Kirsti Näntö-Salonen  

Old Sailor by Kirsti Näntö-Salonen

November 2023 - Old Sailor

November 2023 - Kirsti Näntö-Salonen


November 2023 - Kirsti Näntö-Salonen

Original 2

November 2023 - Kirsti Näntö-Salonen

Original 3

About the Image(s)

At a photo workshop, the first assignment was to take an image with the title ”Old Sailor” during the ferry trip to the site. I thought of a lovely sentimental ballad with the same title. It is about two childhood friends, one of whom ran off to sea as a boy while the other continued at school and did a boring career at an office. The latter is sitting on the pier and contemplating their respective fates. He sees the soul of his friend as a proud albatross gliding tirelessly over the oceans, while his own soul is more like a common gull who never reaches outside the harbor basin. - Orig. 1: my husband posing as the old sailor, Orig. 2: a seagull posing as the albatross, Orig. 3: Helsinki skyline. There is another layer of the background with low opacity on top of everything, partially erased, and mist plume from Affinity assets for a dream-like effect. The finish is NIK Silver Efex High Contrast Smooth preset with a selenium toning, and some grain. - I kept flipping the image horizontally back and forth, thinking about the message in the direction of gaze and movement, but this version felt right to me. What do you think?

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

Alan Kaplan   Alan Kaplan
This is very reminiscent of your October entry though your husband is not a ghost. I like the fact that you're exploring an idea. Good things come from exploration. October's composite does not require an explanation, though you offer a little background that does not impact the image. Here, however, you tell the viewer what he/she should be seeing. That's the job of the image. This could be a picture of me the day I went to take pictures of birds at a wildlife preserve and forgot to return the flash drive from my computer to my camera. Keep exploring and let your final image tell the story. Your images do tell good stories.   Posted: 11/02/2023 16:51:53
Kirsti Näntö-Salonen   Kirsti Näntö-Salonen
Thank you, Alan, for the reminder! You are not the first one to point this out for me, and I will try to do better! - This time, honestly, I just wanted to describe the process of the birth of the image that was originally made for a special purpose, with special cultural references and associations. I guess I wanted to hear if you think that the image might convey that particular story, or if something could be done to make it more so. - I think that your interpretation of the scene is really very believable, and will think of an alternative title!   Posted: 11/05/2023 12:04:01

Brad Becker   Brad Becker
Kirsti, I like the elements of the image and your process but find the image imbalanced with respect to the size and placement of the bird as well as the size and placement of your husband's head.

The original image is very pleasing. Why not work with that placement of your husband and explore adding other elements. Maybe this bird and your husbands head just don't easily coexist in this type of framing. You could consider expanding the edges of the image with generative fill if you want to create a different spacing   Posted: 11/06/2023 15:32:15
Kirsti Näntö-Salonen   Kirsti Näntö-Salonen
Thank you, Brad, you are so right! I'll keep working on the elements. To begin with, this is a quick sketch based on the original image, still with the same bird. - I enlarged the canvas using the inpainting option in Affinity Photo, and find myself coveting the new Photoshop AI fill property so!   Posted: 11/07/2023 05:26:33
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Peggy Nugent   Peggy Nugent
I love your new version, Kirsti! It gives me a real sense of the feeling of the old sailor, even without the explanation of the story it's based on.
Your husband has the perfect expression on his face - straining to see, dissatisfied, and perhaps regretful. I think you've got the bird at the perfect opacity - I know exactly what it is but it doesn't obscure the sailor or the background. I really like how the bird is determinedly flying away, with an apparent frown that echoes the frown on the man's face.
About whether to flip the image - I think it works either way. I have a slight preference for the way you have it.
I really like this in b&w. I wonder if a warmer tone might be a little closer to the emotional tone.   Posted: 11/08/2023 14:49:05
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Kirsti Näntö-Salonen   Kirsti Näntö-Salonen
Thank you, Peggy! You are right about the tone - I will look up a nice sepia toning!   Posted: 11/09/2023 08:45:24

Aavo Koort   Aavo Koort
Interesting composition. I find the difference between the two wings little disturbing. I would make the right wing lighter to match the left wing. It would make the bird less actual and more dream like. Also this image would be great as sepia.   Posted: 11/10/2023 17:01:34
Kirsti Näntö-Salonen   Kirsti Näntö-Salonen
Thank you, Aavo, a good idea!   Posted: 11/10/2023 23:20:37

Maria Mazo   Maria Mazo
Hi kirsti, your husband makes the perfect model,and his expression beautifully mirrors the feelings you describe, turning him into a believable character as a sailor. Personally, I prefer the second version, I find that your husband, the sailor, is better appreciate in this rendition.
The inclusion of the seagull works well, and the opacity level is just right, creating the impression of a free soul living in the sailor's memories.
My only suggestion is to consider removing the shadow of the hat over the sailor's head, as it could be mistaken for a double wing of the bird.   Posted: 11/17/2023 22:43:42
Kirsti Näntö-Salonen   Kirsti Näntö-Salonen
Thank you, Maria, I will do that! I am so glad that you caught the mood!   Posted: 11/21/2023 07:21:01