PhotoZAP 41: Veteran’s Gaze

Our critics praise and pan your pictures

“I can see this very easily running a few columns wide in a local newspaper.” —Jack Howard


© Jeff Rosen, Bel Air, MD. Gear: Nikon D40x with 18-35mm Nikkor f/3.5-4.5D ED IF zoom lens. Shot in program mode, exposure not recorded. ISO 200.

Photographer’s statement: “I attend the annual Memorial Day ceremony every year.  The expression on the face of this vet just compelled the picture.  He had been talking with some other vets about friends who were gone.”

Monica Cipnic: I like the strong direct gaze of the subject and the downward look of the other vet, and how the two men play off each other in the frame. I also think the choice of black & white adds to the overall strength and feeling of this photograph. I'm slightly distracted by the two people in the right background and would consider either cropping the image or trying to take down the 'whiteness' of the man's shirt, so your eye would remain with the two important foreground subjects.

Jack Howard: With a tighter crop, as Monica suggests, I can see this very easily running a few columns wide in a local newspaper. And I mean that in the best way. The combination of the primary subject's locked gaze and the secondary subject's expression just hits at the sentiment and emotional investment of Memorial Day for so many who have served. This could be Maine, or Alaska, Florida or Washington State. It captures a moment that is felt in every town across the land at Memorial Day services. Grayscale is the right choice here, too.

Mason Resnick: This is a deep, emotionally powerful picture and great photojournalism! The expressions capture the gravity of the day, and the experience these men must carry with them. The photographer succeeded in telling a story visually in one shot. The only minor, nitpicking change I’d make is to darken the four blurred white objects in the background, between the two heads, so the viewer more easily focuses on the faces. Otherwise, I wouldn’t change a thing.


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