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06-21-2010, 05:30 AM   #1
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Modern Society
Lens: DA 35 Ltd Camera: K10D Photo Location: Shibuya, Tokyo ISO: 100 Shutter Speed: 4s Aperture: F22 

Lurking on MBP sites and drinking form the cup of Martin, I have been inspired to take more account of what exactly is in my images, and what they say. This is one of first good attempts at creating something with artistic portent.

Modern Society


I'm looking forward to technical and philosophical comments! Also this is one of the only shots that I could possibly re-take, so any ideas for improvement would be appreciated. Taken in Shibuya, Tokyo at Hachiko Square. I did draw elements from a few exposures with some photoshop malarky.

06-21-2010, 06:04 AM   #2
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+: I like the night lit scene and overall look, and exposure is good.

-: I would have gotten in front of the largest statue in the foreground, as it's a bit distracting. Also, the horizon is slightly tilted, making the buildings tilt slightly to the viewer's left.
06-21-2010, 07:46 AM   #3
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Yes but what is Mr. Statue looking at?

I didn't like the tilt at first either but it cant be avoided to keep the Left hand corners, and it does lean towards the main subject.

I also wanted to do a portrait crop, losing the right statue and Starbucks (damn starbucks!) What do you think?

I do have some frames with him lower down, however:

Straightened this one, and it is a single exposure

And I like this one with OOF

Last edited by JesseDavis; 06-21-2010 at 07:55 AM.
06-21-2010, 09:31 AM   #4
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I just don't think the statue in the foreground fits the scene well. It's too prominent and takes your eye straight there, rather than to the light trails and night lit buildings. You really have to study it hard, and with your prompting, to even visualize that the statue is looking at the big ad.

The statue is just too tall, so even backing up would still leave it obscuring your scene. I think with just some people in the foreground, it would capture the scene better.

06-21-2010, 10:05 AM   #5
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Ah I see what you are saying about it being hard to buy that the statue is reading the ad.

The way I saw it, the most prominent statue is praying to the 'mighty vision' tv screen, which is selling 'emotional illumination' in the midst of the milieu of modern postindustrialism, surrounded by a rushing torrent of faceless people and motion, he lifts his hands in supplication to the gods sold on telivision. To the right and subjected, the lesser statue hunches in a thinkers pose, observing but not participating in the same world, jaded against the splendor before him.

In their constancy and clear images the statues become the 'real' people in this story. Although the photo makes them more real then the faceless ghostly humans rushing around them, these archetypes of hte values of faith and wisdom are pale artifacts of the feelings which the true humans could express in their lives, if they weren't so busy. The final point is that the statues are divided between the prominent majority who feed on the pablum fed by television, and the ignored intellectual minority who have become disaffected and disengaged from the state of the world; and there is both a great gulf and little else between them.

In what I was trying to do the actual scene of the streets is just a setting for these elements, so wanted the statues to get in the picture. Removing the statues or getting in front of them would just make another Hachiko shot, of which I have a few. Perhaps the same shot on a rainy day when it's deserted would be interesting when the street scene is more subdued.

In any case I'm none too happy with the background in the right as well, and as I can see from your comments the philosophy doesn't necessarily shine through. Perhaps I will try again with a much closer framing of the main statue's head, which would remove the one on the right but emphasize the line to the screen (and not the billboard below).

Thanks for the comments! Any more ideas?

Last edited by JesseDavis; 06-21-2010 at 10:17 AM.
06-23-2010, 05:26 PM   #6
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Great attempts at what you're trying to capture. My only suggestion would be if you were planning on retaking the shot, move more to the left and a tad lower, just enough so that the statue's height is equal to the advertisement's?

Then again I'm just throwing suggestions and not sure how it will come out
06-23-2010, 08:23 PM   #7
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I like the idea you were going for but I think that it is a little busy on the right hand side. I think that if you want the statue to be the subject you have to arrange the shot so it is the subject. Also, I don’t care much for the yellowy tint of the photo. If re-shooting is not an option here are some “chopped and shopped” changes I would suggest.

Last edited by jasonadams; 07-17-2010 at 01:31 PM.
06-26-2010, 03:42 PM - 1 Like   #8
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Neat idea Jesse. I, for one, like the concept of it and the role that the statue plays in the story/composition. There is a lot of potential here. I think jasonadams' crop points in an interesting direction, but IMO he pushes a little too far. For me, there are other elements in addition to the statue and the large screens across the street that draw interest, namely, the anonymous and blurred figures and cars on the street level and the reflections of the lights in the buildings to the right.

If you are close by and can shoot again, here are some things that I would look for:

1 - It's ashamed that there's a car parked in the lower left, esp with the little reflective bit. It might be cool if you took an extra long exposure so that the cars and people form a glowing blur - a metaphorical river of modernity that separates the statue from the screens across the street

2 - Your OOF experiment is interesting, but perhaps too OOF. I'd prefer the objects across the street to remain recognizable. If they are not recognizable then the story starts to fall apart. Think about how OOF changes the narrative, i.e., the buildings slightly OOF brings the viewer back to the statue, while having the statue and buildings both sharply in focus perhaps encourages the viewer to bounce back and forth between them repeatedly.

3 - The white "Tutsuya" and the crouching statue on the right are a little distracting visually and don't really support the narrative all that much. I'd consider cropping them out or reframing.

Looking at it again, just taking the original image and cropping out the reflective sticker in the lower left and the Tutsuya on the right, and you have a more focused narrative.

Well done. I'm glad to see photos with a conceptual angle here...

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