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Looking for improvement This is the e-group critique board. If you post a picture here it will be assumed that you are looking for comprehensive technical feedback - both good and bad, but always respectful. Only post pictures here if you can deal with potentially negative constructive criticism. Anyone is qualified to comment and post feedback, and everyone is encouraged to do so. NB: "Looking for Improvement" is the place to post any pictures you would like advice on improving, no matter how bad you might think they are.

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Old 8th May 2017
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Is it street or something else, and is it any good?

Okay, following Ricoh's recent discussion thread concerning street photography I'd like to add to the debate by seeking opinions and advice on this image. The first thing to note is that it is quite obviously a beach scene rather than street, but does that preclude it from being closely related, with many aspects of street photography coming into play?

I perhaps wouldn't have made the connection, but for the excellent definition by drmarkf in Ricoh's thread: "I'd say it's 'illustrating human life, usually in the urban environment', and leave it up to the individual practitioner to take it from there."

Ultimately, the defining quality seems to be that it is all about people with the actual setting being of secondary importance, unless we are going to pursue rules and regulations rather than creative thinking.

The thing that attracted me in particular to this moment was the three main characters, the father, the child and the dog, all looking in different directions which, to my eye, creates a certain tension but at the same time provides balance. What I am less sure about are the two groups of figures receding into the mist; I do like them but I'm not sure why and I can't say what they add to the picture, other than the feeling that they do belong.

I have posted both a colour and B&W version because I can't decide which I like best.

So how does this fit into a definition of street, or urban, photography? It could be said that the beach at Filey is just as urban as an inner city park. Is the picture itself any good and how might it have been improved? And lastly, which medium suits it best, colour or B&W - and why?

I look forward to your comments and input.




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Old 8th May 2017
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Re: Is it street or something else, and is it any good?

I really like the image John. Great composition and I agree wholeheartedly about how the two people and dog looking three ways brings a certain tension. I much prefer the colour version personally. I initially thought I'd prefer the people in the background to be Photoshopically removed, but on reflection I think I agree with you that they are part and parcel of the scene and should remain.

Overall an excellent image that I'd be very happy to have taken myself.

Is it Street? Well, that's a tough one. I think for me the answer has to be "no" - simply because I think Street needs to be urban. In any case, the image is somewhat redolent of classic seaside scenes, so I guess I'd call it "scenic" - as odd as that sounds! Or maybe I should just call it "art".
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Old 8th May 2017
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Re: Is it street or something else, and is it any good?

Like the image but prefer the B&W version. The definition of street precludes it from that category but a Rose by any other name .......etc

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Old 8th May 2017
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Re: Is it street or something else, and is it any good?

Nice composition and setting, John, both versions being pleasant.
For me, the visual tension of the father and daughter does something to the eye, a sort of sea saw visual flow between the two. However, with the dog looking into the shot, this breaks the left-right tension inviting the viewer to explore the more distant elements. But here lies another tension; whilst the relative size of the people, near and far, should provide a 3D effect, the haze/mist, the perspective shortening due to the lens, plus the height difference between adults and child (on the right of the picture) tends to flatten the perspective, resulting in the receding adults appearing to float over the girl's head. All this keeps the viewer engaged, so overall a most satisfactory outcome.
Whether it's street or not is open to debate, but this shot of yours transcends the semantics as it perfectly captures the British in pursuit of leisure.
I like it particularly because it's different. I'm also thinking the development isn't quite complete, can't put my finger on it but maybe another half hour in Lightroom could add to the visual display, eg making something more of the shadows and possibly the splashes of red.
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Re: Is it street or something else, and is it any good?

John, it has to be the colour image; the B&W has lost all its impact.

My first thought was that it was a bit Vetriano - but to really achive this you would needed to have pulled back a bit to get more beach and clone out the background groups as he tends to only concentrate on one piece at a time and not clutter his paintings (this isn't perchance a crop is it?).

