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Jeff, i respect you as a photographer, was just my opinion, my take on it.
Good that the gradation is only on jpeg. I seen adobe to introduce a lot of gradation and discoloring, never seen it from a MF body. only small cameras. Wouldnt guessed you used MF body for it (so bad it looks to my eyes - technical geek, ignore it).
I didnt meant size of eyes, but that he looks with each eye at different spot. Even if i look at it from 10ft i still have not have this eye contact as i would have being 3m from him. I use for closeups almost exclusively 300-600mm lenses. On MF body i dont have so big lens, my longest is 150, which converts to about 80mm so i always tell the people to just look beyond me and wait for my moment. I shift camera and look at them from 3-5m away. This one was how far? Perspective breaks the eye contact for me.
Please also take it as IMO only, you are not a newbie and you might be exactly getting what i am missing.
just a discussion point, not meant to change your style or tell you i know more.