Back Modifications (3)
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The roadside musician.

By PradyothChakraborty
I took this shot at West Bengal, India where there is a clan called 'BAUL'.
They leave their home and detach all earthly attachments and spent their time in songs praising the mystries of God. A such man is seen here in front of a temple.

I feel the red bag is most misfitting thing in this frame, it is destracting the eyes of a viewer. I did not dare to clone it out, as I am very poor in post proccessing. Do you agree with me?

Tags: Portraits and people

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


LynneJoyce Plus
10 20 99 United Kingdom
19 May 2012 9:03PM
The bag is distracting because of its colour, but it would be very simple to reduce its impact by desaturating the colour. I would have done this for you happily, but I am away from home at the moment and have only my iPad with me.

Distracting as the bag is, the portrait of the man is compelling.

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pamelajean Plus
12 1.1k 2023 United Kingdom
19 May 2012 10:16PM
Was his music good, Pradyoth?
I can see that you had bright sunlight to contend with, but you did well to avoid too much burn-out on the musician's white clothing. The glass in the pictures is, however, quite bright. He is sitting under a tree, which probably provided a bit of diffused lighting for you.
It's good that he is looking at you, which helps the viewer to engage with him, too. You have placed him nicely in the left of your frame and, although he has bits and pieces around him, which help with understanding what the image is about, your background is clear of clutter and distractions. You have a bit of empty space on the right, which I feel could be cropped.
In my modification I rotated the image clockwise to straighten it because the man and tree are tilting to the left. I then cropped, reduced highlights and lifted the shadows. I used the burn tool on the pictures to reduce their brightness.
I desaturated the rucksack to make it less obtrusive. I wouldn't clone it out because it's part of the story of the picture.
My second modification shows the rucksack turned blue. I selected it and used the hue/saturation>colorize at low opacity.
NEWMANP 10 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
19 May 2012 10:27PM
its all part of story, may be the bit that makes it interesting is the contrast between the simplicity and the modern day bag and bottle of water and sandels.

i like the arangement with the mysterious pictures but from a practical point of view, including everything has pushed the man well over to the left side of frame without much on the opposite side to balance the composition , although i actually like the use of negative space, here i feel that the complex background isnt working to its maximum potential.

it may have been more favourable to move around a little to the left and take a less frontal view, this would make the figure more dominant and introduce more of a diagonal perspective into the shot which is generally more striking and creates more interest.

the biggest problem that you encountered here is the contrasty light which has resulted in the face being slihhtly darker than ideal, yet the whites on the edge of blowing out the highlights. looks like a little fill in flash could have been usefull.

i also think it would have been better to lose a few inches on the right to gain just a little more space on the left.

very interesting subject though
puertouk 6 1.1k 17 United Kingdom
19 May 2012 11:40PM
HI there, nice image from a totally different culture. I though some of the colours were not balanced, the red necklace around his neck was way too bright and the red bag. I put the image into Photoshop, changed the colour of the bag in hue/saturation with colourize and made a beige colour that I thought blended in with the tree and the ground. I removed the water bottle with the clone stamp tool as it made the image look cluttered, then I went into the layers panel and copied the background layer > blend mode > soft light > opacity 80%. I used the burn tool to reduce the bright red necklace. Hope you like the mod.
I do not actually agree with you! While the red-bag is not necessarily a match with the rest of the elements in the photo, however it doesn't look artificial either and when looking at the photo, I could tell the bag was just is naturally there and owned by the subject... it really helps telling the story:

"An old typical Indian fella, with his guitar, praising the mysteries of God! And where else to fit all that stuff he's got next to him? In his red bag right??

I think the photo could however benefit of a slight increase in contrast. If you are too concern for the red color on the bag, you could also try converting it to black & white. This is something I normally do when the colour in the photograph, it is simply not relevant to send the message accross. I would only leave the color in cases when in plays a fundamental role in the whole.
alansnap 14 577 26 United Kingdom
20 May 2012 1:02PM
I really don't mind the red bag, though you need to bring out a bit more detail in the shadows. I am reading about a blind Baul at the moment in William Dayrymple's Book Nine Lives. It's fascinating to see that he's selling CDs to help make a living.

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