Back Modifications (4)
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By markst33    
Next months club comp is mono print with a theme of "Tradesmen". I was thinking how the hell am I going to do this, then as fate would have it my car broke down so I had to bring it in to be fixed so I brought my camera along.

400 iso using natural light only. Processed to bring out every texture available.

Tags: Mono Car Black and white Mechanic Tradesman Portraits and people

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paulbroad Plus
14 131 1294 United Kingdom
23 Jan 2016 4:40PM
So you are taking your car to this chap to be repaired? What are you driving? A 1958 Ford Pop?

Seriously, very nice. Strong and simple and of high quality. He does look like a motor dismantler rather than mechanic. I assume you were after parts.

mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.2k 2523 United Kingdom
23 Jan 2016 4:55PM
Opportunity well taken! He's a good subject in a dream of a setting. I won't comment on the mechanical side of things...

You've gone for maximum detail of the clutter. My only suggestion would be to look at a tighter crop. For three reasons:

Putting his eyes a bit higher proportionally in the frame would put them on the viewer's eye-level and give a more direct sense of a conversation going on.

You've cut off his feet and ankles, maybe cropping a bit higher would make that look less accidental, more deliberate.

And maybe cropping from the right would increase the sense that he is introducing us to his world not just sitting in front of it.

OK I'm off to see what happens...
23 Jan 2016 5:15PM
Great image, good to always have your camera with you.
markst33 13 77 2 Ireland
23 Jan 2016 6:11PM
OK, the cropping of the ankles was deliberate not accidental. The feet and ankles are not important here. I made sure that he had his hands in the frame as these are what he works with.

I was with my back to a car so could go no further back. I wanted the clutter to be all around him to show him in his environment as I was shooting to match a particular theme.

He's a panel beater not a mechanic so works with cars bodywork rather than engines. His work is quite excellent - truly he embodies the phrase "taking pride in your work" which unfortunately in our disposable cultures seems to carry a lot less importance than it should.

dudler Plus
18 1.9k 1933 England
23 Jan 2016 6:14PM
A lovely amount of detail: I'm nto sure if I would actually want a slightly more natural, darker look myself.

Moira's point is well made - my first thought was 'crop on the right' - and my second was to have less above, more below. As I can't make up what isn't in frame, a tighter crop makes sense.

Moira's mod adds to the intensity - going closer.
pamelajean Plus
16 1.7k 2253 United Kingdom
23 Jan 2016 6:33PM
How fortunate you were, Mark, and David is a very obliging model for your club entry.
So nice to see eye contact, and also catchlights in your subject's eyes.

I felt the image needed straightening, but it was hard to find a good straight line to work with. I ended up with the line on the far right of the notice board.
I then cropped the image, to hone in on all the interesting detail. I removed some from the left, top and right, maintaining your aspect ratio.
I added a bit more contast, to get some whites mainly.
I cloned out the top if a tin on the bottom frame edge.

banehawi Plus
18 2.7k 4308 Canada
23 Jan 2016 7:12PM
Very nice. The environmental shots like this needs loads of clutter, and this has that.

Great as it is. An option I would go for is much higher contrast, as well as those small(er) crops, from the top and both sides.


dark_lord Plus
18 2.9k 813 England
23 Jan 2016 9:04PM
A really nice one Mark. Sharp well exposed subject with good eye contact. The clutter just makes for a great image, and likely a way of working (I'm looking at the old wooden bench, too) that will soon disappear for good, so this works as a documentary shot as well as an environmental portrait. Come to think of it, an environmental portrait is documentary too.
While I like this as is, if i were pushed I'd just crop a fraction closer, just a bit off the right hand side so the noticeboard is at the edge of the frame. Very minor and more personal preference.
Best of luck with the competition.
dudler Plus
18 1.9k 1933 England
24 Jan 2016 1:28PM
Back in 1976, I was working for a firm that supplied ICI paints to the motor trade... The common factor then was that most people who sprayed also smoked, though not, I suspect, at the same time. Gallons and gallons of inflammable (and probably rather toxic) thinners went across the counter, along with the paint. I learned just how many shades of grey there were. And Mink Blue, and Tundra Green. Mitsubishi held the record, I think - seven or eight variations of some of their metallic colours. And the mix was critical for metallics - if the paint was thinned too much, the metallic flakes rotated during drying, and gave a poor match.

Apart from anything else, thanks for the memory!

And I learned that the best way to judge a mechanic (or a panel-beater) is by what he achieves, rather than what goes into, or exists in his magic space...
markst33 13 77 2 Ireland
24 Jan 2016 3:09PM
Thanks for all the comments folks.

A bit more background on this. David is actually my uncle but I refrained from mentioning that at the beginning as it may have an influence on people comments/critiques. He has been working out of this unit (its bigger than it looks in the photo) for more years than I can remember. He has friends who are mechanics in the garage next door so if there is something wrong with my car he looks after bangs, scratches and dings, and the other guys look after the engine side of things.

He is an extremely hard working man and has a solid reputation of producing excellent work. He is also a ringer for my Dad who passed away 3 years ago and this photo really showed me how alike they were. I sent it on to his kids (my cousins) before posting it anywhere and they all loved it so much that I sent them on the high res version to get printed.

So it was nice to have 1 photo which covers family, Competition theme and environmental portrait all in the one go.

@Dudler - glad it brought back some nice memories for you

Mark S.

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