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PhotoZAP: We Critique Your Photos
PhotoZAP 56: Meet the Divas

Our critics praise and pan your pictures


“I see here a great image within a good one.” —Mark Lent

Photo © Jennifer Jones, Lake Havasu City, AZ. Gear: Sony Alpha 100, Sony 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, handheld, no flash. Exposure: f/6.3, shutter speed not recorded, ISO 1600; metered in Program mode using pattern metering. Photoshop used to remove stage markings from the floor.

Photographer’s statement: “I basically I am an outdoor photographer. I was asked to join another photographer at a ballet rehearsal and decided to accept the invitation. I chose this particular photo because I thought it was rather elegant, and felt that the closed eyes of the lady actually enhanced the overall effect.”

Our critics say…

Jack Howard: This is a very good example of making the most of a non-controlled situation. And by non-controlled, I mean that in the sense that the photographer is not the director and is beholden to the stage manager, the lighting crew, the choreographer and so on. In other words, it is controlled situation, but the photographer is not the one in control. The triangle composition of the three dancers has great assymmetrical balance, and the skin and costume tones are right where they should be. But again, the  photographer is beholden to that dim, flat stage lighting, which makes the subjects appear very one dimensional–almost like cardboard cut-outs. For reportage taken during a performance, this is a fine example of the genre (of course, for publication in most newspapers and magazines, the post-production cloning would be a no-no.)

Mason Resnick: I am somewhat bothered by the dancer facing away; I might have zoomed in on the two figures facing towards the camera and shifted slightly to the right to cut out the woman on the right. I agree with Jack that the photographer did well with a situation over which he had little control. That said, some pre-performance preparation would have helped, like discussing potential shooting situations with the choreographer, who would surely have insights into when and where the most dramatic or visually appealing moments might take place during the performance.

Mark Lent: I see here a great image within a good one. The cropping is somewhat loose, and if I were shooting this image, I would make a vertical of the two women on the left and completely crop the person facing out of the frame from the image. By cropping more tightly, you add detail and interest to the two that are there, and faces are always great for these kinds of images. By including the girl facing away from the camera, you add negative space and empty space above her, which adds nothing to the image compositionally. On the upside, I think the noise and post work are very well done. An interesting image, but it needs tweaking.


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