Re: Re: Lesson 9: Black & White Photography

Duncan Rawlinson


Great work on this assignment.

I’ve attached your “levels” reading below. You’ll notice the tonal graph is weighted to the left (darker tones) meaning that this photograph has more dark tones than light tones. As discussed in the lecture, tonal balance is not a priority, instead it’s tonal range that you’re looking for. You’ve done a great job of this with pixels being represented in both the light (right) and dark (left) end of the spectrum.

That being said, I noticed that you don’t have much pixel representation in either of the two farthest extremes in the spectrum. You seem to have a little representation in the white end of the spectrum (right), but I feel that you could have “crunched” your blacks a little more to make them more vibrant and dramatic. You could even do this in post production if you wished. Don’t get me wrong, the tonal range is great, but I think you could have had slightly deeper blacks.

My other concern is with the image’s sense of balance. In all of your previous assignments you’ve really experimented with ‘weighting” your composition using informal balance. In your previous assignments you’ve successfully used “line” as one of your primary design elements. This image on the other hand has a much stronger sense of “formal balance”. The object is placed in the center and since it’s a wide shot (i.e. includes the details from the feet to the top of the head of your main subject), it’s more of an environmental piece rather than an emotional piece. Generally speaking, the closer you get to your subject’s face, the more emotional a photograph becomes.

You’ll notice this in films as well. During intense emotional scenes, filmmakers move their cameras close to their subjects which allows the audience to look into the character’s eyes which gives the illusion of “being there”. I would have liked to see you experiment with either moving close to your subject or designing a more complete environment which could communicate your story. Right now your background consists of some objects that are not identifiable, others that are abstract, and others which I’m not sure how they fit into your story.

Again, from a technical standpoint, you’ve done a great job. I just want to make sure you’re always thinking of the story telling abilities of the craft as well. Photography can be a communicative art form. It expresses important ideas and emotions without saying a word. I want to see you explore the potential of this.

Great work overall!