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A Simpler Life III

By Camairish    
Thanks for all the critique/modifications on my last two uploads of this image. I've tried to take on board what I can and have re-shot the room with a different focal length/perspective.

I'm not trying to trick people into thinking the image is real. I'm more interested in creating something that looks as if it could be real, but warrants closer inspection because the picture they're looking at has an element of surrealism.

The room I've used is modeled on an abandoned croft house room I photographed a few years ago. I'm attempting to invent a scenario as to how the room may have looked when lived in. Ultimately I'd like to show the original image alongside the 'fake diorama' for context.

As before - all impressions, opinion and criticism would be welcome.
Thanks, Ian.

Tags: General

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Twister 7 4
10 Mar 2015 11:46PM
Definitely surreal, toy like but an earthy feel. Great capture, well composed.


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PranavMishra 7 52 18 India
11 Mar 2015 1:00AM
seeing someone for the third time always brings respect and admiration..
I do think those oranges there on the sofa are distracting..

I like his studious mood, the general setting of the room, which indeed give the idea of an ascetic life.. love the colors in this - blue floor adds life, yellow wall for a beautiful color contrast as well..
I understand he is a worker, as suggested by the over-all..

overall a fine image.. his posture is important, which is perfect and holds the maximum attention, as required..
tonyguitar Plus
8 77 37 Canada
11 Mar 2015 1:05AM
Surroundings of simplicity and solid design can offer a lot of personal comfort. Compared to my electronics gadget filled nest,...this is paradise. TG
TanyaH Plus
17 1.3k 409 United Kingdom
11 Mar 2015 11:02AM
I never thought for one minute you were trying to 'trick' anyone, Ian; mess with their eyesight, yeah, but trick? Nah, I love stuff like this Grin

I actually like these images so much because they make me stand back and think. My eye's tell me one thing but the brain's shouting something else and that's always a good thing in my mind with photography and imagery. It's not about what we photograph, it's how we put it all together that counts!

Here, the scenario is definitely messier and less ordered, which is good. It's more realistic and 'normal'. The mop casually stuck in the bucket, the elements on the table, the box of onions on the Chesterfield ... it's like 'life, interrupted' and is therefore something we, as the viewer, can relate to.

I honestly don't want to critique this in a way, because it IS a creation from the imagination. It's those little oddities that actually make it, for me Smile

However, seeing as you've asked for opinions and comments again, here's my thoughts ...

The figure is very sharp, when compared to the rest of the room (apart from the plane that the onion box is on). Not a bad thing, but it does increase the illusion of reality/non-reality.

There's something slightly odd going on with his feet ... like they're melting into the floor. Maybe more definition there?

The width of the ceiling and wall panels is, perhaps, slightly overlarge for that proper sense of realism. But then again, it's one of the things that makes the brain think, so is good in many ways.

The slightly open window, with a slight sense of condensation (pure luck or astute judgement on your part?) is brilliant; it gives a real sense of reality ... sunny day = warm kitchen = open the windows to let some air in!

Is it worth opening the door a crack as well, and perhaps shining a light or something through from the other side, to give another sense of reality? Might work, might not, but it's a thought.

Like I say, it's actually hard to 'critique' this and in lots of ways I don't want to. It is what it is ... and therefore I really appreciate the skill that obviously went into creating it Smile


[Edit: another thought ... have you got a model cat lurking in your box of tricks somewhere? Every kitchen should have a cat ... or a dog ... Grin]
11 Mar 2015 12:54PM
I think your head is slightly oversized, no offence intended Ian, maybe it is that size.
It's a wee bit like the footballer player cards many moons ago.

I did have to look twice before I twigged.

Camairish 14 1.4k Scotland
11 Mar 2015 1:48PM
Thanks Tanya - fantastic input again. I agree totally with the figure/feet comments - I've found the feet the hardest part to get right for some reason. As soon as I open the image the figure looks too sharp then my eyes accept it, I'll tinker with feathering his edges a little more and reducing his contrast.

