Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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From here: http://1x.com/forum/bookmarked/31716/critique-on-photo-untitled

it's unbalanced. It almost looks like two images beside each other - one of the lying down candles and one of the upright candles.

Now, when I look at this picture, I feel the same. What can the way by which this looks like one photograph and not two placed side by side?

The story here is "Life cycle of a candle", and I wish to maintain it.

enter image description here

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try to focus on what leads your eye. Currently my eyes tend to go in the diagonal line created by the candles and cutting the image in half. There is no flow from the one group of candles to other. –  fluf Mar 16 '12 at 5:58
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Anisha, you've got a good photograph here. I think you should trust your initial instincts, make some nice prints, frame 'em, and move on to the next idea, instead of waiting for more complaints on this one. If you think for too long on something like this, it's like when you say the same word 1000 times in a row until it loses its meaning and just becomes sound. –  mattdm Mar 16 '12 at 11:14
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In short, I think this is covered very well by photo.stackexchange.com/questions/21070/… –  mattdm Mar 16 '12 at 11:16
    
@mattdm actually, I have started feeling that. I was enjoying this photo very much, but now I am not, not at all. That comment was written by the senior critique over there, so I thought I should pay some heed to it. –  TheIndependentAquarius Mar 16 '12 at 11:42
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Do you think there's some flaw with the image? If not, don't worry about other people's subjective opinions. I like your image (FWIW) –  AJ Finch Mar 16 '12 at 13:44

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

(critique-wise: Bah! It's fine as-is. I think that juxtaposition is what makes it a good picture; fluf's implementation of intoTHEwild's idea fixes the flow, but ruins the feel of this image.)

In my mind, the "two [separate] images" is due to the different noise levels (which you've already asked about) on each apparent half of the image: because there is a lot of apparent noise between the two sets of the candles, at a quick glance the picture feels like two separate ones.

The very-wide (1.65) aspect ratio doesn't help matters: the aspect ratio is pretty close to what you'd see from two 5x4 portrait photos sitting side-by-side. On a movie screen that aspect ratio would look great, but in a picture, it's unusually wide. You could try to free up some space in between the candles to get to a more-normal landscape aspect ratio, but I personally think it ruins the feel of the picture:

enter image description here

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+1! The crop has destroyed the square of negative space. –  mattdm Mar 16 '12 at 11:08

I would suggest moving the right part of the image to left and left to right. so the fallen candles would be on the right side, arrange them in a way that it denotes rise of fall. if we could arrange the candles properly i think it would complete the story.

like what fluf posted in the comments. enter image description here

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1  
(Excuse my photoshop skills) you mean like this i.imgur.com/2qnpn.jpg –  fluf Mar 16 '12 at 7:05
    
Nice, I like that. –  MikeW Mar 16 '12 at 7:22
    
feel free to use it in an answer, I was playing around to see how much of an impact the composition change will make. –  fluf Mar 16 '12 at 7:32
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thats exactly what i meant. thanks for photoshopping it –  intoTHEwild Mar 16 '12 at 11:44
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Compositionally I love this, good work guys. I'm not sure if it tells the story that Anisha wants to tell, but compositionally it leads the eye nicely. –  MikeW Mar 16 '12 at 21:46

You have a nice progression on the right, a strong diagonal line, and bright flames that lead the eye.

I think story-wise, the candles on the right tell the story, and the ones lying down don't add that much. They may have some significance, or they might create some mystery about what they mean, but I think they damage the composition more than they help the story.

If the left half was just blackness, there would be nothing to distract the eye, and I think the negative space might work, at least some amount of it. But the dark jumble of candles does detract from the strong compostion to the right.

If you don't want to remove those candles, you could place them in the foreground in front of the lit candles, or you could crop half of them out (cut off the left third of the image), or you could change the perspective and shoot it from the right, so that the candles that are lying down are out of focus in the background, like this horrible sketch depicts:

enter image description here

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thanks for the effort, but the story is life and death, placing the candle behind doesn't set the story right, IMO. –  TheIndependentAquarius Mar 16 '12 at 13:54

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