PhotoZAP 26: Welcome to my world

Our critics praise and pan your pictures

“While the amazing clutter in the woman’s apartment is an essential part of this picture, I think the photographer could have organized it better.”—Mason Resnick

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© Daniella Zalcman, New York, NY. Gear: Canon 1D Mark III with Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. Exposure: Manual, 1/80 sec at f/4.5, ISO 1600, handheld. No flash.

Photographer’s statement: “When I showed up at this woman's home to take her portrait, I was greeted with the most cluttered living space I've ever seen—every surface was covered in clippings and photos and the effect was just incredible.  To top it off, she was so wonderfully charming and expressive that all I had to do was sit back and listen to her tell stories for a few minutes before I caught her in mid-sentence, with some wonderful late afternoon light coming through the curtains behind me.”

Our critics say…

Monica Cipnic: This is a charming portrait, where the photographer faced a few challenges--the environment, for one. If she could have moved the subject to a part of the room where the woman was near the photographs on the dresser or gesturing or holding a photo or clipping that was important to her might be one solution. I would have arranged her collar of her shirt and perhaps tried to get more of her hand gesture in the picture because you get a sense that this animated woman is engaging the viewer with her life and stories. Crop out the white fringed blanket on the right, take the window reflection out of her glasses, take down the hot highlights of the papers over the woman's shoulder as well as the tone of the blanket/towel hanging behind her.

Mason Resnick: While the amazing clutter in the woman’s apartment is an essential part of this picture, I think the photographer could have organized it better. Like Monica, I’m also drawn to the area around the dresser as the most central aspect of her room, and I would have moved her closer to it. You still would get a sense of how she lives without being overwhelmed by it. I get the impression the subject was very willing to share and most likely would have taken directions as far as where to stand or sit goes, and this wouldn’t interfere with her photogenic expressiveness.

Jack Howard: The expression on the face is great, but the disembodied hand in lower left frame is disconcerting. I agree, great light and it's nice to see a portrait made utilizing available light. But for as "environmental" as this shot is, I think I'd be very interested in a wider angle view of the scene with subject a bit more prominent in the frame–give some forced perspective separation from the white cloth on the open door behind the subject that keeps grabbing my eye, and give a more sweeping sampling of the newsclip-covered walls.

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