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the Honourable George Smitherman, MPP -- Image # 02

By TimothyDMorton  
Same techniques as done in Hon George Smitherman, MPP -- Image # 01.

Tags: Photo journalism Mpp The honourable george smitherman

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Lou_C 12 755 2 England
26 Jun 2008 12:10PM
I think that he needs to be more toward the right of the picture, so he is talking into the space, in the same way runners/riders etc need to be running into the space.
I dont think the car in the background does the shot any favours, although its obviously there for a bit of advertising.

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zarquon 11 47 55 England
26 Jun 2008 7:38PM
This is a difficult image to do well, unless you are a photojournalist. In that case, your picture editor will, likely as not, crop your work to ribbons for reasons of space. The job is to get the image, no matter what. If this was a news image, you would probably hear from the victim, who could justifiably claim that the image is unkind (perhaps they could claim it was an integral part of an orchestrated smear campaign) and does not show them in a good light.

The image is rotated to the right and I adjusted it so that vertical lines appear to be vertical. People leaning backwards in images do not make for strong compositions. The car is unnecessary and I opted to remove it by cropping tightly. If the gentleman was promoting debate about ageing at home, then that information would appear in the caption, routinely.

The board displaying the legend 'Ontario' is also not required but if it shows the subject's connection to Ontario, then that tenuous link could remain. I would want to remove it because written words in an image tend to steer the viewer's mind to decoding the words and the impact of the image is lost.

All in all, there is nothing to say who is this person, what is he doing, why is he doing it, when was it being done and where was it happening. This could easily be anybody. The lack of catch-lights in the eyes (flash is required for outside shots, to lift the shadow detail and to put catch-lights into the eyes, or else the subject looks less than human.

Moving your own position would have removed the car and the seat from the frame and they would not have acted as competing areas of interest. I have removed some excess red from the image and cropped it to give much more prominence to the main subject. The image framing was a bit too tight and adding a little space around your subjects, will help them to breathe and make the image feel less cramped. This guy had his head far too close to the top of the image frame.

Next time you have such an opportunity, try to make a noise or call the person by name... they will look in your direction (often they will look surprised to be addressed by someone who evidently knows them) and you will have an opportunity to create a far better image.

Catching speakers like this, with an open mouth, can frequently make them look stupid. I would try to avoid doing this, unless the person is a top politician, or some other well recognised VIP. It is more benign to image them deep in thought, discussion, arriving, departing or glad-handing the reception committee.

The image lacks a bit of punch and I found it quite difficult to put sufficient contrast into it. Overall, it was a well seen moment that would be accepted by a picture desk, if there were no other images available. It would probably end up with a similar crop to mine. I think the red tail light is a distraction and short of changing your position, I would prefer the image as a straight news image, in monochrome. It reduces the problem areas and helps the viewer to see the subject matter.

A good effort that could be improved by cleaning up the scene around your subject before you shoot. Well done. I would like to see more of this type of informal capture of people in the public eye.


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