Both of these images are great. I think you’re doing a wonderful job on your assignments.
Let’s start by looking at your first image. You’re right, the contrast in age and color of your primary objects are interesting. The highly saturated red in this photograph is exaggerated by the dull brown texture of the background.
The wood in this photograph acts as “negative space”, but not “dead space”. The minimalist background looks intentional and serves the purpose to help draw our attention to your main object (the tap). That being said, it’s interesting enough to look at as a secondary object. The texture of the background changes from left to right which gives your audience something to examine. Not only that put it also helps advance your story of old vs. new.
My only concern with the image is that I think you have more opportunity here to pull out texture through a change of lighting. Look at the following wood texture for examplehttp://www.capturethisphotography.com/p ... ure_bw.jpg
Mind you, the wood is different, but the idea is the same. Side lighting, and low key photographs helps pull out the shadows in old materials. Dramatic side lighting helps draw out the quirks of material. What you’ve done isn’t wrong, but I just want you to consider lighting and lighting direction.
Your second image is also very interesting. The composition is great and you were quite brave with the size of your setting. Yet, you’ve managed to limit your color palette to gradients of blues and greens, with nice orange highlights. Great work.
My only concern here is the “noise” in the photograph. This is caused by your camera’s sensor not handling low light situations well. It causes a sort of pixilation that makes your focus look soft. Whenever possible keep your ISO to a lower number (like 50) to help get rid of digital noise. It’s not always possible, but it’s good to be aware of.
Noise becomes more noticeable as you start to enlarge your photographs, which is something you’ll probably want to start doing someday soon!
Keep up the great work.