I'm not bashing you or anything but I don't quite understand what it is about this photo that other members are praising.
Please look past my ignorance if I’m totally off here and let me know why I’m wrong if you don’t mind. For that matter, any other members that can explain to me why I’m wrong are more than welcome.
The detail is super sharp; we can see the texture of his shirt. But from the nose up it seems to get a little bit blurred.
The lighting is what it is, flash – more or less a direct hit. It’s well controlled in the sense that there are no blown highlights or flattened shadows and very few shadows in his face. Just the two on the sides of his chin and one below, which in my opinion are not too flattering. I wonder how you avoided getting any shadows on the background and still light it up?
For the pose, I don’t see any natural thing about it. It might be his natural pose to lean his head backwards and to the side but for a portrait I think it could have been better. It doesn’t look very relaxed. Holding the chin high gives an impression of his size but also seems like an attempt to avoid any shadows below it.
Same goes for the expression. To me it looks like he wants to get the shoot over with and is trying to force a smile. It doesn’t show any significant connection between the subject and the photographer.
In my honest opinion this looks more like a passport photo form the photo kiosk than a portrait by an accomplished photographer. I don’t see who is behind the face in this portrait, which in my opinion a portrait should try to portray.
Looking at your portfolio here on TL and your photos on your web site, blog and those of your photos I’ve seen on other sites, I’d expect a better result even under difficult conditions. I realize you call it a ‘free’ portrait but I’m not sure how to interpret that.
Again, my observations might be totally off in which case I’d appreciate to know why.
HARLAN COBEN (12)