Wes Odell  

Gone Are the People by Wes Odell

March 2023 - Gone Are the People

March 2023 - Wes Odell


About the Image(s)

The Desperado Waiting for a Train. I flipped this horizontally so that it would show better in an exhibit (looking in) and converted via Nik, More Silver.

This round’s discussion is now closed!
22 comments posted

Diana Magor   Diana Magor
OK Wes,

I want more information for this shot! Was he a professional model/ was he in front of a special backdrop or have you placed him there? What is the backdrop? How was it processed?

I think it is a very powerful image and although he looks a bit posed, it is very good.

Why is it called 'gone are the people'? As a Brit I don't know who or what he is!   Posted: 03/09/2023 06:29:30
Wes Odell   Wes Odell
I mentioned the "Covered Wagon Days" exhibit. Here is a poster for that.   Posted: 03/09/2023 17:31:18
Comment Image

Wes Odell   Wes Odell
He is one of the many hobbyists in this country who will pose for free or for fee. It was taken at an Annual Conference of the Gulf States Council of Camera Clubs (PSA.) He has a day job in construction. I don't know if the Club sponsoring the Conference paid him or not. The backdrop was a painted fabric, and the photo is not a composite. Taken with film. I used it and showed it for several years (since about 2007) as a color image (shown.) but converted it to BW for an exhibit called "Covered Wagon Days" with "vintage-appearing photos to depict the 1880s. I converted it via Scott Kelby's Channels in Levels method and then tweaked it in Nik Silver Efex. It is posed. Gone are the people relates to those people and places no longer around or alive. In the case of the exhibit, my target was the late 1800s. Pioneers, Gunslingers, Homesteaders, Cowboys, Mountain Men, Marshalls, Cavalry Troopers, Ferriers, Dance Hall Girls, Sheriff's,..... all gone and in the history books or forgotten. I think he could be any one of several, but he doesn't have a badge, so that rules out lawmen. He dresses like a dandy so he's not a working cowboy. Therefore, I call him a Desperado (a Hispanic term referring to outlaws.) The frame, not shown, is wood and has an embossing in it that matches the embossing in his wrist leathers. The full title of the image, part of which didn't transmit is: "Gone Are the People - The Desperado Waiting for a Train" (which he and his gang would rob) (There is an old Country/Western song titled "Desperados Waiting for the Train" .... I have about twenty or thirty photos that are in the "Gone Are....." portfolio, some of which are faux etchings.

  Posted: 03/09/2023 07:25:35
Diana Magor   Diana Magor
Thanks. That is interesting. It's a good photo even without the explanation but having the words as well makes it better still!   Posted: 03/10/2023 04:12:28
Wes Odell   Wes Odell
thank you.
  Posted: 03/10/2023 06:28:22

Diana Magor   Diana Magor
We've been having discussions about backdrops after having a lecture on how to create textures to enhance images. The speaker was excellent but raised the problem of what could be used as a texture. Taking a photo of wallpaper for example is not allowed because that patter will be copyrighted by the designer, so how far can you go with bought backdrops? An old coloured sheet makes a neutral one but what if it has a pattern? I thought about this when I saw Wes' great backdrop to this man. Obviously it is a good one for this shot but is it someone else's copyrighted sheet? Our speaker makes her own textures using concrete, gravy granules, rust etc but can one use printed fabrics? Is it OK if one is not selling the finished image but only using in salons or interclub competitions?   Posted: 03/13/2023 05:26:23
Wes Odell   Wes Odell
I think the "addition of backdrops and skies" is applicable more to PSA exhibits and contests, than to others, unless the "others" stipulate none.....of that.   Posted: 03/13/2023 06:44:46
Dr Somdutt Prasad
Wes, great pic, on my screen it looks lie the highlights can be taken down a wee bit, but I am not on a calibrated monitor, so do check before doing anything.

