Imperfection – A Self Critique

While it is not as if my output has been perfect to this point, this image suffers from the worst combination of poor composition and a subject that is not very interesting, certainly among anything I’ve put up for some time. Basically, it’s just a boring photograph. But I am posting it for a couple of reasons. First, I have reviewed the images I took during my walk under the M Train in Ridgewood on Sunday, and every other photo is worthy of publishing here. There are no clunkers. They are not all outstanding but all are good. Sometimes I took two sets of brackets in one spot, making a slight adjustment of composition, or focus, and I will only process and publish the better one, but other than that I am going to publish the entire output from my walk, in order. I have never done such a thing and did not want this to be the only exception. ¬†Second, some of the flaws I see in this image are ones I tend to repeat, and maybe if I confront them by writing about them I will fix them. Third, I happen to think that yesterday’s image was one of my best. I just love the way it came out, so that, in my brain, gives me permission to publish something of a dud.

So what are the issues here?

  • It just isn’t that interesting a subject. That’s ok. It was worth shooting, and maybe if I had made more effort I could have turned it into something truly worthwhile, but I didn’t. I was drawn by the big crack in the outer casing of the building, and thought that it and the hose attachment fixture could act as anchors on either side of the image.
  • With that idea, however, I mucked everything up. I had the 14-24mm lens on, wide open at 14mm, and got close, but should have pulled back a bit more and straightened out. I do this all the time. Shooting a wall with a wide angle at an angle works, but not in every instance. Come back tomorrow for a more successful example. If you are going to shoot from an angle, you need something interesting at the far end. It can be another wall that juts out at an angle from the one you are shooting close up, a door, some object or person located near the horizon, or the horizon itself. But this is just a short stretch of wall shot off-angle to no good purpose.
  • I cut off elements with no good reason. The black graffiti that appears to be “AA” should either be in or out of the image. The same goes for the two panels in the upper left quadrant. ¬†Given my lens and the limits of the location, both should probably be included completely. If I just moved a bit to the left, took one or two steps back, and squared up, this image would have a better chance. It still would not be a fascinating subject, but it would be better.

I tend to think that squaring up my frame with a wall is boring, but that is not always the case and I need to get over it.


This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and perspectives on this image. I look forward to seeings what you have in store for tomorrow.
    Jason Hines recently posted..Furniture For SaleMy Profile

  2. It’s good to learn from your less than best photos. But I think calling this one imperfection actually gives it more artistic meaning, like you deliberately shot it this way as a statement about the area as a whole.
    Kristi Hines recently posted..Piping Inside the Back RoomMy Profile

    1. You’re close, Kristi. A double meaning was intended, but not so much for the area as a whole but for the big crack in the wall. It’s funny how I often agonize in trying to come up with a title, while other time it comes easy and, I think, really enhances the image.

  3. Funny Mark – you know I’m a big fan of posting my less than stellar work for the same reason you did. It’s educational. However looking at the shot, I can think of 4 or 5 crops that would be compelling. Granted they would be more abstract, but still cool to look at.

    Of course…that’s post processing magic and not to take away from your point about better ways to shoot it.
    Tom Baker recently posted..POTD- CLEMy Profile

  4. Interesting critique Mark, though I would never come up with that as I love the image, since graffiti, texture and all that fun stuff are things I enjoy shooting too. Great stuff! Thanks for sharing. Jim

  5. We all tend to be our own biggest critics Mark. I appreciate you sharing the image and insight! Looking forward to the rest of the walk!

  6. Hmm, Mark, I hear what you’re trying to share with us here and for that I am appreciative, but I have to say I really like the shot. Yes, it might have been a tad more interesting with more in the frame but I find the textures on the wall there and the green water attachments widget to really be rather interesting. I ain’t going to lie to you and say this is the best work you’ve posted, but I DO love this photo!
    Toad Hollow Photography recently posted..Quwutsun Cultural &amp Conference CentreMy Profile

  7. That you post something that you think is not indicative of your best work, and then self critique it is a manifestation of your generosity with your peers, Mark. I do agree with you, this could have been executed differently, but just that realization is a part of the self growth process. I also am attracted to similar scenes when I come upon them, but many times in my excitement I fail to slow myself down, and take my time composing the image or trying alternative angles. This kind of image is only successful when we are deliberative of the process, and really study the subject before pressing the shutter release.
    Wayne Frost recently posted..The Seth Thomas ClockMy Profile

  8. Nice self critique. I’m looking forward to the better example come tomorrow. I like that you took the time to process this, then critique it and share it with us. It not only helps you grow and hone your photography, but helps me learn and hopefully not replicate the same mistakes. Best post of the day I do believe!
    Chris Nitz recently posted..Mr SoloMy Profile

  9. I do like the processing of the this photo. Its good to try new things, but I not sure about self critiques, I am my own worst enemy when it come to judging my own photos. Great job I cant wait to see tomorrows post.

  10. Great reflection on the image. This is great for growth!!!

  11. Shadow Tracks was a stunning, infrared graphic – infinitely, my favorite. Move on from there!
    Barbara Youngleson recently posted..Old San JuanMy Profile

  12. Nice of you to post this series so others (like me) can learn from the experience. Thanks!

  13. Thanks all for the comments. It seems that people responded to this, and that gladdens me. Thanks also to those who indicated they liked the image as it is. Finally, for those looking forward to the better example of the wall photo, I’;m sorry but you’re going to have to wait one extra day. Details in today’s post.

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