Gary Stiger  

Friend of the Pavement by Gary Stiger

November 2019 - Friend of the Pavement

About the Image(s)

Photo Philosophy for Thanksgiving

Let me submit along with this month’s entry, a short commentary. That, I hope, will beat a higher level explanation that no one gives a hoot about; I’ll cut through all the fat and sinew and get straight to the meat. After all, do you (or anyone who reads this) really care what my camera settings were, where I was, whether I was on a tripod, etc., etc., etc. Who, three weeks from now, will think back as they are to take that all important shot for next month’s DD, and say to themselves, “ Stiger took a similar image at f/16, 1/200 sec, at an ISO 250. What great photographic insight; I better match his or succumb to a photo failure”. NO ONE thinks that, and never will.

So, what is the essence of a photograph or maybe even photography itself. Ansel Adams gave us a clue by saying, “You don't make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” … and I might add, sometimes the people your hardly know. Hence, the image of my street savvy gentleman friend. Don’t know his name, don’t know his game... we exchanged few words, but when we first met, I knew I had to take a shot or two. So, with his permission I did, and we both went on our way. I most certainly will never see him again, but that too has happened with others I have met. Yet, I still have this image. How strange to view it and comprehend that he has lived his life the way he did, and I have lived mine the way I did, so different they certainly were. Whether it’s my photograph or someone else’s, the essence of a photograph helps remind me to appreciate where I’ve been, who I’ve met, and what I’ve seen... doesn't necessarily need to be razor sharp, saturated with colors or to be interpreted by a gifted few... a meaningful image stands on its own.

PS... want to thank everyone for last month’s comments and suggestions; didn’t get a chance to respond to each and every one, but they are all appreciated… And by the way… I love this shot and I ain’t changing a thing!

6 comments posted

Oliver Morton   Oliver Morton
Gary, I love your photograph AND your description. People's faces tell volumes about them and how they have interacted with the world. As you've mentioned, they often reveal a different existence than the one we've lived... which, I believe, makes our lives richer.

The toning of the image and your light vignette really fit the man's face. I have no suggestions for change... besides, you said you "ain't changing a thing!". lol

Well done.   Posted: 11/08/2019 08:41:28

Bob Legg   Bob Legg
Well done Gary. I know you aren't changing anything, but If you were tempted, maybe add a little twinkle to his eye on the left. Spectatular lighting and detail.   Posted: 11/10/2019 15:28:12
Oliver Morton   Oliver Morton
Bob, that's a great idea. I agree that it would make the portrait even more interesting and appealing! Of course, I don't know what Gary's thoughts are on this modification.

  Posted: 11/17/2019 13:02:47

Julie Sheppard   Julie Sheppard
Hi Gary - I like your description and philosophy. You captured what you wanted, and edited it so it makes sense to you - good for you. It sometimes occurs to me too that we are each living on a different planet in some ways - our lives can be so different from each others.   Posted: 11/11/2019 03:03:41

Israel Yosef   Israel Yosef
Hello Gary,
The face of this man shows that he did not live an easy life and has seen a lot in life. He has a piercing gaze.
I wouldn't change anything either.
Cool portrait.   Posted: 11/11/2019 11:28:14

LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
Hi Gary,

A beautiful story and a beautiful image. When I first opened your submission, my first thought was this photo is perfect as I see it; then, I read what you said and asked of us.

It is only for the sake of doing a critique that camera settings make a difference, Gary. If someone had a slightly blurry image, I could point them to maybe a faster shutter speed or a change in aperture. That is what I use camera settings for when I look at photographs. Otherwise, you are correct; they aren't necessary.

I see a subtle tilt to your subject's face looking right at the camera, showing you made him feel at ease before taking his photo. His face is the main subject, and that is precisely where your contrast is, and it highlights him perfectly.

You are the master of sepia, and this tonality is working to your advantage. Even the white vignette encompasses your subject and helps to highlight his weathered features.

If he is a man of the pavement, his story is well hidden. You have set him in a correct and nonintrusive way that is respectful, and it makes him look like someone I would enjoy talking with myself.

Bravo, my friend, this is an excellent portrait!

Best regards,

  Posted: 11/17/2019 16:33:59


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