Vasculature – Critique


This week’s critique is on a photo entitled “Vasculature.” I took this photo last Thursday on a foggy morning. It was the first time I had taken pictures in the the fog. These trees were just steps from my house, so I didn’t have to go far to get this picture.

What I love about this photo is its dark and gloomy mood. The image looks like it has been underexposed, giving it a very dim appearance. The fog also adds a dreary feeling to the photo. Furthermore, the naked, and leafless branches suggest death and despair. All these work together to give the picture a very sombre feeling.

The form and shape of the tree branches suggest other things.  The outline of the tree branches forms a curve.  It leads the eye from the top left to the bottom right.  More interestingly, the thick and then thinner branches look a lot like blood vessels.  If you squint, you may think that this photo is an angiogram.  Because the branches also has the appearance of blood vessels, it adds interest to a rather mundane subject matter.

A potential problem with the photo is the question of balance.  If you draw a diagonal line across the photo, you would get the trees in one half of the line and white space on the other half.  Clearly, this would mean that the photo is lopsided or unbalanced.   This unbalance is a major flaw of composition.

The photo could have been improved if it was cropped tighter.  At the bottom right there is a power line running across the image.  This does not go well with the primary subject matter, the trees.  Cutting it out I think would make the photo better.  A tighter crop would also simplify the image more.

Please let me know what you think.  Thank you!

Broken Branch – First Critique

img_1493This is the first of many critiques that I would like to do on my photography and art work.  For this week, I thought I would share with you a photo that I took about two weeks ago.  It is of a wooded area along a path behind my place.

The broken branch is quite clearly the primary focal point. I like now the sunlight is reflected off this branch, really highlighting it well.  And this is the first thing you see too! I also like now it leads the eyes from the lower left corner across the photo towards the upper right corner.  This diagonal leading line is quite good here.

This photo was originally in colour but I converted into black and white.  I think subtracting the colour focuses more attention on the form, and lines of the branches.  I also like the gradual transition from lightness to more darker tones moving from left to right.

A major criticism is the incongruent mood of the photo.  A broken branch, or anything broken, has a sorrowful, negative feeling.  This is not compatible with the overall brightness, more cheerful, feeling of the photo.  It just doesn’t create that mood that we would associate with something broken.  If the photo was darker, it may have worked.  However, the mismatched mood is a critical flaw of the photo.

Furthermore, the photo may have worked better if the shot was tighter or more close up.  This would’ve allowed the diagonal line of the branch to extend from the lower left corner all the way to the opposite upper right corner.  This way it would pull the eye across the entire image instead of stopping about three quarters of the way as it does in the present photo.

What do you think of the photo? Do you agree or disagree with my critique?  Please share your comments.  I would love to hear from you.  Thank you!


Hopes for 2017

The arrival of a new year means new goals or hopes for the new year.

My first goal for 2017 is to finish revising and editing my novel.  I started writing in 2015 and it has taken about a year and half to finish my first draft.  The story is about a schizophrenic graduate student who is trying to get his PhD, but is derailed by two psychotic episodes.  It mirrors my own life in a lot of ways.  So far the revising/editing is going quite slowly.  I also have times when I think the story wouldn’t work or it will get rejected.  Nevertheless, I have to remind myself to think positively and plow through.  I’m hoping to have a revised version for a friend to read to get her input and feedback by the end of the year.

In 2017, I hope to earn some income from my art work.  Currently, I am able to produce one watercolour a week.  I can also generate a few photos a week or every other week.  The most important thing is that I have to find a way to market my work and start selling it.  I know there are websites for selling art work, and that might be the likely way I will go.  I could also build my own website to show and sell my art work, but of course that would mean I need to invest some money.  I’m just anxious that I won’t be able to sell most of my work.  Negativity aside, I guess it’s worth a try.

This year I would also like to learn and master Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.  I will be taking some courses on that teaches these programs.  The only problem is that I currently don’t have them installed on my laptop.  To access them I would have to fork over about $600 a year.  It’s a big investment, but I think it will probably be worth it in the end.  I hope to use these software to enhance my photos and make digital art.

My final hope is to find another close friend in 2017.  I really only have one friend that I socialize with.  Having another good friend would be nice.  Someone to go for coffee, lunch, or visit the gallery with.  I’m not sure how I will meet this friend but I will keep looking.

It’s clear that the main theme of 2017 is art.  I just hope that I will have success with creative writing, painting and photography in the new year.  Here’s to creating!

Looking back at 2016

It’s now 2017.  A new year is upon us.  I thought it would be a fitting time to look back at what happened to me in 2016.  It was a year filled with healthy habits, a new friendship and productivity in the arts.

In 2016, I stuck to a regular schedule of working out and being physically active.  I went to the gym four times a week.  On Mondays and Wednesdays, I would get to the gym around 7:15 am, and start my workout with strength training.  Then, I would go swimming for about half an hour.  This was followed by about an hour and a half of recreational badminton.  On Tuesdays and Fridays, I would just do strength training and swimming.   I think this routine has kept me from gaining weight and probably has a variety of other benefits.  One of the other benefits is that it has likely prevented depression from taking a hold on me.

Socially, I met a good friend in 2016.  I was introduced to my new friend through the social worker who was working on the ACT (Assertive Community Treatment) team.  She told me that another client, who was also high functioning and had an educated background, wanted to meet other clients similar to herself to befriends with.  So she arranged for us to meet for coffee. It worked out well.  As it turned out we had a lot in common.  We both suffered from psychosis, and were on the same medication.  We got together many times after the first initial meeting.  We went out for coffee, lunch, shopping, music concerts, and art galleries.  If it wasn’t for her, I would not have a social life.  I’m so glad that I met this special friend in 2016.

Last year was also a good year for art making.  In total, I managed to create 44 watercolour paintings.   The majority of them were small, measuring 6 X 9.  I painted many things from  birds, to landscapes to images of mental illness.  Equally productive, I took over 81 photographs in 2016.  Most of the photographs were of flowers and plants, but some were of architecture and infrastructure, and a few of people.  I also experimented with motion photography or blurring effect.  They resulted in pretty interesting images.  Productivity-wise, I think I did pretty well in creating art in 2016.  One thing I will work on for the future is to market and potentially sell my work.

2016 was overall a good year for me.  I will continue to live a healthy and active life, and hope to make new friends and more art in 2017.