I've left the door closed because in the original it's hinged that way but the only doors I could find hinged the other way! I am planning to use the 'additional light' idea in the next set up though.

Thanks Dougie - lovely to hear from you! I do have a big head (and my wife will agree) but it does look rather huge here now you come to mention it.. I'll try to shrink it a bit and revue the results.

Thank you all for the valuable input.
TanyaH Plus
17 1.3k 409 United Kingdom
11 Mar 2015 2:05PM
I've just thought of something else as well, that you could try for next time ... how about matching the time you take the image to the time showing on the clock on the wall? I can't remember whether you said you used natural light or artificial light to do these setups, but if natural light, then there'd be a sense of continuity and 'rightness' that could further mess with the viewer's head ... ?? Wink

I wouldn't feather too much if it were me, as I think that sharpness of the figure actually enhances that 'Borrowers' feel to the image. I loved the concept of little people living under the floorboards when I was a kid ... and probably spent far too much time looking into dark corners and under things, just trying to glimpse them. But that's what this image of yours reminds me of.

banehawi Plus
15 2.2k 4123 Canada
11 Mar 2015 3:00PM
Certainly better in a lot of ways.

The relative sharpness of the figure does jar somewhat for me.

I would think a smaller figure again would work better.


dudler Plus
16 1.1k 1642 England
11 Mar 2015 5:25PM
There are two things that mess with my mind here.

One's the surreal feel, and that is entirely good. I welcome it.

The other's digitally mashed depth of field, which just looks unnatural, and - well... wrong.

This is territory I'd never dare enter, so I'm very discountable: but coming from the above thoughts, maybe it's best to keep all effects firmly in either the 'mess with their minds' or the 'as natural as possible' categories, and avoid the 'can't decide' and 'digitally weird' areas...
pamelajean Plus
14 1.3k 2131 United Kingdom
11 Mar 2015 5:44PM
Hello again, Ian.
Is really gratifying to see you working on advice and altering some things in an effort to improve this very clever manipulation.
As Tanya says, we didn't think you were trying to trick us. It's just that it's always a good idea to give as much information as possible in your description box so that we know what we are dealing with and can hopefully help from that point instead of trying to figure out if the image is "real" or not. On the contrary, I admire your creativity here.

Several points have already been covered.
I notice that the only difference betweebn the first and second versions is the reduction in brightness of the man (you).

You have blurred the background in the third version. Although this works in many respects, it doesn't work so well on the items that are close to the man because it makes him look even more like a cardboard cut-out. Can you see how he seems to zoom out of the image?
I had no qualms about most of the room being in focus, there's no reason why it shouldn't be.

Now we have more window and no sink, and although I like that idea, your man has become placed quite centrally in the frame. I preferred the off-centre placement.

You've done well to get the vertical wall panel lines a lot straighter than before.
You've moved the crate of fruit from the chair to the couch, into the light. Because it isn't blurred and is brighter, it pulls the eye away from your man. However, I quite like it on the couch, because it looks like it has just been brought indoors and plonked there.
The bucket and mop is an interesting feature and fills that gap well.
The patterned chair seats have disappeared, and I don't think that's a bad thing, they were a bit fussy.
The clock is showing a different time, so I assume you can change it if you want to.

I think this is coming along nicely, but I'm not keen on the blurred background.

Camairish 14 1.4k Scotland
11 Mar 2015 9:49PM
Thanks everyone - you have all been a great help. I've learned a lot about the direction I want to go in with this type of image/theme. I need to get away from this photograph now so I'll post a final edit in the normal gallery later.

Will probably be asking further advice if I sum up the energy to make another room.

Cheers, Ian.
Chris_L 6 5.5k United Kingdom
6 Apr 2015 2:37PM
The way the light falls on other things in the room, such as sofa and table, it looks soft and diffuse.

It's more contrasty / shadowy / less diffuse on the man. Compare the man's clothes to the carpet. I think he needs a little mask feathering as cut out is a bit too sharp. You could possibly add after blur to him, I might try a mod but not easy without having original files.

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