PhotoZAP 28: Simply Red

Our critics praise and pan your pictures

“The photographer has captured his young daughter in a natural, unposed, and thoroughly unselfconscious way.”—Monica Cipnic

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© Tim Irwin, Brooklyn, NY. Gear: Nikon D3, 50mm f/1.8 lens. Exposure: 1/200 second at f/5.6, ISO 250, white balance setting: Direct Sun.

Photographer’s statement: “I needed a good shot of my daughter and I tried to captured her the way she actually looks to me...not always easy with a three-year-old. I submitted it because I’d like to know beyond what a Father sees as a “nice” shot of his own daughter I’d like technically feedback to better understand what I may have done right or wrong so I can continue to improve as a photographer.”

Our critics say…

Mason Resnick: I know this isn’t what the photographer intended, but I think there’s a great shot lurking within this scene. I would have posed the girl facing the wall, gotten up closer and shot a near-abstract study of her hair, her red sweater, and the off-red wall, showing their very different textures and patterns. As a portrait, though, the reds distract me from the girl, and the fact that she’s looking off to the left doesn’t engage my interest either. I’d prefer eye contact, and more muted colors so I’m drawn to her face.

Jack Howard: I keep going back and forth on this shot. All in all, I like the tone on tone color palette. I'm OK with it being a profile and the mussed hair makes this shot "real" to me, too. Coming as this does just past the holiday season and a seemingly endless stream of treacly over-architected kid portraits, there's something quite charming, and honest in the upward lilt in the subject's eye. Far too many young "portraits" are so "perfect" that there's no "personality" left in the shot.  That's certainly not the case here. And I like that. (Might be nice if there was a bit more distance or a wider f/stop to soften up the wall just a touch, too.)

Monica Cipnic: This image has a strong fine art reference and style so that while it may not be the 'typical' and expected child portrait, it has qualities and elements that make a memorable and uniquely personalized photograph. I'm not bothered with her hair blowing in the breeze, and the textures of her hair, sweater and the red wooden background play off nicely with her smooth porcelain skin. The photographer has captured his young daughter in a natural, unposed, and thoroughly unselfconscious way. Good work, Dad!

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