<<< o >>>untitled #0002 47 comments + add yours

Things have been really hectic at work for the last couple weeks so I'm really glad that I still have a few shots left from my trip to London a couple of weeks ago. After this one, I have three more, and then that's it. There are probably a couple I could rescue, but I'm keen to find a bit of time to shoot some new stuff.

focal length
shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
image quality
RAW converter
2.56pm on 24/9/05
Canon 20D
EF 17-40 f/4L USM
36mm (58mm equiv.)
aperture priority
C1 Pro
3x2 + graffiti
comment by SK at 07:52 PM (GMT) on 6 October, 2005

Very cool shot! Love the angle of it. Makes it look zen like. Thanks.

comment by sAm at 07:52 PM (GMT) on 6 October, 2005

Love this quirky angle you applied here. I also like the fact that you have deviated from capturing the grafitti as is, excellent compostion...

comment by wyllys at 08:10 PM (GMT) on 6 October, 2005

Sorry, but I think this is not one of your better shots. My eye was wandering all over the place trying to find something. I finally turned my head and figured out what the painting was, but overall this shot doesn't leave a big impression.

comment by Russ Morris at 08:20 PM (GMT) on 6 October, 2005

looks like Twiggy...

comment by ~*~flying cow~*~ at 08:39 PM (GMT) on 6 October, 2005

i love the angle and the raw look in the picture. the blurred cigarette butts make a good composition.

comment by djn1 at 10:05 PM (GMT) on 6 October, 2005

Russ: yep, it does, though the first thing it reminded me of was the 'heroine chic' look of the 90s: the drugged-out, almost sullen waif.

comment by Rock at 10:17 PM (GMT) on 6 October, 2005

I don't get it.

comment by djn1 at 10:21 PM (GMT) on 6 October, 2005

Rock: what don't you get?

comment by Rick at 10:27 PM (GMT) on 6 October, 2005

I agree with wyllys, it is very difficult to look at. I didn't even realize there was a drawing until I read the comments. I guess my intial reaction was similar to Rock's.

comment by Ed { tfk } at 10:28 PM (GMT) on 6 October, 2005

Interesting perspective on the stencil.
Curiously I have a shot of a stencil that was placed on the wall close to the ground, albeit a different angle.

comment by Nisa at 10:33 PM (GMT) on 6 October, 2005

what was that again?

comment by Demetrice at 10:35 PM (GMT) on 6 October, 2005

Interesting composition. My first thought was 'ah. burn marks from the cigs.' Not one of your greatest hits, but noteworthy nonetheless.

comment by StuartR at 10:56 PM (GMT) on 6 October, 2005

Yeah, it took me a minute to realise it was a stencil.. At first glance it looks like a dribble of oil or something. I think it's the angle... Your recent postings have been better than this, but you can't hit the jackpot every time!

comment by lisa at 10:57 PM (GMT) on 6 October, 2005

really cool shot here. At first I didn't really know what I was looking at on the rock but I think I see a little figure now.

comment by george i at 11:20 PM (GMT) on 6 October, 2005

the stencil looks to me like a native american dancing and playing a horn. in which case how appropriate for tobacco to make an appearance!

comment by Bert at 11:35 PM (GMT) on 6 October, 2005

Yes. This has a spiritual quality to it, as it reminds me of a Native American cave painting. And instead of the ancient fires in a mystic fire ring, you have the cigarette smoke and the ash tray. The image itself looks as though it could have been created from the smudged smoke of some ceremony held long ago, as though the smoke itself conjurred up the image on the stone.

comment by Marc at 11:38 PM (GMT) on 6 October, 2005

Well, I'm going to have to disagree with most of the people here so far and say that I really like this one, it's an interesting angle, and the cigarette butts are a nice effect. Plus, you managed to find a stencil from Banksy, which is always fun. Nice job.

comment by Rock at 11:38 PM (GMT) on 6 October, 2005

Dave thanks for the e-mail asking what I don’t get.

I don't get what your shot is about. Your intent doesn't appear to have been to create an abstract work, but maybe I'm wrong. The purpose of the shot also doesn’t appear to be a simple documentation of the scene. So what was your intent in taking the shot?

Was it to create art :)

Was it to challenge us to question what the shot was about?

Was it just a lousy day and therefore time to post a so-so shot?

Did you intend to provoke or create controversy?

The concrete/rock may have been interesting by itself with the black blobs that from reading the comments must be a stencil of some kind. The out of focus cigarette container at the bottom seems to be incongruous with the rest of the shot. Actually to my eye the entire right 1/3 quadrant is without merit because I don't understand how you intended for it to add to the strength, beauty, story, dynamics or etcetera of the image. Then there is the odd blue at the top left which just seems to be an unnecessary or accidental addition.

If this shot was posted by many bloggers I wouldn’t have thought much about it. I would have thought it was just another of the thousands of questionable shots that are posted daily. But it wasn’t posted on just any blog it was posted on Chromasia. I have come to expect quality shots to be posted by you. I may not like them, but I can usually appreciate the technical skills, the composition, the subject or even the ART of your images.

