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Archive 2013 · Idle hands
  
 
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Idle hands


Beekeeper's hands...

Thoughts?

Bob







Jan 29, 2013 at 01:13 AM
sbeme
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Idle hands


Looks good on a technical level with good choice DOF, sharpness, specular highlights. And I like the toning. Seems well-suited to the subject.
Compositionally, attention brought right to the hands nicely. But I dont know what I am looking at. Is it a label? A note, recording some readings? The paper seems key but I am curious.
Scott



Jan 29, 2013 at 01:39 AM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Idle hands


More obvious activity/message might have more appeal.


Jan 29, 2013 at 01:57 AM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Idle hands


sbeme wrote:
Looks good on a technical level with good choice DOF, sharpness, specular highlights. And I like the toning. Seems well-suited to the subject.
Compositionally, attention brought right to the hands nicely. But I dont know what I am looking at. Is it a label? A note, recording some readings? The paper seems key but I am curious.
Scott


Thanks Scott,

A segment of his bookkeeping system. The well worn box is the cash register. He records sales on slips of paper as well as in a notebook. As I moved around he patiently observed passing traffic and idly fidgeted with the pen and paper.


As an aside, the image is a test for downsizing using Perfect Resize 7.5, new upgrade (previously known as Genuine Fractals until acquisition by OnOne Software). Knowing you occasionally require large prints, you might explore the demo. And, I just now noticed several shadow areas where I should have ramped-up the preserve detail slider for shadows.


Bob


Edited on Jan 29, 2013 at 01:31 PM · View previous versions



Jan 29, 2013 at 01:04 PM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Idle hands


AuntiPode wrote:
More obvious activity/message might have more appeal.


Yes, without context somewhat pointless message-wise but might raise some curiosity for viewing and interpretative the hands as representative of the individual.and his lifestyle.

I, for one, am interested in those considerations and speculation when seeing similar images.

Bob



Jan 29, 2013 at 01:11 PM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Idle hands


It bothers me that a good portion of his fingers is obscured by an out of focus object. What he is doing with the pen and paper makes no sense without explanation.

One of the hardest things to do as a photographer is to step out of the situation and see the photograph from the point of view of someone who was not involved. Look at the work of Henri Cartier Bresson and Eugene Smith. Most of their images conveyed the situation without the need of words to give the back story.



Jan 29, 2013 at 01:20 PM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Idle hands


dmacmillan wrote:
It bothers me that a good portion of his fingers is obscured by an out of focus object. What he is doing with the pen and paper makes no sense without explanation.

One of the hardest things to do as a photographer is to step out of the situation and see the photograph from the point of view of someone who was not involved. Look at the work of Henri Cartier Bresson and Eugene Smith. Most of their images conveyed the situation without the need of words to give the back story.



Agreed, in part whats makes the challenge interesting.

Bob



Jan 29, 2013 at 01:29 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Idle hands


My reaction was similar to Doug's: The hands are not clearly seen and the context of what, why and where of the action of the hands and jars isn't communicated to the viewer in a clear way.

What's in the jars? Peaches, beans, moonshine? I can't ever remember seeing honey packed in Mason jars so that would be one of the last things I'd guess, or that he was a bee keeper.

As mentioned in other shots this is the type of situation where my approach would be to first take the totally candid "grab" shot then approach the subject, show it to them and say something like: "I captured this great shot of your hands but they are hidden from view. Would you mind posing for me for a few minutes so I can do better?" Then I'd shoot wide (for the where context), medium crop to show the context of the action, then close-ups of the hands and bottles, or a backlit shot of him holding one up to the light and examining it's golden goodness.

In my "Shooting Cinegraphically" tutorial http://photo.nova.org/CinematicApproach/ I include a story I shot that way at the Vietnam Memorial in DC. Being an introvert by nature I'd always been reluctant to interact with strangers like that but had just read a National Geographic Field Guide book by Robert Caputo on photographing people in which he suggested the approach above. I tried it and got a story I wouldn't have imagined. The lone guy at the memorial making a rubbing was there for his Dad. The names he was making an impression of (listed in chronological order of death on the wall) were his Dad's platoon-mates killed in an ambush he survived.

