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Wow. Great assignment.
I would like to draw other students attention to the boys eyes. It is said time and time again that the key to good portraits is in the eyes. Being focused crisply on the eyes makes the photograph go from good to great. By not only having great focus on the eyes in this photograph, but also increasing the saturation (i.e. color vividness) slightly, you’ve made this photograph very personal. You feel as though you’re looking at a real person not a picture, when you look at this photograph.
The obvious example of the power of the eyes in a portrait can be seen in a photograph by Steve McCurry’s. He captured a brilliant image of a 12 year old Afghan girl during a time of war. You can see the photograph here
It’s undoubtedly one of the most famous images and there is a lot to learn from it.
Besides the eyes, you’ve also done a great job of the texture in this photograph. The lips of the boy are wet and add a nice glare. There are white flairs in both of his eyes. His sweater is also noticeably textured as is his hair and skin. The lighting in the photograph brought all of these things out. Great job.
Your choice of background is radical and very interesting. It adds an entire other element to your photograph. While many portraits overly simplify the background, you’ve chosen to make your background a secondary object worth looking at. . I’m assuming that you shot through old glass with a simplified background on the other side? Maybe you could tell us how you set up your background?