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Old 05-07-2012, 08:45 PM
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Use to denote nudity/mature subject matter Hi all, I am a new member looking for critiques

My name is Lee, I am 67 and have been a frustrated artist most of my life, lol. In 2004, digital photography started me in a new artistic direction. I really liked almost every aspect of the medium. After a year or so of just learning the basics of photography, and a couple more years of tweaking my skills, I finally started taking photos I wanted to share with others and went looking for feedback.

These early photos were all completely 'family friendly" and eventually I managed to have a regional arts council sponsor a local exhibition of some of my works. I sold a number of images at that time and have since sold a few more images to private book publishers. The exhibition sales almost paid off the expense of preparing the images for the exhibition, lol. No big financial windfalls but emotionally - quite satisfying. I have posted most of these images online at several sites.

However, along the way, I discovered the 'magic' of digital editing/manipulation. This went way beyond the basic photographic adjustments of brightness, contrast, color saturation, etc. It involved adding or removing objects, adding textures, smudging, warping, cloning, painting, reshaping objects, layering, etc. The digital world offered solutions to what had been some of my most frustrating artistic challenges. Not the least of which was the fact that any digital edit could be instantly undone, so my creativity was no longer held hostage by my fears of ruining something I had spent hours working on. I could freely experiment with 'off the wall' ideas or techniques.

Eventually I connected a few unrelated experiments/experiences and found myself in the strange (to me at least) situation of creating self-shot nude images based on digital photography, digital manipulation, and digital painting. More learning curves, more tweaking and once again I eventually felt my creations were good enough to share. Being timid and acutely aware of the subject matter, I could not bring myself to share them with anyone I know personally, lol. I don't live in the middle of the 'American Bible Belt' but I can see the 'Buckle', lol. However, being bold I decided to post some of these images online and get a feel for how well they would be received by others. I have decided to keep my 'family friendly' persona and works completely separate from this 'mature content' persona and works. Although all of these images explicitly show full male nudity, only a very few have any 'erotic' content.

I started a thread and have posted some of the frontal and 'erotic' imagery in the Figure forums. It has sparked a very interesting discussion there, but my reason for starting the thread (looking for serious critiques) has become lost in the mostly 'off-theme' turn the discussion has taken. At a minimum I have learned my 1st lessons - do not post a bunch of photos at once and clearly identify each image individually so no one gets confused about which image is being discussed, lol.

Lee

ARTIST DISCLAIMER: THE MODEL FOR THESE IMAGES (ME) IS A 67 YEAR OLD MAN WHO IS 40 POUNDS OVERWEIGHT AND HAS HIS SHARE OF WRINKLES, CRINKLES, AGE SPOTS, SCARS, SAGS, BAGS, BUMPS AND BULGES.
**All images have been modified to conceal these aspects, lol**.

Image 1 - Confined

Image 2 - Back-light 2

PS. - I also learned how to insert images into the text, lol.

PPS. - Oops, I forgot the 'butt' icon, lol.

Last edited by LeZart : 05-07-2012 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 05-08-2012, 08:08 AM
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Re: Hi all, I am a new member looking for critiques

Welcome to WC!

Thanks for the background info, always good to get a chance to know about the artists posting here.

I am not well-versed in all the technical aspects of photography so I won't comment on the "quality" of the photographs as photographs.

Artistically I like Image 1. the lighting accentuates the form of the male body and the gray background works well. nice work

Image 2. I'm not fond of the backlight effect in this one. Just me. The pose works well but the brightness on the right leg and the rear end distracts me.

Hope to see more of your work, thanx for posting

Greg
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:24 PM
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Re: Hi all, I am a new member looking for critiques

Hi Lee,

The composition in both work well but I prefer the cropped/closed shapes of the first. A couple of suggestions with the second would be to lose the black shape at the corner near the fingers and also to check the right ankle/calf as I think where the calf is the angle would be visible behind your left leg. Just personal suggestions.

You might also like to try the following forums for more constructive criticism of your manipulations.

Open criticism

Structured critiques

I'm not saying your not welcome to post them in the Figure Forum, quite the opposite. It is just the majority of the work there tends to be the more traditional life drawings and paintings so the majority of the audience aren't so familiar with manipulations and so are less likely to offer advice on such techniques.

