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The Amazing Stories Behind Pictures: Places, Events, Poetry, Works of Art Some pictures have far more to see than what is immediately obvious. It's also a window and a library of whatever went before. Tell us this and so we'll be taken beyond the picture deep into the nature and feelings that will buttress the pictures and pull us to come back.

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  #1  
Old September 19th, 2012, 06:11 AM
Sam Hames Sam Hames is offline
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Default A Tale of Two Demonstrations

Tom Dinning commented on my blog that I don't photograph people much - and when I do they're off in the distance. It's an interesting comment to me, and points out something obvious - I'm not interested in being in the thick of things. I like hanging back and observing. I think a certain distance (literal and metaphorical) is important when I photograph.

This little photo captures that well - it has a certain Distance about it - it feels right to me. How well does it come across?


On the left - a quaker silent vigil for piece.
On the right - a socialist ... something? I couldn't work out what it was about. The megaphone you can see was only useful to make their voice unintelligible.
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Old September 19th, 2012, 12:58 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by Sam Hames View Post
Tom Dinning commented on my blog that I don't photograph people much - and when I do they're off in the distance. It's an interesting comment to me, and points out something obvious - I'm not interested in being in the thick of things. I like hanging back and observing. I think a certain distance (literal and metaphorical) is important when I photograph.

This little photo captures that well - it has a certain Distance about it - it feels right to me. How well does it come across?



Sam,

Immediately I see contrast between impressive geometrical shapes in architecture and possibly interesting people but nothing is isolated or defined. In particular, there's no sense that this is about demonstrations. Added to that, the picture is at an angle which is not helpful in having us pay attention.

Tom has successfully photographed this pair of elements, (architecture and people) in his pictures from Darwin. There, just one person, in each case, passes interesting architectural facade and each one worked well. Here, however, because of the distance you look for, there's so much more included. You tell us we can identify two groups of activists, the Quakers in vigil on the left and the socialists crowded into the the right. That's a great subject and should be engaging. From the outset, some distance must be expected or else a wide angle lens to capture so much at once. Including many sub scenes of human activity has a very well-esteemed place in art. These painters would have used a wide angle lens had they been photographers. The most celebrated, perhaps are the works of Pieter Bruehgel the elder who's paintings included almost aerial views of villages with 20 or more more separate groups of people in some clearly shown activity. Your work, however lacks such clarity, except for the Quakers. Also, your buildings contain distracting over-abundance of incomplete but still spectacular in architecture. These take too much attention from the people illustrated! The crowd on the right seems to merge with what at first look like a bus stop with long buses but actually are likely to be stores with canopies.

So I do like very much your goals here, but believe you might enjoy returning to try some more angles and see how to simplify the composition. I'd love to see further work!

Thanks for sharing.

Asher
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Last edited by Asher Kelman; September 19th, 2012 at 05:40 PM.
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Old September 19th, 2012, 02:35 PM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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This little photo captures that well - it has a certain Distance about it - it feels right to me. How well does it come across?
Quite frankly and on that particular picture: not very well. Not only the people are far away, but it is not clear what the subject is. It is possible to take pictures from that distance, but then the surroundings become part of the picture and need to play a role in the message that the picture convey.

BTW: Tom comment is true, but if you look at his latest post (e.g. "Darwin"), you will notice that he is not very close from his subject either. His observation may not mean that he believes that you should be closer.
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Old October 10th, 2012, 10:54 AM
Rahul Sharma Rahul Sharma is offline
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Hey Sam,
The distance you are trying to acheive is a commendable quality. What makes me think this photo could be better is the fact that it is too busy.
Now I read a lot of things going on in the image, and most are things that you did. I like the backdrop mirroring the activity of the trivial looking people, amongst other things.
But, I wonder if you could envision this image in a simpler form. My art teacher in high school told me to do this activity which might interest you. He Told me to redo this gaudy looking painting from the 1700's into abstract minimal forms. Think big blocks, triangles and whatnot.
I tried using that approach on this photograph, and I couldn't get a result that satisfied me. The buildings have a lot going on amongst themselves, and the people are busy too.
Maybe consider doing a radical crop?
Just my two cents.
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Old October 10th, 2012, 11:59 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Hames View Post
On the left - a quaker silent vigil for piece.
On the right - a socialist ... something? I couldn't work out what it was about. The megaphone you can see was only useful to make their voice unintelligible.



