View Full Version : Up and Down
11-05-2010, 11:49 PM
11-06-2010, 06:57 AM
Up is junk and down is great, and I cannot explain, why? I'll ponder on it. Talk a little about these photos within the context of the series.
11-07-2010, 11:11 PM
I'll dismiss the junk remark until you've explained it.
These are part of an even bigger series than I've posted here in the last few weeks. It stretches back about 2 years or more. The original plan was to document the deterioration of old houses in my area. This particular set is at an old horse farm that consists of a number of buildings, including barn with attached addition that served as a house, stables and sheds, the house shown here, and another that was burned down about 2 years ago. I began shooting there last year. I've been there about half a dozen times. Every time I go, things change. Stuff is moved around and the place continues to crumble. To see more go here. http://s433.photobucket.com/albums/qq51/mrchile35/Decay/?start=all
and here, http://s433.photobucket.com/albums/qq51/mrchile35/hdr/?start=20
Nearly all of the photos are from this farm until you get to the pano of some old tires, which are from another spot. The windows near the top are from my own old house and are posted here.
Dirty Windows (http://forums.popphoto.com/showthread.php?622409-Dirty-Windows)
After the tires is another set of images from about 2 years ago when I started this series. That house was torn down this past summer.
As I photograph these places I begin to form an attachment to them, and I mourn their passing. It seems a waste to let such fine old buildings fall into disrepair.
Up is actually a less than successful HDR. Even with all of the exposures, I still couldn't prevent the sky that shows, from being blown out. I'm not sure that bothers me much though as it's the state of the building I'm trying to show. I may have a re go at blending the images. Down is a redo of a previous shot with a wide angle lens done last year.
11-08-2010, 08:50 AM
I agree with Alex and I'll explain my own reasoning. The sky isn't the problem in #1. I think the problem with #1 for me is that there is nothing in it that draws my attention. I guess I've seen too many staircases in my life. The only thing of interest is the curve at the bottom of the stairs and that is just lens distortion. #2 is more abstract. It has more interesting curves and lines. Some of that is the lens and some of it appears to actually exist. The presence or absence of memories and attachment can make a big difference in the subjective appeal of photographs.
Technically I see nothing to complain about. The blown highlights in #1 do not bother me.
11-09-2010, 12:39 PM
I like #1, to me after looking at it, it sort of has an M.C. Escher look to it. Looking long enough, it looks like the wall at the top of the stairs is a landing at the bottom. ( yea, I know the steps would be goofy) but I still like it
11-10-2010, 11:14 AM
I see what you're saying JW. Maybe if i were to emphasize what's at the top of the stairs since it's about up?
Thank you John, interesting take. It seems that all stairs are about up AND down.
11-10-2010, 11:44 AM
I think it's worthwhile to look at the differences between 1 and 2.
In 2 you have a stunning unique perspective, so well emphasized by the fisheye that curved the prominent straight lines of the stairs and the support beam. It is a striking photograph, in which everything works together: the lighting, the composition, the distortions, the texture -- everything.
Most of it is missing in #1, and no matter how you slice it, there's no unique perspective in it. It leaves me with the impression: you've seen one -- you've seen them all. No amount of PP will change that, because even great PP will only emphasize a great idea. But when the idea is not there -- there's nothing left to do.
And for the reasons stated above, I consider #2 masterful and #1 trash.
11-10-2010, 05:02 PM
OK Alex, but I still feel a need to have an"up" concept. Any other ways to shoot this that wouldn't say, seen one seen 'em all?
How about another angle? Hmmm... I may have an idea. If it pans out, I'll give you a show. If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them.
11-10-2010, 05:26 PM
You have a window there. Through the window? It will give you a chance to try multiple framings eliminating all sorts of thing and focussing on the essense. Who knows...
11-12-2010, 05:16 PM
I've come back to these several times, John. As usual, your b&w conversions have plenty of texture and contrast. In either, I still can't get past the curvature caused by the lens (too much time as an engineer, I guess). Of the two, I prefer the first. Escher was my first impression as well. The thing that bothers me on that one is the leftward tilt. Your composition in number 2 is good, but that keyhole effect keeps throwing me off.
Having said all that, my opinion is highly subjective. The technical aspects of each shot are right on--the rest is left to the artist.
11-12-2010, 06:34 PM
I have nothing serious to add except I too am a carpenters wife which makes me see this as a bit "curved" and "tilted".
I DO love your textures here. I think the first with the can on the stairway is great. Alex has a novel idea with shooting from the outside looking in. Your lighting is amazing.
I just glanced through your other "decay" photos and they are terrific (of course, I'm biased since this is my favorite subject to shoot as well)
Re, these two: #1 as shown doesn't do it for me as much as #2 does. I'm not sure it's the light at the top, though. I see details that might work on their own more than as parts of the whole. Example-as mentioned, the can on the steps. With that in your lower right quadrant and then the crop only including the steps around it, you might have an entirely different "statement". Ditto using the window on the left as a major part of the image.
Also, the fisheye doesn't work on #1 but it gives #2 a very cool surrealness. Perhaps because it was shot from under the stairs, so the details aren't getting in the way. I think a fisheye lens works better with the overall orientation of the image is in one direction-in #1 you have both horizontal and vertical competing and neither wins. (hope that made sense!)
11-13-2010, 07:07 PM
I agree; the fisheye look doesn't work on #1. I don't care for it on #2 but it's less objectionable.
11-13-2010, 08:41 PM
To me, there are two ways to look at these. One is to look at them as separate efforts. In this case, like others, I find myself drawn to #2. Down has an Esher like quality as well as a picture within a picture that makes this shot grab me by the throat and demands my attention. Up is okay. I will disagree with Alex that it is not trash. However, if your am is to create compelling images, this does not make the cut. Like mash potatoes without gravy, it will keep you alive, yet it does not inspire.
If you look at these as a group of connected works, then a "Down" demands an "Up", does it not. It is a shame that "Up" does not measure "Up" to "Down"
11-14-2010, 11:58 PM
Thank you for all of the input. I see that I'm going to have to work on UP. I may be able to re-shoot this week. I'll keep all suggestions in mind. I may end up with a several Ups.
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