Marj Merges Beautiful. Honest. You. {and me}

Individual Critique

I was talking to a friend last night and she suggested I take a shot at explaining why I like the shots I do.  I spend enough time on my intern blog elaborating on my shortcomings and why things didn’t work as I would have liked. And I spend a lot of time not talking about the photographs because I don’t know what to say beyond: here you go, here’s a photo.  But I rarely deconstruct a photograph I like in a way that could enlighten us all in the workings of my thought process.  So, I’m going to go for it with my favorite photographs from a recent shoot of fellow intern Jen and her boyfriend, Dave. So here we go, my own personal critique.

Okay.  So for me what makes this shot is Jen and Dave’s body positions in relation to each other.  The success of this shot came from many more that didn’t work out.  And not surprisingly, this was part of the series of last shots we took on the wires.  Sure, first I had to get the exposure right and the placement of the lighting.  But if that’s all I had done it wouldn’t be a favorite.  My intention was to form Jen and Dave into one shape as opposed to two related but disconnected ones.  So that’s what we did.  Tweaking the positions of legs, arms, faces, etc.  Here’s one of these less successful shots.

In this case the shot was about figuring out the right relationship of bodies, constructing a dynamic pose that was more than simply two people hanging out on some wires looking at each other.

This photograph I like because I think it makes the viewer a little uncomfortable.  You feel like you have to physically look around Dave to see Jen.  I almost feel like I’m trying to physically move him.  What makes this photograph interesting is that tension of a frame disproportionally weighted in Dave’s favor yet the eye contact comes from behind him, the figure he almost doesn’t allow us to see.  It also helps that Jen’s eye is pretty close to the top corner of the grid of thirds.  To see what I mean imagine dividing your frame into thirds both horizontally and vertically; those points where your horizontal and vertical lines intersect can be very powerful in a photograph.  Jen’s eye is pretty close to one of those intersections.

This shot is broken into thirds horizontally, the wall taking up about a third of the frame with Jen and Dave’s bodies taking up the other two thirds.  But breaking your frame into thirds doesn’t make a shot.  In this case the hands make the shot.  The hands the seem to be flirting with each other.  The hands that seem to be relaying secret messages between the two of them.

Perhaps you have different opinions?  Feel free to express them in the comments…

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