Sam,

This needs to be taken with two shots with powerful enough flash to overwhelm the daylight and make a night scene. That way, the demonstrations would be seen and dominate the picture. One could also wait for more audience for the demonstrators to interact with. at present they are isolated.

However, the concept is an important one and I'd be on the look out to remake this at the same location as for sure this is likely to be a popular spot for protests. Timing is the key, so one has to discover when it gets busy so you can have a better chance for success.

Asher
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Last edited by Asher Kelman; October 10th, 2012 at 05:29 PM.
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  #6  
Old October 10th, 2012, 03:52 PM
Tom dinning Tom dinning is offline
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Hi Sam.
Here i was thinking I was pissing into the wind with my comments. I'm chuffed.
Firstly, my comment about the lack of people or their relative distance was an observation, not a criticism. You have the capacity to capture the nackeness of a place and the observational distance you use detatches you from the scene as well. Again, this isn't a criticism, its an observation. My belief, for what its worth, is that it suist your purpose very well. Having followed you blog for a while now I see you as an observer not a participant in your surroundings, and a casual one at that, almost unintentional, as if you are a visitor wnadering aimlessly and noting the peculiarities of the culture around you. I find it interesting, unique and stimulating to think that there is someone out there who sn't intent on producing photos like everyone else for some aethetic reason but for your own purpose.

As for this photo, I could probably troll through my stuff and find a shot of the same place, probably occupied with the same socialist group. I think I recognise the chick with the megaphone.
What a great shot!! The loud group with their backpacks and table shouting into the crowd who are intent on getting acroos the road out of ear shot, the 4 quakers staring off into the wilderness in silent prayer, the gap in between the two groups, the fat chick seemingly crossing over and the old quaker looking at her as if to say "I think we have one". The starkness of the geometry outlines this aspect of the scene with the 'stairway' to heaven off to the left with the guy providing a guide to how to get there. And finally as the perfect backdrop, the city with all its business and order, seemingly unaware of what small dramas occur below.
As for your timing. Its perfect. Thats because you were ther and so was this scene and now we know that. Knowing what you do, it couldn't be better.

As a final comment, what I have read here is a series of comments about how others would like to see things. Too busy, not busy enough, straighten this cut that out, come back later, all relate to how others would like to see you photo. think its a far better approach for you to take the photos as you see themm and let us do the work in finding our own value.
A[pologies about the spelling. I'm working in the dark here. Christine is still asleep, Shhhh!
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Old October 10th, 2012, 05:42 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Hames View Post
Tom Dinning commented on my blog that I don't photograph people much - and when I do they're off in the distance. It's an interesting comment to me, and points out something obvious - I'm not interested in being in the thick of things. I like hanging back and observing. I think a certain distance (literal and metaphorical) is important when I photograph.

This little photo captures that well - it has a certain Distance about it - it feels right to me. How well does it come across?

On the left - a quaker silent vigil for piece.
On the right - a socialist ... something? I couldn't work out what it was about. The megaphone you can see was only useful to make their voice unintelligible.
Sam,

For me, at least, The distance is well established, but the content is not. unfortunately, the picture does not easily show what's intended, except by study.




Tom,

You get the credit for Sam's picture and as I've said, the concept is sound and interesting but not yet fully delivered to most of us.

It seems on the surface of it, that you of all the most unlikely people are actually pandering, implying that what Sam did, "told you what actually happened" and so it's all hunky dory! I've never seen this come out of the Tom Dinning we've got to experience with great pictures, acerbic bluntness, derision and even self-devaluation to boot! Either you were drinking because Christine wouldn't wake up or else you were suffering a senior moment!

