Great work with your first assignment. You’ve accomplished exactly what we hoped for.
Essentially, you’ve taken the same environment and you’ve transformed 1 ordinary area of space into a composition with strong design elements.
Two things jump off the page at me. First, and most prominent is your use of tonal qualities. You’ll learn about this more in your black and white photography assignment, but I’ll explain it in short now. Your “beast” image, if converted to black and white,, would be made up predominantly of grey tones. This means your tones are neither black nor white. They rest somewhere in the middle. This isn’t always bad in color photography but in your case it does give the image a rather flat look.
A photography with a wide tonal range is often more dramatic and vibrant. This is the case in your ‘beauty” photograph. This photograph includes not only deep blacks but also vibrant whites. This type of tonal range helps your composition jump off the page.
Secondly, your use of side lighting really helped bring out shape in the composition. Your beast image is lit from overhead and therefore has a flat look to it. Your “beauty” image on the other hand uses shadow and darkness to help not only create the illusion of three dimensions, but it also helps draw out the beautiful textures in the environment. Great work!
My only concern is with symmetry and line. The top of the candle holder is slanted down towards the left. To me, this looks unintentional. Photographers often forget to balance their horizon lines or other strong lines in their photographs. I would have liked to see this line be parallel with your top and bottom frames.
Other than that, great work! I look forward to seeing your next assignment.