Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? Am I delusional?

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    My teacher and I are having a bit of a debate.

    She says my images are bizarre, confusing, and poorly lit, with forced and hammy emotions.

    I disagree with her, but then again, I am most likely biased.


    Here’s my site: pablodelarosa.format.com

    (Section in question is labeled Reality, although please also dig around other places)


    Please critique me! Am I being delusional?


    Wow!  Where to begin?

    The bad news:  The teacher is the teacher and if she is your teacher, she gets to give you a passing or failing grade.  Math is a great subject because there is a correct answer and usually many incorrect ones.  In base 10, 2 + 2 = 4.  Always.  Science class is pretty cool, combine oxygen and hydrogen in an inverted cup then add a spark — the explosion moves the cup and creates water vapor.   Leave out an ingredient or add the wrong ingredient and you don’t get the desired result.  Not that there aren’t oddities, way back in the beginning of working with electricity it was believed that protons moved to cause current, now we know it is the electrons that move.  The calculation gives the same numeric magnitude either way but calculations are still usually done with the flow from positive to negative instead of from negative to positive.  Art is much more subjective.  How do you measure the quality of emotion?  Forced and hammy or understated and natural are in the eye of the beholder.  You may find you agree with a movie critic, or you may find watching movies the critic hated is the way to an enjoyable movie experience.  Unfortunately for you, your critic is the one handing out marks.

    In the interest of full disclosure I will tell you I’m a techie.  I took science classes at every opportunity and hated English and history classes.  Looking back, from a great distance, at the time I spent in primary and high school, I see the teachers were human, and frequently misinformed.  Such is life.

    With that out of the way, let’s look at your About page.  The page says:

    In my work, I explore the limitations of humanity.  Whether I demonstrate this limitation through an environmental context, a religious context, or a feminist context (all common motifs in my work), this exploration exists as a dialogue between two opposing forces: limitation and idealism.

    Pardon me!  Humans are limited by being poor at breathing under water, by being born, and by death.  We are the only species that collectively have visited the bottom of the ocean and the moon.  Humanity doesn’t seem very limited.  Most of the rest of the text reads much like the noise my English teachers always liked so much.  It sounds wonderful but doesn’t provide much useful information.

    Before commenting on your photos, here are a couple of links to web sites belonging to people who studied written arts:



    I throw those links to you because they are both excellent photographers, they both do lots of portraits, and you might enjoy their work if you are not already familiar with it.


    On to your photos:  The same photo seems to be in a couple of places in a fairly small web page.  It might be better to have each photo in just one place.

    Concentrating on Reality, I have to say the photos look pretty good to me. The weakest is probably “untitled (Girl with Dress and Flowers)” since I thought we were looking at her back!  I figured out either her feet are on backwards, or her face is not lit.  That might be why your teacher complained about poorly lit and confusing?  Next weakest is “Ellie”, which looks like you got loose with your camera in a hair salon and took a candid ambient light photo which didn’t work out.  “Hailey (outside)” may be what you were hoping for, it just doesn’t do much for me.   “Sam and Buttons in Sedalia” is another dud.  A horse’s ass?  Really?

    I bet peeling the tape off, after you shot “Genderfluidity”, there was an ouch moment or two.  Technically the shot is pretty good but it doesn’t speak to me except as being a somewhat goofy posed photo of a guy with tape and lipstick.

    The rest seem pretty reasonable.

    “Cam” is an example of pretty good lighting.  My wife wouldn’t like it because there are shadows, that is her personal taste.  Not everyone will like everything, or perhaps anything.  Don’t let it get you down.  The hair doesn’t blend into the background.  You see his eye.  You see where his ear is, though not into it.  For that sort of photo it is well done.  Some portrait photographers like to have the nose not cross the cheek line and show a little skin at the far edge of the far eye, while not losing the notch between cheek and forehead.  Turning the head as far as Cam has, they would have him turn further until the far eye disappeared.  It is a style thing.  Like rule of thirds, you don’t really have to follow it, just know it exists.

    “Sarah” has an early Hollywood glamour feel to it.  A hair light might have helped separate her hair from the background but it’s not absolutely necessary.

    “Isabelle, Chloë, Madeline” look like they are in meditation class.  Perhaps they are just thankful they survived the “Line and Triplet” shoot, or they’re praying you won’t ask for another set like that.

    In summary, if they were a bunch of photos on a wall in a gallery I wouldn’t think many were out of place.  At the same time they could be better.  I don’t know if they reflect the assignment as I don’t know what the assignment was.

    A last thought, if the teacher says “bizarre, confusing, and poorly lit, with forced and hammy emotions”, have her point to the photo and explain her feelings about the photo.  Then have her explain what she thinks should be different.


    You’re clearly NOT delusional, but I assume you’re aware of that 🙂

    Your shot of ‘Fate’ should be in a magazine.

    CC lends far more cerebral insight into your work and, as usual, his mind is in gear. I whole heatedly agree with his statement “In summary, if they were a bunch of photos on a wall in a gallery I wouldn’t think many were out of place.”

    25+ years ago my sis-in-law went to F.I.T. here in Manhattan. During her photography class (the film day), the class assignment was to hand in one shot un-retouched, in color or B&W. Most of her classmates produced hundreds of shots and sifted though them daily, critiquing each other and putting them into graded piles of possibles.

    Fran took her camera everywhere and waited for THE photo. She only shot once, developed it locally and handed it in.

    And it won her an A.

    AND the teacher was so insanely jealous of Fran’s abilities that she offered some petty criticism about shadow and composition and how she could improve them.

    AND it is still hanging in the student gallery at F.I.T. to this very day.

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