Well, Sam intended to make a picture, not for a detective agency, but to be interesting and draw us in. It just doesn't do that, and you know it! It's not how I would shoot the picture that matters, it's simply how to get his idea across. If you got it in a "Paul from Tarsus" moment of divine revelation, fine, but that beam from heaven apparently doesn't know where the rest of us hang out!

Asher
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Old October 10th, 2012, 06:29 PM
Tom dinning Tom dinning is offline
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So how is it interesting to me and not to you, Asher? I'm certainly not one to admit I'm the one who has it wrong so it must be you. And just because you have a backup crew doesn't make you any more correct. It just makes you all very narrow in your approach to photography and SAMs photographs especially. I am not suggesting Sam's photo is some sort of masterpiece worthy of holy praise. I'm just suggesting its a great example of what Sam does. As well as that I enjoy the search when viewing the photo. It's like being at home. It's always a bit hard to find the story but I like hard. Personally, I find them far more interesting than a naked girl on a bed. You don't need to be a detective or be drawn in, just hesitate for a moment and look.
Sure, Sam might be considered a bit amateurish in his technical approach or a bit bland in his composition or framing. But I'm not looking at it for those qualities. That's for people who can't read photos and need to look at the wrapping.
I praise Sam's photos for what he is doing, not what I would like him to do. It's a part of his philosophy and I can relate to it more than most here. Mind you, he has no dress sense and keeps a very untidy kitchen and I'd hardly call him a stud, but ****, you can't have everything, eh Sam.
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Old October 10th, 2012, 06:37 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by Tom dinning View Post
. I am not suggesting Sam's photo is some sort of masterpiece worthy of holy praise. I'm just suggesting its a great example of what Sam does. As well as that I enjoy the search when viewing the photo. It's like being at home. It's always a bit hard to find the story but I like hard. Personally, I find them far more interesting than a naked girl on a bed. You don't need to be a detective or be drawn in, just hesitate for a moment and look.

Tom,

So you meant what you said and that's good! You have your well-honed own taste and that I knew! The explanation works better. You don't need to vote with the gang. After all, we all could be wrong! Seeing, "how Sam sees", is a good approach and that, after all is the intention of the forum, not to change work to what we'd do. Still, Sam wanted to know how this picture worked with us and so with that opening, he got honest reactions from all.

Asher
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  #10  
Old October 10th, 2012, 11:29 PM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom dinning View Post
Having followed you blog for a while now I see you as an observer not a participant in your surroundings, and a casual one at that, almost unintentional, as if you are a visitor wandering aimlessly and noting the peculiarities of the culture around you. I find it interesting, unique and stimulating to think that there is someone out there who isn't intent on producing photos like everyone else for some aesthetic reason but for your own purpose.
The vast majority of pictures are not aesthetic. I suppose that there are over 3 billion people on this planet producing photos for their own purpose.
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Old October 11th, 2012, 02:58 AM
Mark Hampton Mark Hampton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Hames View Post
Tom Dinning commented on my blog that I don't photograph people much - and when I do they're off in the distance. It's an interesting comment to me, and points out something obvious - I'm not interested in being in the thick of things. I like hanging back and observing. I think a certain distance (literal and metaphorical) is important when I photograph.

This little photo captures that well - it has a certain Distance about it - it feels right to me. How well does it come across?


On the left - a quaker silent vigil for piece.
On the right - a socialist ... something? I couldn't work out what it was about. The megaphone you can see was only useful to make their voice unintelligible.
Sam

there are more windows than people in this image.

By its self - it has interesting sections and seems to hold you in if you want to look. i guess that is the problem people may have with this image. they need to want to look - its just an image of a bunch of people and buildings to some.

it could work well as a punctuation mark in larger sequence of your other pictures. the different view you provide here with people would be a contrast to your closer in work.


cheers
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