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| p.1 #3 · / FPJ / Tire swing and golf ball |
In the past I have enjoyed seeing your photos of your family at home and several times made comments about how much I enjoyed your photos.
My comments or suggestions below are not a criticism of you, your model, your talent or skill. I offer them in a friendly tone of voice and with the sole intent to help you with a second POV and set of eyes. If you read sincere questions and simple suggestions as "criticism" of you, then you will miss how I am trying to help you.
Of course this may be your own "style" or your own "vision" and I suppose we can assume that the images look just like they do because that is exactly how you like them. That is OK too. It just shows that there are differences of "opinion" on what looks good. IF these are exactly what you want and like, then by all means continue making your images look like that and have fun doing it. As I always say: "Follow your own muse."
One of the things I like about SOME photos showing kids playing or at home with family is the AUTHENTICITY of those images. The best show kids playing naturally, or with natural moments and expressions of childhood or family.
You used the title "FPJ" and since that is taken to mean "Family Photo Journalism" I expect the "photojournalism" rules to apply (as much as possible).
For one thing, I expect to see things as IF I were a fly on the wall observing the scene. I expect the camera to be be "invisible" and the photographer to not interfere with the natural scene or natural actions or people or expressions (no "smile for the camera") or light or postures etc. In short, it should NOT be staged.
In this case, while the photos are not bad, I was struck by the impression that this was more a "photo session for dad to make planned photos of a type that can be passed off as photojournalistic" rather than a kid truly observed playing.
So, they appear to lack authenticity to me. Rather, they look forced, staged, and artificial (some more than others, of course).
How can I say that, when I was not there?
I suppose it is because one does not see a child from so many different POV's without some "setup" or direction or planning or multiple cameras etc.
So, they may show a nice (cute/pretty) child, they may show a play ground, and they may show her climbing etc... but they also appear to me to be more about the photographer's need/want of a certain type of photo (or POV) rather than the child.
For example, take a look at image #5 (or COLLAGE #5) that shows the girl with ball from three different POVs doing the same thing (releasing the ball down a slide).
I can imagine the photographer saying: "Hold that ball there while I climb up above you...and then drop it AFTER I have climbed down to get on the ground below the slide...etc.."
Same thing with "Girl on a Tire Swing."
I don't know of any child that is natural while a photographer is BELOW the tire while they are swinging.
Lest you think these comments unfair, because you see others who claim to do FPJ posting similar photo sets (and I have not critiqued them as I have here), I can only tell you that I have the same feeling about many of those too. In this case, the examples are more clear and so I took the time to write for you and others to read my POV.
Of course I don't expect you or the others who promote "FPJ" to see it as I do.
I hope these comments help you and others who wish to photograph their children in a natural way, while using photojournalistic restraint from staging photos.