<<< o >>>miles away 13 comments + add yours

Over recent weeks I’ve realised that I tend to categorise the images I put up in terms of three levels of quality: ok (fit to be put up if I haven’t managed to take anything that I think is better), good (stuff that I know could be better but I’m generally pleased with how it turned out), and excellent (shots that I’m really proud of). About 40% of the images I put up are ok, 58% are good, and a very few of them I think are excellent.

This shot is ok.

And I might not have posted it at all, but it partners tomorrow shot (which is much better), and I think the two of them together are more interesting than either on their own. And I know that I could post them both as part of the same entry, but I’m trying to stick to a one-image-a-day format so thought I’d put it up.

This shot was taken on Monday afternoon. I was in a part of town that I don’t normally visit and just wandered up and down taking a variety of shots, a good proportion of which were scenes such as this; i.e. reflections in shop windows (and other surfaces). And what’s odd is that out of the eight shots that I think I can use from this trip, six of them are in pairs – i.e. two shots of roughly the same scene. All of which is probably just a coincidence, but I often wonder quite what thought processes are involved in taking good photographs and figured that maybe shooting paired images was just a part of that process. Put another way: it seems that good shots are as much a product of intuition as they are a result of effort or preplanning, and as such it’s often very difficult to verbalise the hows and whys of a good shot. All of which is probably enough rambling for one day ;-)

capture date
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exposure bias
metering mode
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image quality
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Canon G5
1.34pm on 29/3/04
program AE
B+W UV 010
comment by Jon at 12:37 AM (GMT) on 31 March, 2004

While not as "polished" as your usual shots, it's interesting nonetheless. I always find mannequins of children incredibly creepy for some reason. ;)

I like how the reflection gets cut off where the fabric on the left ends. It almost makes it look like the cars etc. are a print on the fabric. It looks like more of an overlay effect than the usual "double-exposure" effect of a window reflection. It's something I'd like to explore some more myself -- it could yield some pretty cool shots I think.

comment by vinna at 04:11 AM (GMT) on 31 March, 2004

Really interesting shot. Like it a lot.

comment by Richard at 05:34 AM (GMT) on 31 March, 2004

Uh-oh..two people in a row called it 'interesting' ;-)

I do like it.

comment by Simon C at 08:24 AM (GMT) on 31 March, 2004

I think that this shot is better than 'ok'. Compositionally it's turned out beautifully. There's a great deal going on here and it works on all sorts of levels. It's almost as if the reflection is part of a mannequin's dream. Do mannequin's dream?

I find that photos of shop windows and reflections can be somewhat hit and miss, but in this case a definte hit. I look forward to the better one tomorrow!

comment by djn1 at 09:06 AM (GMT) on 31 March, 2004

update: I wasn't overly happy with the original version of this image (which can now be seen here), so did this version instead. It's 'cleaner' than the original or, to use Jon's term, more "polished", and basically involved an increase in contrast and some minor tweaks to the colour balance. Personally, I much prefer this version, but do feel free to tell me the other one was better ;-)

comment by bumpoowilly at 11:26 AM (GMT) on 31 March, 2004

very nice, and as Jon said, very creepy. there's a house/shop (can't tell what it is actually. it doesn't appear to ever be open, but there are often children messing around in it) near me where there are dolls hanging in the window. i try look away every time i go past because i'm scared they'll steal my dreams.

i don't think you should be too hung up with the 'one picture a day' thing. perhaps you could re-word to 'at least one picture a day'. if you shoot photos as a set, then i reckon they should be viewed as a set. plus we would be able to see more of your great pictures! hurrah!

comment by Deceptive at 01:18 PM (GMT) on 31 March, 2004

This has an almost nightmarish quality to it. I like the focus being on the glass reflections but I wonder how it would have worked with the focus on the face. Great photo.

comment by Zero at 06:12 PM (GMT) on 31 March, 2004

I always like photos of mannequins. I find them creepy (too). However, I can't decide if I like the reflection or not. On one hand it adds a bit of welcomed "distortion" which is cool, but on the other it adds a bit of focal "distraction" which is confusing (to me).

comment by Joe Holmes at 07:54 PM (GMT) on 31 March, 2004

>>This shot is ok.

A shot that might be "just ok" for any other reason is, in my opinion, automatically more gripping when you've got someone's face right up front. This one is made even better by the strange, almost-human expression of that doll and the twist of her neck. So while it's easy to pick apart the composition, etc., I find it very successful.

I decided sometime last week that I was posting too many photos that showcased composition and color and contrast and I wasn't pushing myself to get people into the shots. I've been trying to overcome that in the last week, with a goal of 50/50 people shots and landscape/architecture/abstract shots. I'm not there yet, but I am getting a bit bolder about trying to shoot people.

(Dave, is it kosher for me to post my URL here where relevant?)


comment by rod at 09:07 PM (GMT) on 31 March, 2004

I agree that mannequins are creepy. There are a couple of things that really makes this photo shine...at least to me: 1) The head is a different tone than the neck because of the reflection, making "her" look more doll-like 2) the tone of the neck is almost human, at least on my laptop - both those really make "her" look like a doll, but the eyes make "her" look almost human.

Oh, I finally got my photoblog up, thanks for the offer to help out.

comment by djn1 at 09:20 PM (GMT) on 31 March, 2004

Everyone: thanks.

Deceptive: this is one of three shots. The other two focussed on the mannequin but neither of them worked. For some reason the entire shot (and not just the background) lacked clarity.

Joe: yes, I'm happy that people include url's when relevant. The whole point of a blog, IMO, is that it's a small community among many other small communities, and what holds them all together is the various linkages and commonalities between them. As such, url's are not only desirable, they're essential. If I'd wanted to just showcase my work I'd have used a commentless gallery, but that isn't what interested me - hence the blog. So yes, url's are fine.

comment by Simon C at 08:21 AM (GMT) on 1 April, 2004

Hmmm. I'm not convinced the the replacement is better than the original. With the new version the reflected background seem to grab too much attention away from the mannequin. The original perhaps needed a little more punch - perhaps it would be best to boost the contrast around the mannequin a little more than the reflected background?

comment by Shots. at 08:45 AM (GMT) on 31 May, 2005

Great shot. I love the tones. I donīt think it needs more "punch" though, it has just the right contrast in my eyes.