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    • Last night I was fortunate to spend an evening with Joe McNally at Samy’s Camera in San Francisco. The evening was divided into two parts.

      In the first half, Joe told us about his experience, highs & lows, & shared frank insights into what it takes to earn a living as a photographer. If you’ve ever since him live or on KelbyOne, you know Joe is a master storyteller. He told us about walking down the hall with Eisenstadt, being the last Life Magazine staff photographer, & turning down a lucrative Sports Illustrated assignment just to meet the National Geographic photography director. 

      The second half was 14 mini portfolio reviews, including mine. Attached are the two photos I shared with Joe along with his observations. I’m going to be very open & share with each of you what he said about these two shots of mine. 

      He said I was good at straight lines, even when not shooting on a tripod. He liked that I had foreground, middle ground, & background elements.

      He also said he’d like more drama in my photos. He said, "Don't just document, but interpret.” I’m working on what this means. Based on his editorial background, he thinks a photo should be able to answer the questions, “What’s the story here."

      He recommended the book Pictures Under Discussion to everyone.

      A few more of his thoughts on other portfolios:
      - Triangles are powerful
      - Shooting eye level middle distance is boring
      - Work the hell out of a shot

      Hopefully this was as helpful to you as it was for me.

    • I hope that you are asking for critique, 'cause you're about to get some. ;-)
      (Just positives.)

      The first image is the stronger of the two. While it's a simple subject matter, and classical in style, it evokes a stronger and more visceral reaction. The foreground framing is also classic, but your rendition is executed with care and thought. The scene is easy to relate to many experiences, but the level of detail should translate nicely to a large print.

      The second image is a bit more simplistic in scene, reasonably compelling subject matter overall, but the subject himself is detached and introverted from both the surroundings in the scene and from the viewer. Nice and subtle leading lines in the floor help to draw the viewer into the subject. Enough detail in the scene to be somewhat interesting at first glance, but easy to walk away from by the observer. Nicely seen.

      Technical execution of both images is very high-level, with obvious deliberation and caring.

    • Fascinating!! I wish I'd known he was going to be there and I would have gone. Major respect for him.

      I'm not the best at critique but I have a strange desire in your first shot to see the footings of the columns. The tops, up by the hanging light, are beautiful with so much detail I immediately went to see what the bottoms were like. It was as if I was looking in the camera viewfinder and wanted to take one step back to include them.

      I was about to say that I don't know what else you do on this shot to improve it, but I did a reverse image search to see what other photographers tried and found this one, supposedly from this site. I did find the detail from a few steps back to be lovely.

    • I love the balance in the 2nd image with the right side negative space on the wall hanging offset by the gentleman in front of it sitting ever so slightly to the right. Very nice.