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PhotoZAP: We Critique Your Photos
PhotoZAP 38: RAW Tuna

Our critics praise and pan your pictures


“He should have moved around the market for a better vantage point.”—Monica Cipnic

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© Artur Wieckowski, Warsaw, Poland. Gear: Nikon D80, Nikkor 12-24mm lens. Exposure: f/8 at 1/100 sec, ISO 800, metered manually, handheld, no flash. Shot in RAW, full color, converted to black and white and edited in Nikon Capture NX2.

Photographer’s statement: The photo depicts a tuna auction in Tsukiji market in Tokyo. It is a very busy place just before 6 AM. The buyers are making their decisions and the auction on biggest tuna is about to begin. I was hoping to illustrate what the market and the auctions look like with a single photo. To show the tiredness or excitement of a single buyer, with the background of general commotion that's going on there. This, I was hoping, should have created a very powerful, emotional photo and tell the auction story at the same time. I'm happy with how I've managed to illustrate all the aspects of this tuna auction, but overall I feel this picture is not as powerful or exciting as I had hoped it to be. Is it because of the composition? Is the angle too wide? Or the depth of field too big? Or is it just me trying to achieve too much with a single frame? I'm sure somehow this could and should have been a much better photo.

Our critics say...


Mason Resnick: Sometimes focusing your attention—and camera—on a small slice of a scene tells more than a photo that tries to show everything. In this case, the photographer’s self-conscious attempt to show the entire story in one shot resulted in an image that is on the busy side—it’s hard to figure out where to look first. I might have focused on the interaction (negotiation?) between the two people standing over the tuna in the foreground. Lighting, exposure are perfect and I agree with the decision to go monochrome.

Monica Cipnic: Reading the photographer's statement, made me think of Cartier-Bresson’ photographs. Not just the idea of 'The Decisive Moment', but ability to have a vantage point that allowed the placement of important subjects in both the foreground, midrange and background, collectively creating. In this instance, the eye is drawn to the auctioneer in foreground and then the light tone of the tuna, plus the white lights and bar on the ceiling leads your eye to where the man is bending down in the distance. We don't see the expression of the buyer in the right foreground--important for the action that takes place here--but for me he's on another plane, and has a disconnect with the rest of the picture. He should have moved around the market for a better vantage point. Check out James Stanfield's photo essay on Tsukiji in National Geographic.

Jack Howard: If this were a photo in a picture package about the fellow at left, it would tell part of that story very well and give a bit of nuance to the character in his environment.  I think the monochrome gives this image a very timeless photojournalistic feel. I'm wondering, however, what the full color version with the cold green fluorescent bars and fresh fish and different colored clothing and ruddy, cold skin might do for the overall energy of this image.

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