I am trying to enter salons and circuits these days to try and notch up my numbers, so have done a bit of research - basically I think anyhing which came out of the wet darkroom days is allowed with the addition of removing sensor spots in categories like nature, phototravel, photojournalism. In Open colour or open Monochrome anything is allowed. Please correct me if I am wrong.

About copyright of background patterns, I think we are getting into gray territory. For an event like this, I presume the organisers know it is going to be photographed? So you can presume they have no problems with copyright!   Posted: 03/13/2023 10:30:30
Tom McCreary   Tom McCreary
Like I said above, a company sells backdrops to be used in photos, so I can't see them then saying that it is copyrighted for that use. Another company could not duplicate and sell it.   Posted: 03/13/2023 11:57:08
Wes Odell   Wes Odell
Yes, in "Open" even CRA (Creative altered reality) is acceptable. I think the issue comes up when thinking about the importing of other people's components such as skies. and that is not allowed (in PSA).   Posted: 03/13/2023 13:24:24
Wes Odell   Wes Odell
I think the "addition of backdrops and skies" is applicable more to PSA exhibits and contests, than to others, unless the "others" stipulate none.....of that.   Posted: 03/13/2023 13:20:15

Tom McCreary   Tom McCreary
Great image and good job of conversion from film. I am sure that it is a purchased backdrop, but since the backdrops are made to be used in photographs, I can't then see that they would say not to use it. A sheet might be a different matter. I like the conversion to mono, and the rotation. Congratulations on your exhibit.   Posted: 03/13/2023 11:52:52
Wes Odell   Wes Odell
I agree with your comments pertaining to backdrops.   Posted: 03/13/2023 12:30:27

Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
So interesting, this entire discussion.
I like the garb and the pose very much, and a good idea to flip it. But I find the highlights of the background confusing my eye when they are near the highlights of the subject.
What is the function of wrist leathers? Protection from rope or reins friction?   Posted: 03/13/2023 19:37:48
Wes Odell   Wes Odell
Wrist leathers? I can only guess, I'm a city boy. I just take pictures of the cowboys and indians.

But they are impressive to see.
  Posted: 03/13/2023 19:57:37
Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
I looked it up on Google. Rope burns. I had guessed right.   Posted: 03/13/2023 21:13:56
Wes Odell   Wes Odell
"Google It" is the right thing and the contemporary alternative to the Dictionary or Encyclopedia. thanks for the "look up."   Posted: 03/15/2023 04:15:38
Tom McCreary   Tom McCreary
Then, I don't think that he needs them, since he does not look like a working cowboy having 2 guns. More like a gun slinger. But they do look good in the photo.   Posted: 03/15/2023 14:07:02
Wes Odell   Wes Odell
Right. But in this life he is an "actor" and this is part of what people think of men like that, thinking that they may be real cowboys or lawmen. It's all for show.   Posted: 03/15/2023 15:10:05

Jennifer Doerrie   Jennifer Doerrie
An interesting portrait and fitting with your outlaw description/theme. I, too, find the highlights in the background, hat, and scarf to be very bright on my monitor in the monochrome image. That isn't an issue in the color version, so likely it resulted from the monochrome conversion. I do think they would benefit from being not quite so bright. In coming back to the subjective theme and the background discussion, although others seem to like it, I'm struggling with this background. To me, it is more fitting of an 80s punk/rock/tie die subject than an historical figure. It just seems rather incongruent to me. Perhaps it is because it is so prominent, and it would be less obtrusive if it were lighter or more out of focus.   Posted: 03/26/2023 00:07:57

Wes Odell   Wes Odell
Good observation/comment. The B&W conversion was difficult, but because of the venue and the theme of the exhibit, it had to be done. I, too, prefer the color version. Thanks to all for the friendly suggestions.   Posted: 03/26/2023 08:31:04

Nan Belli
Great portrait! And I enjoyed the story behind it also. I like the black and white. Seems like a good image for your exhibit!   Posted: 03/31/2023 21:47:12