1x has a unique feature the founders are very proud of: the photo critiques. All members can submit pictures to a team of knowledgeable senior critics. Their feedback is useful, interesting and enriching even for the best of us.
Read here the integral critique on the image "Cry the Beloved Ocean" submitted by Gaby Grohohovaz.
I hope this will stimulate many of you to take advantage of this opportunity to get feedback on their pictures.
I would like your feedback if
1) this works as a conceptual image (i.e it gets the message across) and
2) if it needs more added to it. I keep going back to it thinking it is pretty "naked", but then I think there is actually a lot to see and additional things would just distract.
This image is to show the demise of our oceans. The girl crying into the ocean and at the same time the corals being reflected as part of her own reflection, thus bringing the interlinked existence between humans and the ocean into play. She is painted black, at first glance suggesting a wet suit, but then perhaps opening the viewer up to wondering why paint ... suggesting rather the oil/pollution that is in the ocean covering all creatures to a greater or lesser extend.
One of the photographers here once said they don't like to explain a creative edit picture, as they don't want to impose their own thoughts onto the viewer. If you see anything else in this image, I would love to hear it, but I wanted to know if my intended message does come across.
Senior Critic Steven T
With the title, 'Cry the Beloved Ocean', and the oily colour of the skin, I understood this photograph to be a protest against the pollution of the oceans. I think leaving the hand unpainted is important. It's as if the hand and part of the hair were the only parts that haven't been submerged in the oily sea. I think if the hand were black too, the meaning would be more difficult to understand. The pose suggests anguish/sorrow/despair/resignation, so that's easy to read too.
Your second question was whether the image needs more added to it. I don't think so. It's a simple, direct message as it is. It states the problem. Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were a photograph that would show a simple, direct solution?
I love conceptual photography, and I enjoyed visiting your gallery. I didn't 'get' all the messages there, but I found meanings in some. I thought 'Freedom is an Illusion', 'Pact with the Devil', and 'Saying Goodbye to Chaos' were particularly meaningful. Good work!
I have no suggestions for improving this image. Well, maybe if the skin had a glossier texture and looked more realistically oily . . . . . but I think it's well-crafted and quite 'readable' just as it is.
Senior Critic Lyn Hungerford
For me it was necessary to read your description to understand your message. Particularly to understand why the girl was painted black - after reading your description the message is very clear. Personally it is not a problem for me to read descriptions of photographs - particularly when the description is short and concise... but this requires talent as a writer or reporter... choosing the right words in this case is an art, but sometimes just a question of taking the time and thinking about your concept - the same goes for naming the photograph - this too is an art. "cry the beloved ocean" is clear when you read your description but not crystal clear on its own. It is also true that photographs need time to be appreciated when observing them and the more you look at a well composed image the more you see - I think your image offers a lot - I am beginning to see the oil slick on the water in the foreground - something I didn't pick up at first. The image has a dream like /surreal quality which fits in really well with what you are trying to do, but most of all I think that the girl has a very strong presence and I can relate to her emotions...
I relate to the despair and sadness seeing what is happening to the environment for sheer greed in most cases as well as disinterest.
As critique goes I only have one minor point - I find that the coral to the left of the girl stands out a lot - you probably did this to balance the white hand, but I find that it is working against the overall symmetry of the central composition ...... perhaps you could try repeating the same misty coral that is on the right... But, as mentioned, this is minor.
Senior Critic Dominic Schroeyers
I think it is a nice conceptual image.
For me it was clear she was mourning, but I was thinking in the direction of a lost love.
Your description makes the story complete. Like you said, a story you are telling us. Without the words, everybody can make his/her own story with this picture.
The dark paint is a nice touch, wonder why not painted the hand also.
Personally, i thought the shapes in the water was reflections of a cloud, or just shapes of thoughts. If you could make it more clear these are corals, I think the message would be recognized better.
But anyway, even without introducing words that hint in a particular direction, I think you have a nice conceptual image here.