Your question about merging is valid. Merging with the head or any part of the body that makes it look inappropriate is always wrong, the body coming into contact with things in the background is a much grayer area. In this case, I don’t have a real problem with it. If I had it to shoot again, I would have set the shot up a little differently, but I don’t feel it breaks the shot in any way. The other image you mentioned was actually a sample photo I shot for a photography competition I’m in charge of. The theme was “Picasso in Four Dimensions” and I chose to use something fluid to both represent time (the fourth dimension) and to provide me with the Picasso like distortion of the features. She is actually posing behind a cascade of water.
Concerning your friend, I wasn’t actually talking about a face to face meeting, I kinda meant that you were welcome to tell him he could contact me if he’d like any help. Good passion is hard to find. I sincerely doubt your friend is a GWC. “Guy with Camera” is a derisive term for a no-talent photographer who uses his camera to get women to take their clothes off.
Passive aggressiveness is a term that get’s thrown around a lot, and it is definitely not just a Canadian thing, we Americans are plenty good at it too. The comment “Unless, of course, you feel that contributing in that way violates your business sense because you’re not being compensated for your ‘online instruction'” is the main one I considered to be a little passive aggressive. It does not, if deconstructed, say anything negative, (passive) but it is clearly meant as a challenge (aggressive). Your direct dare to post my work was much more palatable. I merely intended to point out the irony of you giving me a hard time about being harsh when you were being passive-aggressive. Most arguments have a few passive-aggressive comments creep in, especially when you are trying to be polite and get your point across. It’s not big deal, really, but I thought it was worth mentioning so that you would be aware of it.
I am very glad that we can agree to disagree. And I’m glad you can understand that I don’t make the decision to be harsh lightly, and I do it with the intention to help rather than harm. Generally speaking, I don’t do a lot of commenting online. When message boards were a new thing, you could talk photography on the boards. These days it seems like the photography boards are all about Photoshop and focused on complicated fixes for things that could be fixed in two seconds in camera, and when you post a comment to that effect, you get ignored, so I pretty much stopped. The only reason I started posting here is because I enjoy the blog, and thought I would post in the forum to help get it started. I have greatly enjoyed posting here, and I have devoted more time to some of the posts than a person with my schedule probably should, but I justify it because a couple of the posts here will be adapted into essays when I finally get by blogging engine written.
Since you’re a programmer you’ll appreciate this, I’m working on a blogging engine that is designed to be completely modular and completely customizable, i.e. it has no defined structure within the programming itself. The user defines a cascading set of HTML snippets for each datapoint which will recursively populate themselves out of the database when called, and even the datapoints themselves can be freely rearranged to meet specific output requirements. The idea is to set it up so that you can call the entire blog, where it will recursively work its way through the entire system and generate the HTML output for the whole page, or you can call the individual modules and integrate them into the page where ever you want them, allowing you to conform the blog to your existing site design for a seamless integration.