When I look at the 3 groups of people it is not obvious if they are all walking in different directions; its possible that of the 2 background groups that the furthest group is walking towards the camera. To get 3 groups of people clearly walking in different directions would enhance the tension/balance that you have already noticed.

I tried cloning out the 2 background groups (see comment above), but I also tried turning these 2 groups into a straightforward greyscale so that they were not so intrusive. I liked this last version the best and would recommend you try it yourself (or I could post my version).

As to "street", yes I think it is. My own view of "street" is of candid shots of people going about their own business in the street. The 2 important points are that the people are engaged in their own activity and not posed or there for the purpose of having their photograph taken; and that they are in a public place (street, beach, park, etc so not necessarily in a street scene). If they were in a private space then there is generally a different atmosphere as in public people are politely ignoring all about them and intentionally oblivious to the acts of others. In a private space there is often a shared sence of purpose (the reason they are there).

I see this in your excellent photo as the 3 groups of people have no direct involvment or interaction.

"Urban" must, by definition I feel, involve architecture of the urban variety and may or may not involve people. Your beach seen does not have this.
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Old 8th May 2017
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Re: Is it street or something else, and is it any good?

The colour version wins hands down for me. I love the reflections on the wet sand, the counter balance of the red crisp packet (plus reflection) with the little girl's shoes. The father's fag and the way that the father, dog and little girl although together are looking in separate directions. It's one of those images that repays scrutiny. Is is Street? Who cares, I think it is a very fine photograph. I've just come home from our club's landscape competition, lots of beach shots with tiny figures, all looking rather generic. This one is different, in the action and so much better for it.

Congrats!


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Re: Is it street or something else, and is it any good?

Yes, for me this is a highly successful image that works in all sorts of ways, most of which have been touched on in the posts above.

There's a distinguished history of 'beach' street photography (and that's one of the reasons I include the word 'usually' in my definition). For me, Martin Parr is the best British exponent (take a look at his book 'The Last Resort'), but the American photographer Harry Callahan (no, not Dirty Harry) did a lot in this genre, e.g. https://goo.gl/images/7cR5py
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Re: Is it street or something else, and is it any good?

Excellent image. I think that mono suits this type of photography better than colour as there are obvious elements here that draw the eye (the bright colours) that are reduced to tones in the mono version. The composition is very pleasing and the haziness of the distant figures gives depth and regression, which I like.
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Re: Is it street or something else, and is it any good?

The image works, why does it matter if it meets some people's definition of street?

The colour version for me.
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Re: Is it street or something else, and is it any good?

I really like this image John, in fact I like both of them. What I mean is that like you I too had trouble deciding which portrayal of the scene I liked best. My take is that the colour one emphasises the layers of the three groups and therefore has a more 3D feel. In the B&W one then the front group of 3 stands out more and the others just feel more like general background. A complete load of tosh I'm sure but just what I felt as I looked at the images. Overall the scene makes me smile and if you saw that scene unfolding in your mind before you took the picture and then deliberately captured it that's awesome in my book. I'd frame them both and put them in your next exhibition.
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Re: Is it street or something else, and is it any good?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdk42 View Post
I really like the image John. Great composition and I agree wholeheartedly about how the two people and dog looking three ways brings a certain tension. I much prefer the colour version personally. I initially thought I'd prefer the people in the background to be Photoshopically removed, but on reflection I think I agree with you that they are part and parcel of the scene and should remain.

Overall an excellent image that I'd be very happy to have taken myself.

Is it Street? Well, that's a tough one. I think for me the answer has to be "no" - simply because I think Street needs to be urban. In any case, the image is somewhat redolent of classic seaside scenes, so I guess I'd call it "scenic" - as odd as that sounds! Or maybe I should just call it "art".
Thanks Paul. I probably would remove the background figures if it wasn't for the fog giving them a somewhat ethereal quality. Interesting thoughts on how to categorize this picture, I suppose "pictorial" or "candid" could be other tags for it but as David M says later, does it matter?
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Re: Is it street or something else, and is it any good?

