Day 4 of the Costa Manos Workshop at Magnum Days in Provincetown started with a short review and critique of the previous day’s shots and continued with more shooting in the afternoon. Costa was excited to see everyone’s work and shared his knowledge converationally while viewing the pics. More details after the jump.
Review Of Photos Taken On Day 3
Costa looked at this image then turned to me and said with his trademark southern accent, “Well, there’s nothing going on!” I agreed and chalked this one being included by mistake. Well, not a mistake really – I thought it was good but it was late at night and I think I must have been delirious!
Costa asked where this was taken and I told him it was the rear entrance to the public bathroom on Commercial Street. He thought it was exposed and processed nicely but not very interesting. He stressed again that he thought I was a good photographer and that my work was technically spot on but sometimes I miss the mark. Encouraging words for those times when things don’t go as expected!
The class liked this shot a lot but Costa thought it might be too dark to see the lady in red who is reflected in the windows. I reprocessed the image to bring her image out a bit more and he liked it a lot more. He thought it was quirky and interesting and liked the gesture of the lady’s hand with all the reflections.
Again, Costa turned to me and said, “Right, but there’s not color here. I mean it might as well be black and white!” Color is extremely important to Costa’s work and he’s really trying to stress the importance to us by selecting shots that are entirely colorful. I think this shot was chosen because of my memory of shooting the scene and not for the finished shot itself. Not entirely interesting or nice to look at now that I see it again!
“Okay,” said Costa. “Next.” Summarily rejected. In all fairness this shot breaks one of Costa’s main rules – the subject’s arm is breaking the edge of the frame. It’s almost like a pet peeve for him and if he sees it he can’t help but think it’s a mistake by the photographer. In this case, I agree with him but I think the shot still has some merit. I’ve taken better shots this week though!
Costa thought this one was nicely done. He looked at it for a seconde then turned to me and said “But it’s the wrong time of day! I mean, look at the shadows. Everything is so dark!” In fairness, Costa often suggests shooting in full shade during the mid-day hours to avoid this kind of look in your shots. I was trying to work the light but I can see exactly what he’s talking about. The contrasty light is a bit much and doesn’t do anything to add to the shot.
A pretty picure and nicely seen. But not much more that what it appears to be. Next.
Costa thought this pic had a nice feel and was well put together with three different subjects working well together in the frame. The main subject is a little out of focus due to the depth of field of this shot and Costa really doesn’t like that. But it was considered a near miss as the lady’s face in the background was partially blocked and the lady inside the cafe was facing away from the camera. Costa liked the feel of the shot but thought I had better work.
Costa had a bit of trouble with this shot and liked the odd moment and other-worldy quality of all the signs in the background. He wondered if the guy’s hand being cut off was a problem but ultimately agreed this shot was a keeper. We looked at several variations of the shot taken while I was working the original scene and the entire class agreed this was the best shot.
“Well, that’s just what it looks like. Isn’t it?” Another one of Costa’s rules. The picture must be more than a description of what something looked like. I thought the 2 girls in the back were interesting when compared to the guy on the bike but wasn’t emotionally tied to the image. So we moved on.
Costa doesn’t normally like shots with the head cut off but he really seemed to like this shot. He like the broad strokes of color in the green door frame and the way the grees stripes and shadows really framed the subject and created an image that rose above the ordinary in some way. This was marked as a keeper.
“Oh, that’s nice. It’s funny isn’t it? What you think, class?” A few people in the class where there when this shot was taken and a few stories were exchanged but everyone agreed that there was humor, color and enough mystery with the man being sort of hidden. Costa liked that the photo was something most people have never seen with the megaphone emerging from the red lunch counter. It was marked as a keeper.
Costa thought this shot was an example of missing the frame within the frame. He saw an image in the window of the cafe that framed the man inside and maybe a little bit of the signs around the window. I can see what he was saying but I deliberately framed it a bit wide to give it a sense of place. Again, not tied to it so we moved on.
Costa’s Take On My Pics
Costa was very encouraging and agreed that I was moving in the right direction. He thought I had some interesting moments that not everyone would see and that the shots were put together nicely. Large fields of color and shadow working with the subjects in each photo to create a sense of something larger than the scene itself. He urged me to keep thinking this way and to keep shooting. Very encouraging!
Once all the student’s pics had been critiqued we were sent back out to shoot for the remainder of the afternoon. The next day would be spent putting together our slide show for the final presentation on Day 5 so we wouldn’t have much time to go over new pics. But the majority of time would be spent putting the slide show together.
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