So as I stated before – I don’t get it. So what am I missing?

comment by Joe Lencioni at 11:41 PM (GMT) on 6 October, 2005

The painting reminds me of this image that the Icelandic band, Sigur Ros, uses on some of their things.

comment by andrew at 11:55 PM (GMT) on 6 October, 2005

intriguing, I was looking at the black smudges of curiously placed black ink on the rock. It looked odd. Then I saw the little guy ... very neat.

It does have that Sigur Ros similarity. Even neater!

comment by joe_ob at 12:18 AM (GMT) on 7 October, 2005

I'm just disappointed that Rock had to capitalise the word 'art'. It's just a photo, like all the rest.

ART or no art, it makes no difference.

comment by djn1 at 12:21 AM (GMT) on 7 October, 2005

Rock (and everyone else): I've put up another shot of this grafitti here:


It's not a particularly good shot, but it does give you a much better idea about what this image is about ... at least as I see it. What I hadn't realised is that this one ended up somewhat more abstract than I intended: i.e. I thought it was reasonably obvious that this was a waif-like figure stood over a drain. I guess that my intention was to show her/it in context: a waif and stray, in/on the gutter, with only cigarette ends for company.

If all you can see is black blobs then I can understand why the shot doesn't appear to make any sense.

comment by StuartR at 12:32 AM (GMT) on 7 October, 2005

AHA! Now I can see it! I originally saw the "native american dancing with a horn too"! The second picture was worthwhile putting up, it's clearer now.

comment by Rock at 12:32 AM (GMT) on 7 October, 2005

Thanks Dave. I'll take a look.

joe_ob - The only reason I placed ART in all caps was because of the interesting discussion on this site from a few posts ago. It was not intended to imply anything. If you read something into it then you are wrong. I just thought it funny that I was thinking about art and Dave’s work yet again.

comment by Rock at 12:36 AM (GMT) on 7 October, 2005

Now that's pretty wild Dave. I feel like a lummox for not seeing her before because now she's very clear on both images. Like I said – I don’t get it… obviously I’m pretty slow.

comment by djn1 at 12:40 AM (GMT) on 7 October, 2005

Rock: obviously it wasn't anywhere as near as clear as I thought. When I took this shot I spent about ten minutes, shooting from different angles, trying to work out how I wanted to compose the shot. In the end I'm pretty happy with the result, but I guess that my familiarity with the scene lead me to produce something a bit more obscure than I intended.

comment by Oliver Chank at 01:24 AM (GMT) on 7 October, 2005

This shot is amazing, and I don't know why many people think it's so-so.

Composition is good, the buds, the stencil... The focus and angle disturb the eye well enough for the viewer to analyze every aspect of the photograph, which I think is great, because it's not something we except to see, or to happen. As for the philosophical part of the photograph, it left most of the viewers confused about it, wondering why such details composing the image. The sad part is when people tend to cut their judgement to, "Well, shouldn't have had posted this one...", while it actually means something, and tells a message.

Art is not accessible to everyone. And everyone is not particularly suited to every kind of art... but even though sometimes it doesn't make us feel like it's beautiful or great... we have to find out what can be translated as Great. There was a reason why David chose this one and not another, and why that day, he looked at the scene and thought, Oh wow, I'm gonna take this shot with this angle, focusing that, etc...

comment by pfong at 01:43 AM (GMT) on 7 October, 2005

The image of the forlorn women looks very clear to me. The ashtray in the background is a perfect thematic complement. This is a great shot.

comment by Enike at 03:56 AM (GMT) on 7 October, 2005

What I don't get is what people don't get about it. I guess if you have to ask, you don't get it. ;D

comment by David at 04:51 AM (GMT) on 7 October, 2005

Awesome - at first it looked a bit like Chinese calligraphy!

comment by Sharla at 05:01 AM (GMT) on 7 October, 2005

Peeling the onion ... First glance it was an interesting angle and some smudges on a wall, almost like smoke rising from the butts. Then it looked like a fox or skinny wolf marching and blowing a tin horn with dust or smoke rising. Then (with a lot of help from everyone and the extra angles) I see the young, unsmiling young girl. Any more layers in this one?.

BTW, that was really fun!

comment by Viking at 06:21 AM (GMT) on 7 October, 2005

Haha, I can see the guy dancing with the horn now :)

But I definitely saw the sad woman first. I think the focus of the shot makes it difficult to see anything else. I don't get what some other people don't get. At the very least, I find it interesting. What inspired someone to draw this here?

comment by Steve at 07:23 AM (GMT) on 7 October, 2005

Hi Dave, great shot - you've captured the context of the graffiti well. Can you remember how big it was, where it was?

comment by Carol at 08:40 AM (GMT) on 7 October, 2005

Hmmm, it's an interesting shot (as we can see from all the comments!). I did see the girl before looking at the comments.

