PhotoZAP 50: Only have eye for you

Our critics praise and pan your pictures

"The photographer is in the midst of things with an open mind and active eye, and caught this beautiful passing moment."—Joe Gioia


Photo © ABM Musa, Chicago, IL. Gear: Nikon D3000, Nikon 35mm f/1.8 lens. Exposure: 1/125 sec at f/2, ISO 200, aperture priority mode. Capture NX used to enhance color and contrast; slightly cropped.

Photographer’s statement: I took this picture in Chicago Summer Dance Festival and this couple was dancing there. I choose this picture for submission because the eye expression of the girl is very affectionate. I also think that not having the full face of the girl in the image adds another dimension to it; we don't need to know the girl, we need to only see how the eye can have expression of deep love and affection.


Our photo critics say...


Mason Resnick: I love her eyes and the mystery of her partially covered face is appealing. The color and contrast image editing took this shot in the wrong direction. The overall blue cast and underexposure do not serve this image well, instead distracting the viewer with the girls unhealthy-looking skintone and the blue shirt that I’m sure was white originally. There’s distracting color fringing on the out-of-focus white collar near the upper left corner.  My suggestions: Try this in black-and-white, pump up the contrast and exposure just a little, and crop out the guy on the left. See my example, here:


Jack Howard: Years ago, I was skiing at Killington on a sunny spring day after an overnight dump of fresh snow. It warmed up over the course of the morning, and I'd completely not even considered putting sunscreen on the back of my ears as these were covered with a hat earlier in the day. Of course, once I removed my hat as the day got much warmer, I got a serious sunburn on these unprotected areas.  Seeing the color version of this image, all I can think about is that painful memory. I mostly agree with Mason's crop suggestion, although in both cases, it is a tough read that this is dancing, and not just a stolen moment in a crowded room. Not that there's anything wrong with that–it just doesn't immediately convey a dance festival feel as a standalone image.

Joe Gioia: While it suffers from certain drawbacks, I love this picture. I’m especially pleased that it was made with a short, bright lens, shot nearly wide open in soft-blue evening light. Too many photographers rely on zooms, which tend to encourage passive work—compressed-focus pictures made at a distance which attempt to look like magazine photos. Here the photographer is in the midst of things with an open mind and active eye, and caught this beautiful passing moment, full of feeling. It's more a movie still than a magazine photo. As a practical matter, however, I think the man's head and shoulders take up a lot of picture space without adding an equal amount to the viewer's understanding of what's going on. (Personally, I see a trace of anger in her eyes.) Cropping won't help. The woman is the story here, and her face is hidden just a bit too much.


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