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"My husband died from lung cancer"

By pablophotographer
Another visit to the hospital, an overcasted sky, a woman sitting on her own, a bus stop, a pool of rain water and a pack of cigarettes.

The picture seen is turned upside down, I thought it was easier to the viewer to grasp it. Would it be better cropped square, or a bit from the top? HMmmmmaybe. I think it could also do with more contrast.

Was it difficult to understand the message of the picture if it had not had the title? What are the feelings generated in you when you saw it? It would be inetersting to know.

I don't have any sort of image manipulative software, my computer is on repair. I would appreciate any manipulation along wiith the critique.

Thanks for your time folks (I hope the word can contain the female photographers too) Smile

Tags: Loss Photo journalism Woman Death Cigarettes Black and white Bus stop

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


banehawi Plus
11 1.3k 3345 Canada
21 Feb 2013 8:58PM
It really does need contrast pablo, as theres no black in it at all, - its grey. Unless this is your intended effect, contrast works. I would also crop it, - theres a lot of space at the top thats not really contributing to the shot.

Upside down is a good idea, - I flipped it and it made no sense.

For me, there is no connection between your title and the image at all. It needs something to bridge the shot to the feeling, perhaps a that pack of cigarettes needs to look more like a pack of cigarettes? Its hard to make out what it is.

To me it does look like a woman sitting waiting, - for a bus, for something.

remember, men can have husbands these days too !

Loaded a mod. I hope you can see the contrast difference my friend.



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21 Feb 2013 9:16PM
Thanks banehawi. Do you think it would be easier to grasp the connection if the packet was darker?

I miss not being able to use the Kodak BW400CN due to my poor vision. I was hoping to bring the packet looking like it sits next to her, as if her hypothetical late husband, but I missed the target.
paulbroad 8 108 986 United Kingdom
21 Feb 2013 10:32PM
I think you would struggle to get a connection with this unless she was actually holding the packet and the 'Smoking kills' was visible. Your image is over exposed and very flat indeed. You need to darken and increase contrast and you are going to struggle without a computer.

You 1/15 second is a long shutter speed and there is a touch of shake in there. You are on manual, so how are you metering, and from what? The Panasonic is, I think, a bridge camera with a long zoom, so I think you may be pushing things a bit if hand holding.

Without a computer, you must be shooting mono in camera?

21 Feb 2013 11:33PM
Hi Paul. It is important to me to understand the viewers understanding from the composition so I can work on the concept.
It would be so nice to master the camera too, lol. Gee, SLR and films were so more simple Smile
I didn't feel comfortable to get close, I tried to shoot from a point that my reflection was not visible in the water, or I didn't look "weirdo" to the people waiting for the buses.
If she held the packet, the thougth of loss, death and absense would disolve like thin (smoking) puff....
I think I might had arranged it to look like that so that the brand isn't recognisable.
Yes, I do shoot black and white straight form camera. It has a grainy film setting but it doesn't allow you to make arrangements on shutter, or aperture, it is completely automated in that setting... apart form image shape and ISO and lighting, if I am not mistaken.
I keep the image stabilization system on, apart from when I mount it on tripod, but results are as poor as my vision.There was no tree or lamp-post to support me so my option was to set the ISO to 400. I think after that point noise comes in.
banehawi Plus
11 1.3k 3345 Canada
22 Feb 2013 1:03AM
The packet closer and clearer. And, just an idea, if you were able to take a large shot of the packet with the warning visible and overlay it on this, it could be very powerful.

If you want to do it and need help, let me know.


22 Feb 2013 10:04AM
yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! (or yes please, formally) Thanks for coming back banehawi , I woke up with the same idea, wondering if this can happen (a reversion of white to black of the packet), I am not sure if normal members can download the modifications, I would very much appreciate if you could mail it to me after finding time to do it and upload it here.

I suspect it's getting late now in Canada. Enjoy your resing time, I am not in hurry.
mrswoolybill Plus
9 838 1368 United Kingdom
22 Feb 2013 3:07PM
To my eye this definitely needs a square crop, I'm not on my usual computer either but I'll try a Mod. The problem for me here is that because of the format my eye is reading the image up and down - it's what portrait tells us to do; whereas the actual message runs sideways, the relationship between the packet and the figure. Square links them.
Good idea to flip this - and interesting in effect because reflections flipped to 'the right way up' are usually more puzzling, unexpected - whereas this makes immediate sense.
22 Feb 2013 3:44PM
thank you mrswoolybill Smile
I normally shooy on a 3:2 format and square, on this occasion I went for 4:3 so I don't include much of the people sitting next to her, one on each side. It was the water pool that way so as it was cutting off her head, while it was visible if rotated 180degrees, so because i wanted to make it look nore natural, I roteted it. By all means your modification is welcomed. Could you please let me know if the message was straightforward? did it generate any feelngs?
mrswoolybill Plus
9 838 1368 United Kingdom
22 Feb 2013 5:35PM

Quote:Could you please let me know if the message was straightforward? did it generate any feelings?

Yes I should have said - there's sad irony here and it's a case of an image that really needs the title. They work together.
My father and father-in-law both died of smoking-related conditions, I guess I'm predisposed to understand this.
24 Feb 2013 3:11PM

Quote:. The problem for me here is that because of the format my eye is reading the image up and down - it's what portrait tells us to do; whereas the actual message runs sideways, the relationship between the packet and the figure. Square links them. Moira

Interesting insight forreading the format shapes Moira. I remember once being approached by two freshmen psychology students in uni to choose between two identical pictures displayed side by side, I had my very personal and completely different from their biased reasoning that we read from left to right. With so many inetrnational students they should get reliable data if they were displaying the pictures to me top to bottom, (hey now I am thinking of it, that still has its flows, we do write from top to bottom sometimes in my language) left to write to the Asian classmates (who normally write top to bottom, but read right to left as well horizontally) and side by side to the few Arabs who studied there too, because the write right to left (and probably verictically, taht would be interesting to know how they would read it). Hmmmm all the psychologists and psychiatrists I know have long taken their degrees, BAs, MAs, PhDs, PostDocts...

To be honest I thought that reading a picture is based on the light, when and where this is the case. Must be an archaegonal instict of survival, go where there is light so you can protect yourself better...
ugly Plus
7 5 56 United Kingdom
24 Feb 2013 5:26PM
A good image with power but I do like the way Mod one has been done

I took a look back through your work, even though this is a old post it caught my eye, I did a similar photograph to this after researching this guys work I Found it worked best in colour for me personally, as having colour in the puddle attracts the eye, especially if it's like an orange or red tone as its one of the first colours the eye see. Have a look at Gavin's work might give you some food for thought.


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