I look forward to you future posts in any of the WetCanvas forums.
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Last edited by Descartes : 05-10-2012 at 06:31 PM.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:34 PM
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Re: Hi all, I am a new member looking for critiques

Quote:
Originally Posted by Descartes

A couple of suggestions with the second would be to lose the black shape at the corner near the fingers and also to check the right ankle/calf as I think where the calf is the angle would be visible behind your left leg. Just personal suggestions.

Thank you for your suggestions and opinions. I have looked at this 2nd image countless times and always thought there was a problem in that area but I was blind to the missing right leg parts, lol. I kept trying to adjust the left leg where it meets both the left calf and the intersecting 'floor line'. Every attempt was a failure because it distorted the shape of the leg beyond believable proportions and I eventually gave it up as a doomed endeavor. I think your observation is 'spot' on, lol. That dark spot was deliberately added because I thought it gave a bit of interest to the total composition but I have no quarrel with your opinion about that. It is a valid observation and indicates a closer look at one of my images than (I suspect) usually happens.

I have considered posting in the critique forums, but was unsure how well male nudity (especially the approach I take to it) would be received. Even with a 'butt' icon attached, I felt that might be pushing at something best left un-pushed. I really do like the concept of comments about the work only and less about off-theme topics. I really like my thread in the Figure form but I am getting very little feed back on the validity or quality of the posted images.

Even though I saw nothing else with a 'butt' icon that had been posted here in a very long time.. I took a chance and posted a couple of images in this manipulated photography forum (This thread has generated over 100 views but only 1 reply - until now - so I don't get the impression it really fits here comfortably). Upon looking closer, I realized that what had been posted was quite 'tame' when compared to my approach and subject matter.

Lee


Last edited by LeZart : 05-10-2012 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:46 PM
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Re: Hi all, I am a new member looking for critiques

Lee- this forum does not get the level of activity some of the other forums get- hence the few replies. It has nothing to do with the quality of your work.
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:46 AM
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Re: Hi all, I am a new member looking for critiques

Hey there,

I am new as well, and definitely an amateur/student. Your first image is very reminiscent of Robert Maplethorpe. I was introduced to his (more mainstream) work while at the Academia Museum in Florence to see "David". I couldn't resist picking up a Maplethorpe book while I was there, and have learned a ton about lighting just from close study of his breathtaking images. Good for you for pursuing your passion, no life is complete without it!

For what it is worth, I prefer the second pose to the first, as it is more confident and dynamic. I think it has something to do with the fact that your limbs are not quite superimposed in the first? The lighting in the first shot is very effective in emphasizing the landscape of the musculature. I agree with the last few comments in that the contrast of the lighting in the second shot, while emotional and dramatic, does distract from the figure, esp around your ankle.
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Old 05-11-2012, 02:14 PM
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Use to denote nudity/mature subject matter Re: Hi all, I am a new member looking for critiques

Don't have a lot of time to comment but just wanted to tell you not to worry about he number of views, that's totally misleading, sometimes it's people not having time to comment, sometimes, it's mods or whoever, checking out for spam or such. Sometimes, it's the computer or the website itself acting up and people have to come back or sometimes people have to see an image three or four times before they know what to say. Or sometimes what they wanted to say has been said and or they don't want to leave just a "That's nice" comment or what have you.
You'll drive yourself nuts if you count the views vs comments. I almost wish the number of views weren't publicly available. Personally, I don't even look at the number of views anymore. It really does mean nothing.

I really like that first image, it's looks as if you're trapped in the photo. Man fetus in a frame.
The second is good too, though your head seems a bit small for the size of the back proportion wise. I do like that sort of almost liquid effect on the body. I agree with losing the black shape in the corner of the fingers, it interrupts the flow. Nice work all the way around.
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Old 05-11-2012, 02:21 PM
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Re: Hi all, I am a new member looking for critiques

I thank painter65 for his kind words, thoughtful observations and encouragement but especially for taking the time to reply at all.

In reply to other comments - I think that almost all the problems pointed out concerning image 2 are related. The apparent proportion problem vmrs mentioned, the unseemly bright areas on the buttocks that birdhs mentioned, and even the missing body parts that Descartes mentioned are all the results of an added 'glow' that I created on the figure. That glow hid the missing part from me when I blacked out the background and it modified the sizes of the head, back and butt. I think a little judicious reduction of that glow could have avoided the worst of these problems. Productive observations!

I have decided to post my 'figure' manipulations in the Figure forums from this point forward. I have a gut feeling that that is the more appropriate venue for such imagery.