I never would have gotten that story if I hadn't screwed up the courage to appoach, show him the photo I'd taken candidly and engage him in conversation.

Digital makes it easier than in the days with film because that first candid shot is like a calling card/ ice breaker to start the conversation with a total stranger. Some people will tell you to buzz off or delete their shot (which I comply with) but most are glad to tell their story and flattered that someone is interested enough to listen to it and photograph it. I got his address and sent him the photos on a CD to give to his Dad along with the impression from the wall. It gave me a greater appreciation for the memorial I'd seen many times (I worked across the street from it and would walk by it nearly every day in the summer).

From accounts I've read of WPA photographers in the 30's they would sometimes do the same thing to improve the visual narrative. That apparently gets the knickers of some "PJ purists" in a twist, in one case because a chair in a sharecropper's house was moved to make it less distracting. Obviously I'm not a member of that photo club.



Edited on Jan 29, 2013 at 02:47 PM · View previous versions



Jan 29, 2013 at 02:23 PM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Idle hands


Thanks Chuck,

Bob



Jan 29, 2013 at 02:41 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Idle hands


It strikes me as a bit of an odd duck (I'll explain) kind of comp.

Normally, we travel "to" a subject. Here, it seems that we are traveling "through" the paper rather than "to" it. I get drawn "to" the hands for the contrast in their texture, "to" the box for the contrast in the grain, "to" the stripes in his shirt for their contrasting tones, to the lids for the contrast in specularity.

The leading and implied lines seem to "criss-cross" us through (or nearby) the paper, with it not quite having enough to stop us there as we are continued to be drawn elsewhere by either the continuing lines or the contrasts involved elsewhere. If it were not for passing by/through it, its scale is small enough that it wouldn't mean much, except that we keep passing by/through it as we are drawn to the other areas. Kinda like "the girl next door" (or Chuck's inference) that one passes by on a daily basis without giving much attention to. But then, one day she catches your attention just a slight bit differently and your curiosity is heightened and you begin to wonder how much more there is to the story that you've previously passed by so often.

Normally, the augmenting movements are linearly aligned. Here, it seems that they are radial to the paper, where we are being drawn "outward", yet get pulled back by/through for a different "outward" tug. This is the "odd duck" that I was referring. I'm somewhere between serendipitous incidental and sublime genius on this radial relationship to the larger scale elements.

I realize the title is currently "Idle Hands", but going back to my mantra of "What's the point?" "What's the message that you want to convey to your viewer?" I'm inclined to think that the current title is an incongruous misnomer for reconsideration. The central location, the tonal value and focus of the paper along with our perpetual travel by/through/around it call to me for a different title.

To me his hands aren't idle, they are tending to something. The title starts us down a different path, and I think I get the "misdirection" that is striving to develop an intrigue as to what he is/was doing with the paper ... but I think the title direction to the hands being idle serves to confuse a bit as we can see / imagine otherwise that he has either already written something, or is waiting to do so. For me, the intrigue is in wondering what he has / will be doing. Suggested title in the "hmmm" stage, atm.

Compositionally, I might consider cropping some to change the weighting/balance to place the paper in a less static position as we move about the frame. While certainly not all the lines in play, here's a few to illustrate how one can go toward, then right on past the paper on to something else without stopping, yet repeatedly coming by/through ... kinda like a hub/spoke relationship.

HTH ... if that makes any sense. BTW, what's your early take on Perfect Resize 7.5 compared to PS?

NOTE: I'm not suggesting this "radial" is wrong and should be changed, just dissecting why I keep "hangin' around" on this one while it doesn't "jump out at me". I'll likely keep this "radial" as a nugget with potential for the right (I'm thinking similar diminutive/sublime) application.







Jan 29, 2013 at 04:22 PM
 

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Bob Jarman
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Idle hands


RustyBug wrote:
It strikes me as a bit of an odd duck (I'll explain) kind of comp.

HTH ... if that makes any sense. BTW, what's your early take on Perfect Resize 7.5 compared to PS?

