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Beauty is only skin deep

By Andyknight
Hi this is my attempt at street photography. My camera club set subject for street photography which always makes me nervous.

I took this gent in Edingburgh at the fringe this year when my wife popped into the chemist he was sat outside of. I thought there was some irony in his position and wanted to capture this.

any help in maybe a better title or processing would be appreciated.

Tags: Photo journalism Black and white Portraits and people

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Chinga Plus
11 3 2 United Kingdom
21 Sep 2015 11:29AM
A very emotional photo, I like what you produced... The details of the dog bowl and water for the dog even though the man has got nothing, the man's position leaning forward and the contrast of the posh shop and the subject... I wouldn't change a thing...
nonur 13 18 13 Turkey
21 Sep 2015 1:41PM
Wonderful juxtaposition, excellent mono.
banehawi Plus
17 2.7k 4282 Canada
21 Sep 2015 2:05PM
Welcome to EPZ and the critique gallery. Youve recently joined, so I will point out that in the critique gallery we try to provide constructive feedback, and you forego voting.

I wonder if the camera club subject was particularly a person living on the streets?

Street photography should, if possible tell some sort of story, and this does. There is also somewhat of a ethical question about a shot like this in my mind, and I would like to think that you made some sort of monetary contribution to the man for the photo.

Both the person and the dog seem to be sad, and we often see people living on the streets with animals as companions, and for comfort.

The technical part of the image is not bad; the bright pats are very bright, and it might be how youve converted from colour to mono, assuming it was shot in colour? There is some evidence of perhaps cloning, or repeated patterns on the paving that might be due to post processing, Im not sure, but it tends to stand out for me. I could be wring, perhaps there is a line there that seems a bit like noise.

The depth you needed was shallow so you could have been ok at f/2.8 and a lower ISO? Placing the pair less centrally might be a better composition, as the scene behind him and to the right tells the story without needing that left area.

I will try a mod to show what I mean. If you din happen to shoot in colour, and you still have it, we like if you also upload it so we can provide feedback on mono conversion; you can upload right here on this page by clicking the modifications tab (where you will also see mods) then clik Upload modification, then select your colour version.

Check back shortly and there will be a mod for you.

Regards, and enjoy the site

21 Sep 2015 2:36PM
Just to add that this was indeed taken in colour and in post processing I merely made a color conversion to black and white. Some cropping as the subject was more central and slight vignette. There was no cloning or other cleaning needed.

I would like to thank you all for your comments I really do appreciate them. I will load up a colour version in a short time as I am away from home at this time.
21 Sep 2015 2:37PM
Sorry yes I did make a donation to him but he wasn't very talkative.
21 Sep 2015 3:27PM
Thank you for your mod. i havnt ever tried a square crop before instead trying to use the thirds rule etc. but i like your mod better than my original. i have attached in the mods two images the colour and another i tried by desaturating it to leave some trace of colour. i ruled this one out as i didnt think the colour added anything to the message.
paulbroad Plus
14 131 1293 United Kingdom
21 Sep 2015 4:02PM
This is very good in most respects but he is still too central. Better recomposed in the first place putting him rather nearer the left side as he is facing right. A trim off the bottom too.

I have to say I never dnate to street beggers. Many are better off than they admit and most can afford a dog. Just my opinion.

mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.1k 2476 United Kingdom
21 Sep 2015 5:30PM
I avoid the camera club scene but I do approve of the idea of setting a challenge that is outside people's normal comfort zone - it makes us look afresh at the world, reconsider technique. This is my comfort zone in a way...

Welcome to the site, I should have said that first. I spotted your Kelpies shot in the Gallery and liked it a lot.

Street photography, so what is it about? Finding stories, as Willie says. I also see it as seeking out the relationship between people and their environment, and the relationship is often sad and ironic as here.

As a discipline - it's a good idea to look for a strong linear composition, the man-made world gives good lines and angles. Then look for or wait for random, untidy humanity to bring the lines to life. But just because the human element is important you don't have to place it centre-stage. That can seem intrusive, prying. Show people as part of the bigger picture. I hope this makes sense.

An interesting element here is the reflections of anonymous legs in the window on the right. I would like to place the man on the left, with more shop window and more of the reflected scene on the right. The shop sign is telling but his situation is more poignant when viewed in the context of the passers by, hurrying past him.

Willie has mentioned aperture - my concern would be the other side of the equation, shutter speed. When grabbing shots on the hoof, so to speak, you need a relatively fast speed for safety - unless you are specifically going for motion blur. I would feel happier here with 1/160 second, and a larger aperture with careful focusing.

Just things to think about next time. Street photography does make you think.

Enjoy the site, it's a good place!
banehawi Plus
17 2.7k 4282 Canada
21 Sep 2015 6:06PM
Thanks for getting back Andy, and also for the original. We love people like you who we can discuss images with!

The areas I thought were cloning spots are caused by ISO noise, which I can see in the colour version; which is perhaps aggravated by re-sizing and cropping close. It also shows you were a lot further away that the image suggested, which is also good to see.

I did upload two mods, one the colour with a similar crop, and then a mono that may have some more tonal range to it. I had to put that big frame on to meet the minimum pixel count for the site, and I actually like it. My colour mod has a warmer tone, which you will find normal for me, as AWB produces blue toned images by design.

I like the reflected legs as Moira pointed out too, it anonymous, but also the world just passing by. That image in the window of the model sitting works well when included I think, one on a chair, one on the ground.

Look forward to more images.


21 Sep 2015 6:31PM
Thanks again Willie and to Moira. This is giving me more to think about and I like it. I guess the fact that we are all anonymous it's easier to question things. I will certainly look a little longer at my. Stock when processing and in my composition. I guess I tended to take a broader shot so I can play with the composition in post processing. I should consider this more at the time of taking it.

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