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Toxic Masculinty?

By Relic01  
First real attempt at a creative self portrait. single speed light camera right with 24" soft box.set at 1/16. chose the 35 mm so I could still reach my shutter release cord.

Tags: Self portait Portraits and people Low key test Toxic Masculinity



paulbroad 15 131 1294 United Kingdom
23 May 2019 9:10PM
The actual quality is pretty good although I'm not sure I would call it a self portrait. I would crop much tighter to the head and the M16 is barely recognisable. I would remove it. I can get a link between gas mask and gun, but not sue about the cowboy hat?

Relic01 11 8 Canada
23 May 2019 9:39PM
Thanks Paul, Americans are often called "cowboys" in a derogatory manner hence the Stetson.
Lol, I only called it a "self portrait" because I posed and also took it, you're right, not exactly in the true sense of the word.
pablophotographer 11 2.1k 440
23 May 2019 10:14PM
Hi Relic.
This is good. Well, actually, what I saw, at least, IS good. I'd better explain myself. I noticed the stetson and the mask. Only. It was paulbroad who noticed the gun. But I saw this on mymobile screen and I bet he saw it on his computer screen.
I think the gun is on the dark side, it might had be more prominent if it was from the side where the light comes from. Or if your light was pointing at "13 minutes to" rather than "5 minutes to".
The picture makes sense without or with the gun. Without it it looks like a comment on the methane gas produced by the cattle.
With the gun, it looks like someone is ready to face the Apocalypse set to hit the Sleeping Gulch of the Free States of America, namely "The Government" which has torn apart the Union of Free Patriots.

A Canadian mocking the Americans?!!!
That isn't new, is it?

Posed and executed well. I would try it with a flag flaming in the background in colour and without the flag in mono.

banehawi Plus
18 2.9k 4347 Canada
24 May 2019 12:24PM
I like this, and I get the hat too. Good effort.

I think you look too friendly! I would try to make the overall effect a bit more menacing, and have tried this in two mods. The mono may be the better one.

A more work ragged hat if you had one is worth trying.


pamelajean Plus
17 1.8k 2283 United Kingdom
24 May 2019 7:35PM
Nicely done, Mike, and the lighting enhances the atmosphere.

I like miptog's modification because it simplifies things, whereas your version without the gun isn't as dramatic, mainly because you're not looking directly at the camera, but sideways on.

I can't help thinking that you could have taken a picture of the mask, hat and gun, and then used PS to add the eyes. SimpleSmile.
Best to do it in-camera, though.

Relic01 11 8 Canada
24 May 2019 11:45PM
Thanks everyone, I have some ideas to enhance the menacing feel
mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.8k 2595 United Kingdom
25 May 2019 9:22AM
Yes, I get the idea, it's a good one and worth further exploration.

My immediate feeling on opening this was that there's an uneasy mix of symmetry and asymmetry. That could be positive - but as a composition this looks lop-sided, which is partly down to deep shadow hiding the gun.

I tend to think that the gun is a complication too far, it's unnecessary. The combination of mask and hat is enough. Don't drag the viewer's attention away from that.

Anyway I had a play with a radical crop to just concentrate on asymmetry; plus mono with a hint of slightly eerie toning. I lightened a bit, particularly on the eye.

I hope we shall see more of this.
dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1999 England
25 May 2019 2:17PM
Sorry - I missed this the other day.

Asymmetry clashing with symmetry could add to the uneasy feel you're going for.

I'll just add the idea of narrowed eyes to the mix... A tighter crop is good - as is the idea of a remote release - many cameras now allow a smartphone app to do the job, but you can probably also get something that plugs into a socket somewhere on the camera.

Neat work.
pablophotographer 11 2.1k 440
25 May 2019 3:00PM
Hi Relic, I have just seen your tighter photo. I give it a BIG NO!

How you can suffer suffocation in a gas mask? Only if they poison you with mustard gases and square frames!

There is plenty of room to bury the corpses.

It does make sense, but not everybody gets it.


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