NOTE: I'm not suggesting this "radial" is wrong and should be changed, just dissecting why I keep "hangin' around" on this one while it doesn't "jump out at me". I'll likely keep this "radial" as a nugget with potential for the right (I'm thinking similar diminutive/sublime) application.


Understand I'm not arguing with your analysis, but I think you've over-analyzed it, or at least parsed down to a level to which I have no desire to drill For me, it is a spontaneous action capturing a moment of time that I happen to have found interesting (for whatever reason), with of course some input on my part - the techy stuff. If it is all techy stuff and no spontaneity, no fun in that.

Perfect Resize - 7.5's interface is much improved, faster performance - very much LR4-like IF. My limited experiences: up-sizing far superior to PS; downsizing, easier to use with better (fewer artifacts/sparkles) but bears watching on final output until I've learned its idiosyncrasies. Does canvas wraps, tiles, etc. easily.

Regards,

Bob





Jan 29, 2013 at 06:29 PM
Eyeball
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Idle hands


My Reader's Digest condensed critique:
- Hands aren't idle
- Jar is in the way
- Nice exposure, toning, and focus




Jan 29, 2013 at 06:33 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Idle hands


Bob, no worries.

My spontaneous response ... doesn't hold me (even though I'm wanting it to) ... I was just trying to figure out why/why not.

+1 @ Dennis

Bob Jarman wrote:

If it is all techy stuff and no spontaneity, no fun in that.

+1



Jan 29, 2013 at 06:37 PM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Idle hands


Bob Jarman wrote:
...but I think you've over-analyzed it...

98% of photos posted here end up over-analyzed.



Jan 29, 2013 at 06:57 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Idle hands


dmacmillan wrote:
98% of photos posted here end up over-analyzed.


and 2% get over-over-analyzed.

I guess we could always just say "like it" or "don't like it" and call it a day.



Jan 29, 2013 at 07:09 PM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Idle hands


or





Bob



Jan 29, 2013 at 07:24 PM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Idle hands


RustyBug wrote:
I guess we could always just say "like it" or "don't like it" and call it a day.

Perhaps we could strike a happy medium (or median, if you prefer) between "like it" or "don't like it" and over 1200 words about a snapshot of a child in a bathtub.



Jan 29, 2013 at 08:26 PM
Skarkowtsky
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Idle hands


Doug, I lol'd. So true, my friend.

As a still life photographer, I can add that immediacy in a photograph cuts right to the essence.

Since this is a beekeeper, maybe his hands are at rest with, say, hundreds of bees crawling over them? Then the title has an immediate connection and some humor to it, as well.

Then, I don't think it would matter if he was a beekeeper at all. Anyone who sees the photo will relate to it because none of us would sit idly by if bees were on the swarm.



Jan 29, 2013 at 10:47 PM
Eyeball
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Idle hands


One thing I have to continually remind myself is that an image can be a great memory and not necessarily a great photograph. And you know, I don't think there is a darn thing wrong with that as long as the intended audience consists of people who are going to appreciate the memory.


Jan 29, 2013 at 10:59 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Idle hands


One thing about the critique ... for me at least ... I always aspire to offer something of value to our fellow FM'ers who have asked us for some assistance. We all know that I can be a bit "verbose" and analytical in my own manner. I frequently ask myself if I'm "overdoing" it.

Sometimes it is a short & sweet +1 @ others, sometimes it is quite a bit more than that. I do try to be cognizant of the balance between the two. That being said, if I need to pull it back because I'm frustrating or annoying my fellow FM'ers ... shoot me a PM or two. It can be kind of tough for me sometimes to know where the line is between explaining my thoughts and simply giving my thoughts ... the former being the longer of the two, but with both intended to be helpful for those who are asking for input.

It can be a bit of a guess sometimes to know what the OP is asking for ... particularly when they post "Thoughts?" I guess for me, that is kinda like opening the flood gates at the Hoover Dam.

Sometimes you're spot on ... sometimes you miss by a country mile.



Jan 29, 2013 at 11:10 PM
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