When I see images like this, and pretty much anything with a fine art aesthetic, it makes me incredibly grateful that Professional Photo Critique has a panel that has differing strengths. My strengths have always been geared toward critiquing the more technical aspects of an image. While technical acumen is important, in today’s day and age where many people can create fine images and everyone with a cell phone is a content provider, ideas will always trumps technical execution. Many can copy what’s already been done, but few have original ideas coming out of their heads and onto our screens. Of the many images I see on a daily basis, Jonny delivers a provocative, tense image that makes you stop and think. If you took a couple of seconds to ponder this image, then he accomplished his goal.
The arms are taught and mimic the tension in the rope and the bag on the face makes me feel as if I can’t catch my breath. The fact that the bag is tight makes me feel like the person is gasping underneath. The lighting helps reinforce a dreamlike aesthetic. I find the watch distracting. These are small details that speak volumes, especially in such a stark image with few hints about the identity of the subject. The shirt is also distracting. Generally, the human eye is drawn to two things in an image, the brightest point and patterns and words. Like a fish seeing a lure, our eyes are attracted to the bright spots in an image. And interesting patterns give our eyes somewhere to go. I think dressing the subject in a dark shirt, much like the color of the pants would have been a stronger decision.
The tension in this composite really works. This concept can be applied to so many of the themes of humanity: we are our own worst enemy, the idea of free agency (being the master’s of our fate), the blessings and consequences of our actions and the happiness and depression we sometimes feel. The lighting was soft and subtle and doesn’t detract from the subject and its message. A very good image that inspired a lot of thought.
The image “Dissonance” speaks directly to the title; a inconsistency between one’s actions and one’s beliefs. You have illustrated that in this piece with two different actions in oneself. Overall the mood and treatment of the image works well together, the muted palate, and the film-like imperfections. The integration of the two sets of arms is well done.
I like the location, being out in remote, desolate area, but protected by trees. When I see the trees in this landscape, it draws a parallel to some of Frida Kahlo’s work. Kahlo often painted greens and other aspects of nature into her background as a symbol of life and to convey the idea of being rooted, even though she contemplated death. Whether these parallels are intentional or not, every aspect of a image should be contemplated for a deeper meaning for yourself and the viewer.
Having masked your subject made me read the image as a non specific person. If that is your intended direction, I would consider simplifying the wardrobe. When seeing the watch, and a distinct styled shirt, I felt conflicted about wanting to know more about the subject, because it felt like those were deliberate details included in the photo.
The visual impact of this image is apparent in the direct haunting themes associated with its concepts. It’s meant to disturb the viewer with the centrally focused subject matter. The composition has the subject centered, but offers a symmetry to the frame. The title of the image, “Dissonance”, suggests the tension in the duality of the hands’ gestures, symbolizing the asphyxiation and attempt to free one’s self from strangle of the rope.
The choice to hide the face provides for better symbolism instead of actual death. The subject becomes an everyman and evokes thoughts of the struggle, rather than the individual. With the symbolism being a significant abstract of the image, I would have rather seen the watch removed and a less fashionable shirt. This two items distract from the symbolism that the action is suggesting. The other thing I was wanting was the gesture in the head. I was hoping there’d be more struggle between the two opposing forces. The arms, while grasping the rope, fail to sell the tension.
I couldn’t help but see the outstretched arms and think of Leonardo da Vinci’s drawing of the Vitruvian Man. The Vitruvian Man symbolized the ideal human proportions. To me, this image offers a twisted view of this ideal human, to possibly represent the imperfections of the human psyche. I’m not saying this was the photographer’s intent, but this was the themes that I was imagining. There may be a bigger theme to explore within that context.