I like the grittiness of the wall that you've captured on the LHS and the stencil is great (but the stencil is not the whole photograph!).
I think it's important to differentiate between the 2.
I dislike the RHS, particularly to the right of the cigarette butts, for me it doesn't add much. I wonder what it would be like if cropped tighter?

comment by Paul @ Sydney Webcam at 09:53 AM (GMT) on 7 October, 2005

The brain is a funny old thing. When I first saw the image I thought of a fat man's belly with the ash tray on table below. Then I saw what looked like a fox playing a trumpet on a wall. Having read the first few comments I couldn't see what was going on with references to Twiggy & herion chic models. Was feeling a bit baffeled. Left it alone and came back later to finally see the additional image and read more comments and it all fell into place. I couldn't believe I never saw the head of the girl the first time. I guess ones brain sees a pattern or shape and immediately locks something in a that may not be actually there.

comment by Kalei at 10:44 AM (GMT) on 7 October, 2005

nice angel of this shot and very interesting wall art

comment by filteredlife at 12:01 PM (GMT) on 7 October, 2005

Just Awesome....

comment by Paul Courtney at 01:02 PM (GMT) on 7 October, 2005

All I saw was the animal blowing the horn. The RHS smudge was too blurred to interest me and the only thing in focus was the blue dot in the top left-hand corner. Fairly uninspiring. Then I read the comments, and like most, just didn't get it. Finally read down to your second shot and everything fell into place. What a strange thing the brain is. I could have looked at this shot any number of times and only seen the trumpeter. Now however it all makes sense. The cigarettes and drain now play a major part in the dejected scene before my eyes.
Brilliant, just brilliant.

comment by Annabel at 04:37 PM (GMT) on 7 October, 2005

Super gritty shot ... Great stuff!

comment by John Duncan at 05:06 PM (GMT) on 7 October, 2005

I still see no man with a horn. I was never any good at Rorschach.

I do, however, like the shot, and the amount of debate it's prompted is surely justification in itself?

comment by Sharla at 05:22 PM (GMT) on 7 October, 2005

Maybe before time has "expired" for this one, readers could comment on the issue of seeing a girl first or the fox (substitute your own interpretation here).

I saw the fox, I think because I tend to start with the middle of an image and work my way out.

For those that saw the girl, do you tend to look at an image as you would something that you read, starting from the left? (Assuming that your native language follows that rule.)

Of course, there could be plenty of other variables, so no scientific conclusions will be derived but it is still curious.

comment by Adam at 05:47 PM (GMT) on 7 October, 2005

great depth of field to help explain how that art got there... well done

comment by Aravind at 07:19 PM (GMT) on 7 October, 2005

lol... i figured it as a wild monkey dancing while smoking a cigarette.
The cigarette butts on the ground (pic) made me think like that. And after some carefull observation (blurring my vision) i could see the beautiful girl.

Great !

comment by djn1 at 07:32 PM (GMT) on 7 October, 2005

Thanks everyone. Oh, and for what it's worth, the narrow DoF with the focal point towards the top right of the image was meant to draw your attention to the face. I had no idea that it would be interpreted as a trumpet playing fox or person or a wild monkey smoking a cigarette! ;-)

comment by owen b at 02:16 AM (GMT) on 8 October, 2005

The responses to this are fascinating.

First of all, what's with all the "What story does this tell? I don't see a stroy therefore this image isn't any good" nonsense? I'm afraid I don't get the whole school of thought that every image has to "tell a story". A lot of my images tell no story whatsoever to me, deeper than "Here's something I saw one day, and I liked the way it looked".

Secondly, the stencil took me only a second to spot, without looking at the comments, but PERHAPS that's because I've lived in London a while and this kind of 'graffiti' has become fairly commonplace to me. I've also seen examples of it in Glasgow and Venice, as it happens.

I would have cropped this slightly tigher on the bottom right hand side, or even framed the cigarette butts further right in the shot in camera and gone for a less oblique angle on the stencil, but then that's a personal preference. Even so my preference is not in order to tell a story or create a specific impression. I just would prefer it aesthetically, and sometimes that's all photography is to me.

comment by georgei at 08:24 AM (GMT) on 8 October, 2005

To me, a fascinating element is at play in this shot, particularly as to how it relates to the online community. A number of us did not see the girl in the picture, for whatever reason(s). Moreover I, for one (and I suspect others, too), didn't read all the comments that came before the one I left, else I would've gathered that the figure isn't a dancing native america, but is in fact a street urchin...or a waif...or something like that. So if you only read the comment or two at the begtinning, or maybe the comment or two before the one you leave, you may be missing someone else's interpretation of an image at a photoblog you visit. This is one instance where there's plenty of room for interpretation, and therefore the different reactions were clearly visible. But to some extent that begs the question: what of the different reactions for an image that's not so easily 'misinterpreted' or 'misread' as this one? A picture of a flower, say. What then? To what extent do assumptions of a known quantity affect our discussion of it? Maybe I'm getting too heavy. It's 12:23 AM and I've had quite a bit of sangria. Aw, hell...I love you guys.

comment by ling at 05:39 AM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

This is a different shot. Something quite different from what you always take.
But I like the perspective. I had to look at the second picture to confirm myself what it was though I had a feeling it was a lady.