PhotoZAP 63: Whodunit?

Our critics praise and pan your pictures

"The lighting, the overall texture of this image, the framing, all just works perfectly for me. This could be a book cover.—Jack Howard


Photo © Tom Olson, Danville, IL. Gear: Nikon D80, 18-55-mm VRII Nikon kit lens set at 18mm, Nikon SB600 shot through umbrella, Ailien Bee B800 fired through standard reflector at bottom of stairs. Exposure: 1/100 sec at f/6.3, ISO 200. Color desaturated slightly and contrast and clarity increased in Adobe Lightroom 2.

Photographer’s statement: “This photo was part of a series based on lyrics/meanings of various songs by the band "The Deftones."  This particular photo was based on the song named "MX."  Rather than your standard portraits, I go for a more editorial feel with mine, trying to tell a story and to give the viewer something to piece together and make sense of.  If you want to see more of my work feel free to check out  I'm not technically a full-time pro.  ;-(”

Our critics say…

Mason Resnick: I’m always amazed at where people find their inspiration; in this case,it’s a heavy-metal song! Clearly well-planned and previsualized, this shot evokes mystery and asks more questions than it answers. The lighting and shadows, and the many different diagonal and jagged lines, create a mysterious result. My only nitpicky complaint is the lighting gets a bit too hot towards the lower right, where the ceiling reflection bounces off the wood floor.

Ingrid Spangler: I’m a big fan of tableaux vivants like this. I admire the obvious amount of planning that goes into the making of such a shot. While I can see the potential in this particular setup, I’m confused at portions of the execution. I like the converging lines pointing to the woman’s body on the floor; the staircase railings, shadows, the man’s hands, even the radiator, all gesture toward the woman. But the green wall on the right side takes up a full quarter of the image and takes me out of the scene. Also, I would have liked to have the stair rail at the bottom of the image more fully revealed, as that modified angle might have eliminated the segment of the wall and white baseboard near the bottom of the image that distract the eye.

Jack Howard: Wow. The lighting, the overall texture of this image, the framing, all just works perfectly for me. This could be a book cover. I like the mystery the green wall suggests and how it impedes the flow down the stairs, and I love the hard shadows of the bannister thrown against the back wall. And that hotspot in the lower right on the floor? I dig that, too–it is a tease of something out of frame that adds to the mystery. Well-visualized and um...executed?


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