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"Dream on": Review by the Senior Critic Team

Published by  Yvette Depaepe in collaboration with  Theo Luycx, Head of the Senior Critics.

1x has a unique feature the founders are very proud of:  the photo critique.
Members can submit pictures to a team of knowledgeable senior critics. Their feedback and different suggestions are useful, interesting and enriching even for the best of us.

Critique on the photo ”Dream on” submitted by  Batsceba Hardy.

”Dream on”

A man sleeps on a train, lost in his dreams. Every aspect of my image works to convey the narrative: the "double" effect caused by the window, the warm tones of the various objects in the frame, the silhouettes of distant people embedded in the reflection. Together, these elements conspire to transport the viewer into the main character's dreams.

Senior Critic Javier Roldan
First of all, thanks for posting the shooting settings and gear used. They allow for a better critique and for others to learn.
I like the photo, and what you describe is well reflected in the image. I also like the title.

The main issue I see though is how prominent the red head rest is on the right hand side, which bumps into the viewer and really breaks the otherwise nice story.

You could either crop the photo to square format and let the traveller's head rest on the right frame, or otherwise convert everything to b/w and lighten the seat and headrest on the right hand side so that it becomes lighter and doesn't interfere with the viewer. Still I would crop a bit on the right.

Regarding the focus, I'm not sure if focusing on the seat rather than the man is intentional or not. Regardless, it's OK in this case as it adds to the dreamy aspect of the shot. If you've done it intentionally, bravo! :) Finally I'm under the impression the photo needs some more whites and/or highlights. That's easy to do in Photoshop or Lightroom.

Senior Critic Lyn Hungerford 
I am very attracted to this image owing to the subject and very clear message. The movement, and particularly the double image help to convey a conceptual image.

I find the red head rest very distracting, not only because of the colour, which is totally contrasting the dreaming feeling of the rest of the image, but also because of the form of the head rest, which is a big formless shape and very much in strong competition with the subtle colours and delicate facial feature of the sleeping man.

I tried a version in b/w which helps to solve the problem, with a very strong crop. The crop definitely loses the conderful train environment you have here... but it wouldn't be balanced if you just cropped to the right. As well as the crop, you can easily add contrasts to give the image a bit more definition and more highlights, as mentioned by Javier. In a b/w version it would be necessary to tone down the dark line of the window so that it doesn't compete with the dreaming man.


Senior Critic  Norman Gabitzsch 
I like the theme that you have chosen to present this image. You are right that the warm tones and framing of this image add to the feeling of comfortable security from the world outside.

I would not take this to BW which for me would be cold and uncomfortable. This is an example where colour adds a meaningful dimension.

I like the lines (especially the nearly horizontal line leading to this eye and the vertical black and white line giving strength and stability to the scene. This leads to a pleasing composition of subject and elements.

Yes, the red cushion in the upper right corner is strong, but in my opinion it does not overpower the image. It adds to the juxtaposition of interior comfort and exterior discomfort.

To me, it's an appealing capture like it is...


Senior Critic Steven T 
Thank you for sharing your photograph in Critique, and also for including the exposure data to help us analyse and learn.

I like the peaceful expression. The distortions caused by the reflections in the window work to support the theme of 'dreaming'. The double image suggests the two dimensions of consciousness that blur together as we approach sleep, and the shadowy figures in the chaotic background are the stuff of dreams. I think the title 'Dream On' is well chosen.

Since this is Critique, we offer suggestions that we “think” might make an image better. You didn't ask specific questions about composition, etc., but I would like to offer these ideas …

Slight darkening and/or de-saturation of the large red area in the top right corner, and more blurring of everything but the face to suggest the imprecise haziness of half-remembered dreams.

Since you wrote so eloquently about the photo, I'd like to remind you that Critique is open to all members, and we learn together here. If you see an image you'd like to comment on, your words would be welcome.


Thanks for this new publishing, Yvette!
My pleasure, José!
Excellent summary, I always enjoy to read contributions from Senior Critic Team corner. Very interesting and educative. Thanks Yvette and Theo for publishing it.
Thanks for your appreciation, dear Miro!