In an age that is all about selfies, it’s nice to see a thoughtful self-portrait. As image creators, we all are emotionally connected to our work. It makes it difficult to receive a critique because of this strong, protective connection. Self portraits are the most intimate of all photography because the photographer appears in the work. And by critiquing the work, you are also directly speaking about them. Thank you for sharing yourself with us and our viewers!
The light in this image is a little harsh for my taste. When I see the use of harsh light, it has to support the mood of the image and this image doesn’t seem that harsh. The blown spot on the back of your hand shows this harsh quality. To help this, diffusion of the light source (placing a white sheet, fabric, etc. over the light) would create a softer environment. The direction of the light, judging by the shadow created by your glasses, is from the top and to the right of you. The position of the light helps you get light on your background as well as illuminate you, but I think you could accomplish this in another way that helps to achieve a greater sense of depth in the image. Pull yourself and your ladder away from the background so that the green cloth isn’t so sharp. (You need some distance between the subject and the background.) Then you could put a small, soft light source on the background and you could light yourself with another soft light that wasn’t spilling onto the background, but was positioned directly overhead so that you had the sense that you were climbing into the light.
The color palette is interesting and I’m trying to determine the abundant use of green: green barrettes, green earrings, green shirt and green background. The greens are also all very different shades. Playing with some other colors could add some variation to the image. I really appreciate the use of the magenta glasses to complement the greens you’ve used. It’s not precise, but the complementary color feeling is definitely coming through here. (See color wheel below. Complementary colors are those that are found opposite each other on the color wheel.)
Your concept is extremely well executed. I need to continually remind myself that you’re probably user a self-timer or a remote. In either case, you’re hurrying to get to a spot and into character before the shutter clicks! The expression on your face and your wide eyes portray a sense of amazement and wonder. I appreciate your use of the jewels and how you “bedazzled” the old ladder. I would suspect that you’re climbing toward the jewels or to a more glamorous place. I think your hair has the same sense of movement as the star and I really enjoy how this similarity in shape adds a sense of humor. Another strength in the image is that you’ve utilized active framing. This is when part of the contents of the image extends beyond the frame. This gives viewers a sense that there is more to the shot and adds a sense of lateral depth. I also like the sense of space you’ve created by keeping the ladder and yourself in the bottom part of the frame. This gives a feeling that the journey is ahead of you. You also used three items in this image. This is called the rule of odds. This little-known compositional rule states that an odd number of items are more interesting to the eye than an even number. This is precisely why triangles are an important element in photography – they are essentially a shape made of three points. Thank you again for this submission Cathie!
This self-portrait has a whimsical quality to it. The expression, the color palette and the arrangement of the props bring a story together about the subject. The first thing that jumps out at me from a technical perspective on this image is the lighting. The light is harsh. My concern about the harsh light, is where is it the brightest. The back side of the subjects hand is bright and distracting, which I know is not the focus of this image. I want my attention to be drawn back to the expression of the face, and to be guided through the image visually. I have my idea of what the story is about the subject, but I feel like there could be more added to help make it clearer to the viewer what the photographer is wanting to say – without spelling it out. There is a delicate balance when attempting to convey a narrative in a single image; it is very undesirable when too much information is given, but if there isn’t enough, you may loose the interest of the viewer. I like the attention to color in this portrait, the greens with a pop of magenta is a nice element to bring my focus to the subject, as well as the use of space.
This image looks like it was very fun to capture. I loved the hair flip paired with the flip of the star trail. There’s a lot to explore in the image and I am curiously engaged with all the detail along the ladder. There is a noticeable burning applied to the highlight on the hand. Being this is obviously a staged environment a bit of diffusion to the light source could have helped with the over exposure.
Everything is placed very close to the edges and this creates a bit of tension in the frame. While I do like the tension that is created, it also leaves the center a bit empty and it may have been nice to provide the star a bit more emphasis in the image. The star is lost in the shadows. I’m also not sure if the person is completely aware of the star because her line of sight is not matched to the star’s position. There is a detachment from the subject and the star. I feel connecting the eyes to the star would allow a viewer to match the gaze and then shift appropriately through the image.
Conceptually, there are also a couple components that add to this idea of reaching for the stars. The ladder adds to the idea of escalation which can help with moving higher. Also, the detail of the ladder and clothing of the woman makes me think she could be involved with crafts looking in the closet for her next inspiration. There’s a lot of fun aspects in the photograph and I’d like to see a bit more intentionality in the organization of the image.