However, I have decided to continue to post some images in this forum but they will only feature examples of my earlier subject matters (which are all family friendly)

Here are 2 subject matters created using similar manipulations and concepts but result in unique differences. I am posting both cropped close-up and full image versions of both subject matters. I hope some find them pleasing.

This is the cropped close-up of image 3:


This is the full version of image 3: I am always amazed at the colors of fall leaves - as I am sure many others are. One day I picked up a handful of them and suddenly decided to create an image based on them. After a little bit of arrangement and some digital editing magic, this is the final result.



This is the cropped close-up version of image 4:


This is the full version of image 4: During this time, I was really into bug photos and that included some pretty small bugs, lol. While intently looking for said bugs, I was taken by the complexity of a simple piece of tree bark. This image is the result of this happenstance.



My thanks to all who take a look and especially to those willing to take the time to comment.

Lee

Last edited by LeZart : 05-11-2012 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 05-12-2012, 10:10 AM
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Re: Hi all, I am a new member looking for critiques

Wow, my goodness, you know how to use a camera.
I really need to get photoshop.
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Old 05-12-2012, 06:24 PM
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Re: Hi all, I am a new member looking for critiques

Quote:
Originally Posted by vmrs
I really need to get photoshop.

I do not use Photoshop ( I have version 7) except for a very few specific functions it provides that include some effects options and for layering purposes, but mainly for those features concerned with resizing images and compression of file sizes down to web posting purposes. In my opinion Photoshop has been overtaken by Corel's Paint Shop Pro. I use version XI but have all versions up through X3. I find Paint Shop Pro to be much more user friendly and way way cheaper - but hey, that's just one man's opinion and I freely admit Photoshop has a much bigger following - it is so popular that it's very name has become identified with digital editing in general.

Lee
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Old 05-13-2012, 12:20 PM
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Re: Hi all, I am a new member looking for critiques

Thanks Lee! That's good to know. I'm all for going the more user friendly way. I have a very old version of Microsoft's attempt at digital editing. It's a simple simple program but it's simple simple to use too.
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Old 05-16-2012, 05:19 PM
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Re: Hi all, I am a new member looking for critiques

Here are two more images for your viewing. The manipulations are simple and I make no claim to either being great art but I think they are eye catching and at least one of them is very colorful, lol.

Image 1 - Leaf Abstract



Image 2 - Kaleidoscopes - 3 variations



C & C encouraged,

Lee
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:39 PM
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Re: Hi all, I am a new member looking for critiques

Lee,
I am enjoying the new ideas that you have brought to the Digital Manipulation forum. You may possibly consider starting new threads when you post a new idea. Using a new thread with a different title would attrack more people to open the thread and view, otherwise, they might think this is the thread that they already looked at with only the original images and would miss the new images you posted. Just a suggestion.

I'm liking the leaf abstract a lot. The colors are soft and the design is pleasing. A simple frame but very fitting.

I am trying to figure out how you created the kaleidoscope composition, each formation is clever and poster perfect. I like what you did here by creating the composition of the three of them side by side. Nice how the two end ones share some similarities in elements yet all are quite different but look like they belong together (hope that made sense). A lot to look and and see. It is nice when an image makes you stop, stare, and investigate. Great job.
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Old 05-16-2012, 10:15 PM
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Re: Hi all, I am a new member looking for critiques

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luv2shoot
I am enjoying the new ideas that you have brought to the Digital Manipulation forum.

I really appreciate you kind comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luv2shoot
I am trying to figure out how you created the kaleidoscope composition...

I am adding this new photo to demonstrate how easy this really is:



As you see: I took a single photo

I used the original as it was
Then I flipped it horizontally and saved that new version
Then I flipped that vertically and saved again
Then I flipped that horizontally and saved one last time

Then you just layer them all into whichever composition you like. Of course in this instance, I left some white space between them (for clarity) when I assembled it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luv2shoot
I like what you did here by creating the composition of the three of them side by side. Nice how the two end ones share some similarities in elements yet all are quite different but look like they belong together...


That is because the 2 end ones were created from the same original but with different re-assembly. The middle one started with a different image.

PS - Thank you for the thread tip. I had wondered about that but did not want to flood the forums with new threads constantly.

Lee

Last edited by LeZart : 05-16-2012 at 10:21 PM.
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Old 05-16-2012, 10:23 PM
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Re: Hi all, I am a new member looking for critiques

We like floods....
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