat. Then the diagonal balance: bus using 3/4 of the frame from the top left towards the right and the people using 3/4 of the frame from the lower right towards the left with a car in the middle.There is also the use of foreground, middle ground and background. I commend the photographer for seeing all these elements come together and capturing it. The woman's blond hair is distracting and feels out of place with the more somber colors in that area.

The motion blur of the cars tells you this is not a static scene; a world in motion; a single frame of daily life in that era.

This photo does not appeal to me; it wouldn't be hanging on my wall. If not for the compositional and color elements I listed above, I would pass this by if I saw it hanging in a gallery.

JUST MY OPINION!

Dodie
Like mwsilvers, I have never seen this photo nor d... (show quote)


I agree with your likely timeframe, late 50's/early 60's. The bus is an old Mack from the 1950's.

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May 30, 2022 21:45:16   #
lukevaliant Loc: gloucester city,n. j.
 
car is a 57 chevy

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May 30, 2022 21:47:51   #
bkinnie Loc: Pennsylvannia, living in Florida
 
Looking at the yellow car, the general shape is of 1955 through 1957 Chevrolet. The movement is blurring the details suggesting speed. The color scheme suggests it's a taxi. The men's hats and topcoats suggest the late 1950's or early 1960's. This is a great street shot of the era.

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May 30, 2022 22:04:09   #
Bill_de Loc: US
 
Looks like a picture I tool when I was 7 or 8 years old, with a camera that had no adjustments. If I was to take it today I would be thankful for the delete button.

My imagination isn't good enough to consider this as more than a mistake.

---

Reply
May 31, 2022 00:24:36   #
srt101fan
 
NickGee wrote:
There was an interesting thread about a month or so back in which we (the viewers) were asked to comment on and critique a photograph by Ansel Adams (Moonrise Hernandez New Mexico), but with the stipulation that we should treat the photo independently of anything we know about Adams, etc. That was a tough assignment since, among other things, Adams is a bit of a god here on UHH, and because the photo is so damn famous.

I'd like to try this again but with a far lesser known photo, by a photographer whom I've never heard mentioned on this site (so may be unfamiliar to many here). It won't be completely anonymous I suspect since I'm sure some of you will recognize the photo, or may recognize the style of the photographer (especially if you're a street photographer). If you do know the photo and/or the photographer, please don't drop a spoiler on the thread. I think the exercise of having a blind critique is a really good one and I'm hopeful we can learn from it.

You can see that the photo breaks many of the rules of photography that we've had drilled into us, but we also know that it's okay to break the rules if you need to in order to get the result you desire. How do you rate the rule-breaking on this one? Thumbs up or thumbs down? And why?

I think it will be great fun analyzing, dissecting, deconstructing this photo. Have at it!
There was an interesting thread about a month or s... (show quote)


I'm not familiar with the photo, but the style and muted colors lead me to believe I know who the photographer is. I like the image very much. All about movement. Details are suppressed to emphasize the visual elements - bus, cars, people - in a way that conveys the sense of movement. I find the subdued colors very refreshing at a time when we are constantly bombarded with overly vivid color schemes.

[Thank you for your interesting topic, NickGee!]

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May 31, 2022 01:59:48   #
rook2c4 Loc: Philadelphia, PA USA
 
I'm not sure what rules are being broken here.

Of course, art has no rules - only suggestions.

Reply
 
 
May 31, 2022 06:06:20   #
User ID
 
NickGee wrote:
There was an interesting thread about a month or so back in which we (the viewers) were asked to comment on and critique a photograph by Ansel Adams (Moonrise Hernandez New Mexico), but with the stipulation that we should treat the photo independently of anything we know about Adams, etc. That was a tough assignment since, among other things, Adams is a bit of a god here on UHH, and because the photo is so damn famous.

I'd like to try this again but with a far lesser known photo, by a photographer whom I've never heard mentioned on this site (so may be unfamiliar to many here). It won't be completely anonymous I suspect since I'm sure some of you will recognize the photo, or may recognize the style of the photographer (especially if you're a street photographer). If you do know the photo and/or the photographer, please don't drop a spoiler on the thread. I think the exercise of having a blind critique is a really good one and I'm hopeful we can learn from it.

You can see that the photo breaks many of the rules of photography that we've had drilled into us, but we also know that it's okay to break the rules if you need to in order to get the result you desire. How do you rate the rule-breaking on this one? Thumbs up or thumbs down? And why?

I think it will be great fun analyzing, dissecting, deconstructing this photo. Have at it!
There was an interesting thread about a month or s... (show quote)

No isea what rules are being broken and I dont know whose photo that is.

It strikes me as a mildly interesting exercise in time, space, and color. Ive seen much better, including my own:


(Download)

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May 31, 2022 07:08:48   #
jaymatt Loc: Alexandria, Indiana
 
Bill_de wrote:
Looks like a picture I tool when I was 7 or 8 years old, with a camera that had no adjustments. If I was to take it today I would be thankful for the delete button.

My imagination isn't good enough to consider this as more than a mistake.

---


A bus, a ’55 Chevy, and people--all blurry. Supposedly famous or not, I’m with Bill_de on this one.

Reply
May 31, 2022 07:31:28   #
Stephan G
 
NickGee wrote:
There was an interesting thread about a month or so back in which we (the viewers) were asked to comment on and critique a photograph by Ansel Adams (Moonrise Hernandez New Mexico), but with the stipulation that we should treat the photo independently of anything we know about Adams, etc. That was a tough assignment since, among other things, Adams is a bit of a god here on UHH, and because the photo is so damn famous.

I'd like to try this again but with a far lesser known photo, by a photographer whom I've never heard mentioned on this site (so may be unfamiliar to many here). It won't be completely anonymous I suspect since I'm sure some of you will recognize the photo, or may recognize the style of the photographer (especially if you're a street photographer). If you do know the photo and/or the photographer, please don't drop a spoiler on the thread. I think the exercise of having a blind critique is a really good one and I'm hopeful we can learn from it.

You can see that the photo breaks many of the rules of photography that we've had drilled into us, but we also know that it's okay to break the rules if you need to in order to get the result you desire. How do you rate the rule-breaking on this one? Thumbs up or thumbs down? And why?

I think it will be great fun analyzing, dissecting, deconstructing this photo. Have at it!
There was an interesting thread about a month or s... (show quote)


I do not recognize the shot nor the possible photographer. I agree that the shot does suggest the period being possibly between the late 1950s through the mid 1960s. It does highlight three forms of transportation with the colors separating the forms. In my mind, I can see this as a background for a play that uses the suggested period piece worked on stage.

As a stand alone, I find myself hard pressed to see it as one shot without having some anchoring aspect in the shot. I have viewed many paintings ranging from realism to surrealism and used my experience over the decades. But I have not been able to find any "starting point" to any story in this shot. It is too "atmospheric".

One possible story can be the social attitudes to females. But I will admit that it is stretching. The woman's black coat, her blond hair color, and her relational position to the crowd of males.

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May 31, 2022 07:38:20   #
Tjohn Loc: Inverness, FL formerly Arivaca, AZ
 
'55 Chevy 210 sedan, and why I hate the steel and concrete canyons, even today.

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