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Photo critiques?

If you don’t mind I would appreciate some photo critiques. I recently returned from a trip to Africa (my first). There I experienced the things in which I’ve always wanted to photograph. My goal is to scratch out a career with my camera. So far I’m surviving, but barely. I don’t mind the financial discomfort, as long as I can continue. For me, the ultimate would be for a photo of mine to be published in National Geographic. Please take a look at these photos and tell me what you think.

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/myshot/gallery/341590#/enlarged/1331460/ (You can look at the other three by clicking “back”).

by chris cella at 2012-04-10 07:33:06 UTC | Bookmark | | Report spam→

do you have more photos available?

by Paul K. | 11 Apr 2012 11:04 | Munich, Germany | | Report spam→
Here are a lot of other photos, ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/chriscella/ ) however only the previously posted 4 are ones in which I am happy with. It represents the type of photo in which I like to make. The others are concerts and a few portraits, but my dream to be a documentary photographer/cinematographer.

by chris cella | 12 Apr 2012 04:04 | North Hollywood, United States | | Report spam→
Ok well I think the lack of response is telling. You probably have a ways to go yet mate.

by BignoseTW | 12 Apr 2012 07:04 | Taipei, Taiwan | | Report spam→
Either that or no one has anything they can say to improve on. Haha, it’s all about perspective. Although your comment is a bit useless. I posted two days ago. These threads aren’t that often updated. You can see on the home page that the last update was over 5 hours ago for any thread. You are right about one thing though, I have a long way to go. Although considering that I’m only 23 and have already been commissioned on international travel work I think I’m headed on the right track. I looked at your credits and you state that you have worked for National Geographic and Discovery which are indeed impressive credits. They are clients that I hope to attain some day. But you could use your 19 years of work to give me some useful feedback instead of simply stating that my thread hasn’t received many comments. That’s just a waste of time for everyone involved.

by chris cella | 12 Apr 2012 07:04 (ed. Apr 12 2012) | North Hollywood, United States | | Report spam→
Ok my work for those have been in video. Honestly, my photography also still has a way to go. I’m sorry I’ve been shooting all day in the sun, I need to get under a shower. I’ll take a look again later and offer specific comments.

by BignoseTW | 12 Apr 2012 11:04 | Taipei, Taiwan | | Report spam→
Hey Chris,

My credentials are scant as I’m still a student, so you can take my critique as you will, but the one thing I’ve got going for me is that I’ve been doing critiques to death all semester, so here’s my two cents - If you’re looking to work in documentary photography, you’re going to want to work towards creating a cohesive body of work which tells a story. Think of your images as formulating a grammar and syntax. You’ve got some decent stand-alone images (though I wouldn’t feel particularly compelled to appraise them as being much more than decent), but for them to convey anything to me other than the simple fact that you were in Africa with a camera would necessitate more information, ie. more images. Images of things that tell the story in a way which most wouldn’t think of – little details from a situation often connote so much more about what you’re trying to describe. It requires a certain way of looking at things which isn’t something that can just be “turned on”, at least not in my own experience, but rather something which needs to be practiced over time. The image of the guard in Moshi is aesthetically pleasing and has a dramatic mood, so it works in that respect, but its content is quite ambiguous until you read the caption. The image should be able to stand up on its own though. This photo might work in a series, where other images could provide us with the content we’re lacking, and that situation this image would function by bolstering the mood of the whole series. The photos “Beautiful Stranger” is a successful image on it’s own, as it’s a really nice portrait, nice colour palette, etc. But still, it needs context, and unfortunately, the other photos of the Maasai people don’t really provide it. What those three photos convey to me is the sense that you weren’t taking your time. It feels a bit unconfident, a bit touristic, basically incoherent as if you don’t really know what you’re trying tell us, you’re just pointing your camera and releasing the shutter. The faces, the garments, the traditional dance ceremonies, all that typical stuff that you expect to see in that setting all makes for easy subjects for interesting photography, but you need to find a way to show it to us in a way that reflects something we’ve not thought of. I’ve never been to Africa before but I already have a picture in my mind of what certain parts of it are like, and what your images are showing me is exactly what’s already there in my head. So nothing new, which doesn’t make them particularly compelling. All this criticism I’m passing on to you, as this is what we’ve been talking about in my critiques too. I still struggle sometimes, but the good thing is that as you practice you can track your progress, and you improve faster than you think. Like I said, it’s not something you can just pick up and run with, it takes some time to internalize the methods which you use to produce work that can be evocative or compelling, or just interesting. Hope that helps. Good luck Chris.

by Peter Haeghaert | 12 Apr 2012 15:04 | Montreal, Canada | | Report spam→
You work isn’t bad. You have a good sense of color and composition. That said I feel you work lacks intimacy. If I were you I would spend some time working on a single project over a few months and see where that takes you…

by Damaso Reyes | 12 Apr 2012 17:04 | Barcelona, Spain | | Report spam→
Thanks Damaso, I agree. I was in Africa for a month as a Sound Mixer for a documentary, so any opportunity to take my camera out was a bonus. That’s my excuse to you Peter as well. If I had an opportunity to tell a story I would love to. These images are meant to stand alone. I think you give good criticism though Peter. I would really love to delve into one subject as a photographer. Inbed myself with subjects and live with them to simply tell their story. I appreciate all of the criticism. Maybe my explanation will give more context as to why there isn’t more cohesion between images.

by chris cella | 12 Apr 2012 18:04 | North Hollywood, United States | | Report spam→
I see you’re in or near LA. Have you tried to look up local chapters of ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers) or the NPPA (National Press Photographers Association)? Membership, particularly in the NPPA is pretty cheap, and these organizations provide mentoring services and portfolio reviews at some of their meetings. The can also be good places to meet people with more experience in the business, so they are useful to know about regardless.

by John Louis Lassen Perry | 12 Apr 2012 20:04 | Liberty Corner, New Jersey, United States | | Report spam→
HI Chris. Here’s my 2 cents. You need to be more critical of your work. Understand what makes a good picture (composition, light, emotions,..) and work on that. What you need to understand is that many people can take pictures like you do with DSLR nowadays. You need to stand out of the crowd and move away from “commodity” pictures. It takes time and a lot of effort to get your personal style which will get image buyers interested. So work hard and allow yourself time to develop. Good luck!

by Bernard Henin | 13 Apr 2012 09:04 | Katmandu, Nepal | | Report spam→

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chris cella, chris cella
North Hollywood , United States ( LAX )
Paul K., Paul K.
Munich , Germany
BignoseTW, Videographer/Photographer BignoseTW
(Tobie Openshaw)
Taipei , Taiwan
Peter Haeghaert, Student Peter Haeghaert
Montreal , Canada
Damaso Reyes, Photojournalist Damaso Reyes
Barcelona , Spain ( BCN )
John Louis Lassen Perry, Photoanthropologist John Louis Lassen Perry
Califon, New Jersey , United States
Bernard Henin, Photographer Bernard Henin
Katmandu , Nepal


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