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Originally Posted by Ricoh View Post
Nice composition and setting, John, both versions being pleasant.
For me, the visual tension of the father and daughter does something to the eye, a sort of sea saw visual flow between the two. However, with the dog looking into the shot, this breaks the left-right tension inviting the viewer to explore the more distant elements. But here lies another tension; whilst the relative size of the people, near and far, should provide a 3D effect, the haze/mist, the perspective shortening due to the lens, plus the height difference between adults and child (on the right of the picture) tends to flatten the perspective, resulting in the receding adults appearing to float over the girl's head. All this keeps the viewer engaged, so overall a most satisfactory outcome.
Whether it's street or not is open to debate, but this shot of yours transcends the semantics as it perfectly captures the British in pursuit of leisure.
I like it particularly because it's different. I'm also thinking the development isn't quite complete, can't put my finger on it but maybe another half hour in Lightroom could add to the visual display, eg making something more of the shadows and possibly the splashes of red.
Thanks Steve, that's a great analysis and in many ways articulates my thoughts. I can't really envisage what else to do in PP, I must confess to starting with a rather murky ORF that required a fair amount of lifting anyway.
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Re: Is it street or something else, and is it any good?

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John, it has to be the colour image; the B&W has lost all its impact.

My first thought was that it was a bit Vetriano - but to really achive this you would needed to have pulled back a bit to get more beach and clone out the background groups as he tends to only concentrate on one piece at a time and not clutter his paintings (this isn't perchance a crop is it?).

When I look at the 3 groups of people it is not obvious if they are all walking in different directions; its possible that of the 2 background groups that the furthest group is walking towards the camera. To get 3 groups of people clearly walking in different directions would enhance the tension/balance that you have already noticed.

I tried cloning out the 2 background groups (see comment above), but I also tried turning these 2 groups into a straightforward greyscale so that they were not so intrusive. I liked this last version the best and would recommend you try it yourself (or I could post my version).

As to "street", yes I think it is. My own view of "street" is of candid shots of people going about their own business in the street. The 2 important points are that the people are engaged in their own activity and not posed or there for the purpose of having their photograph taken; and that they are in a public place (street, beach, park, etc so not necessarily in a street scene). If they were in a private space then there is generally a different atmosphere as in public people are politely ignoring all about them and intentionally oblivious to the acts of others. In a private space there is often a shared sence of purpose (the reason they are there).

I see this in your excellent photo as the 3 groups of people have no direct involvment or interaction.

"Urban" must, by definition I feel, involve architecture of the urban variety and may or may not onvolve people. Your beach seen does not have this.
Thanks Ron, I'm afraid it isn't a crop, so I don't have any more image to play with. Interesting thoughts about the direction of travel of the two background groups, I believe that the furthermost group may be walking towards the camera and I had not appreciated the significance of this, but I am unsure how to make it more obvious.

I'd love to see your processed version; here is the unedited raw file (only resized and converted to JPEG for the forum) for comparison.

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Re: Is it street or something else, and is it any good?

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Originally Posted by drmarkf View Post
Yes, for me this is a highly successful image that works in all sorts of ways, most of which have been touched on in the posts above.

There's a distinguished history of 'beach' street photography (and that's one of the reasons I include the word 'usually' in my definition). For me, Martin Parr is the best British exponent (take a look at his book 'The Last Resort'), but the American photographer Harry Callahan (no, not Dirty Harry) did a lot in this genre, e.g. https://goo.gl/images/7cR5py
I love Martin Parr's work but Harry Callahan is new to me. Thanks for the link, I will explore further!
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Re: Is it street or something else, and is it any good?

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Originally Posted by benvendetta View Post
Excellent image. I think that mono suits this type of photography better than colour as there are obvious elements here that draw the eye (the bright colours) that are reduced to tones in the mono version. The composition is very pleasing and the haziness of the distant figures gives depth and regression, which I like.
Thanks Dave, it's interesting that the preferences between colour and B&W are fairly evenly split. Maybe I could have made a better B&W conversion?
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