Back Modifications (3)
Views 123 Unique 55 Award Shortlist   

Tied up in String

By HelenaJ
Hi all,

I am trying to get some images together for a Still Life comp, and on the comments on my upload yesterday, someone mentioned 'Man-Ray'. I checked him out and thought I would have a go with wrapping things. This is the result and I have plans to do a triptych with a glass and cork too. At this stage I would love some critique about whether you think it works as an interesting image, whether it holds your attention, if the processing is appropriate and if it can be improved. All critique and comments welcomed, including if you think I have gone completely mad! I am trying to take photography beyond the obvious and maybe into the field of art - well that's an ambition anyway. See what you think. Thank you

Tags: Still life Bottle Wrapped


25 Oct 2020 6:33PM
I love the image but not sure if you intend it to be high key. If so I think the highlights should be a tad lighter. If high key is not your intention then I would give it a bit more contrast. I am no expert but hope this helps. Others on the site may offer more. I really like this shot and think it makes a very original still life.
dark_lord Plus
16 2.7k 710 England
25 Oct 2020 8:54PM
It's not my specialist area although I've dabbled and other members of the team will be able to offer greater insights.

My mod has a Levels adjustment yo gove a full range of tones so it doesn't look flat. Even a high key image needs a very small part of complete black to anchor the image just as a low key image needs a speck of bright highlight to work well.

my main concern is the edge of the table. It's a big distraction and once noticed won't go away. So I cropped the image as I thought there was a little too much at the bottom (nd there's a lot of creases there too) followed by a bit of cloning.
Creased backgrounds can add some texture and interest, though a plain background looks good it can be stark. Nevertheless, there comes a point when it's too much. The cloth behind the object is fine but that underneath the object could be less so.At least it's easy to see the effect of both surfaces here.

I do like the trail of string leading t the ball, I think that's more interesting than having a loose end!

Keeping things simple is important here so my modification and suggestions are minimal. For example, I've not introduced any vignettes or toning (though a very subtle sepia might look nice, or something akin to 'warm tone' darkroom paper). Different people will have different presentation ideas of course.
dudler Plus
17 1.4k 1739 England
25 Oct 2020 9:11PM
Not my area, either, but I wonder if a plainer background would differentiate it from the subject better - they are tonally and texturally very much the same. How about a plain and unscrunched piece of card/sugar paper/ cloth?
25 Oct 2020 9:34PM
I think the mod by dark_lord is a big improvement. Yes, the table edge was distracting and the mod has made the whole composition more simplified
banehawi Plus
16 2.3k 4176 Canada
25 Oct 2020 10:03PM
A brave attempt.

In hos work, the string seems to me to be important, so a high key finish may not be best, I would suggest reduced exposure, more contrast, and if in mono, a darker, more obvious string.

The mod has this done.

Good luck


HelenaJ 9 3
26 Oct 2020 8:30AM
Thank you all for your comments they are very helpful. When I took the photo I deliberately included the corner of the table but now see it with new eyes and accept that it is more of a distraction than anything. I'm going to try retaking it with an ironed sheet! Im also going to try some different surfaces and backgrounds to see what works best. Thank you again for all your comments, this kind of critique really helps me to improve my images so really appreciated.
TrevBatWCC Plus
12 13 16 England
26 Oct 2020 11:26AM
Certainly different, and a great still-life idea, Helena 👍 Think Willie's mod works best for me 😃
Trev 😀
dudler Plus
17 1.4k 1739 England
26 Oct 2020 2:38PM
Looking again (and again) is a technique that people keep recommending. I wish I could hold myself to it!
chase Plus
15 1.9k 481 England
26 Oct 2020 2:39PM
Hi Helena.
A very different image and, I do love the idea behind it.
However, it does need tidying up somewhat and the suggestions above echo my thoughts too.
The edge of the table...
The creases in the bg...
Perhaps the addition of a pair of scissors would be in order, just to add that 3rd object in the frame, although sometimes, less is so much more.
I like Keiths placement in the frame and the extra contrast/shadow that Willies mod has shown.
Detail is good, lighting is good, just a wee more attention to the content in the frame would be in order, especially the creased sheet.

I have seen some really good wrapped up images using kitchen paper and wall paper paste Wink
pamelajean Plus
14 1.4k 2166 United Kingdom
26 Oct 2020 4:48PM
I have found the comments interesting, and agree with what has been said.

I wonder if you intend for the wrapped shape to be recognised? If so, the covering could be tighter and maybe the "skirt" at its base could be drawn in. I had a look at Man Ray's work and took particular interest in the strung covered item/s. I don't think he wanted to make the contents obvious, and that's where his work becomes intriguing. The viewer has to guess. In fact he calls one of them an Enigma, another Wrapped, another The Riddle.

It's all a bit beyond me, but if you just got this idea from his work, then you can of course use the idea as you wish, and make the subject obvious. I quite like that idea. Otherwise my brain achesSad.

Lontano Plus
10 8 2 United Kingdom
27 Oct 2020 10:13AM
I like the initial concept, but feel the image lacks depth. In my modification I have used the curves adjustment to adjust the tonal range. I also agree with other comments that the table corner and background pose distractions, so have removed the table corner using the clone stamp and the iris blur to blur out part of the background.

I donít know if you have any image processing software, but there are plenty on the market, some of them free!

I suggest that, if your camera allows, you shoot in RAW. You will then have full control over the shot, without the camera processor interjecting.
HelenaJ 9 3
27 Oct 2020 10:47AM
Thank you Lontano for your suggestions. I use Nik collection, but would be interested to hear about other PS plugins that you think might help, especially if they are free.

Thank you
Lontano Plus
10 8 2 United Kingdom
27 Oct 2020 11:18AM
If, by PS, you mean you are using Photoshop with the Nik Collection, then you are in good hands. If you shoot in RAW then the Camera Raw filter is a very useful tool.

If it causes Photoshop to crash, as can sometimes be the case, then untick the "Use Graphics Processor" box in Edit, Preferences, Camera RAW, Performance.

HelenaJ 9 3
27 Oct 2020 12:28PM
Hi Dave, thank you. Yes Photoshop for me. And yes, it does sometimes crash so I'll remember that tip.

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.