"The New Normal" Visual Critique
May 2020 by Robert Chaplin

Please keep in mind that, the visual critique was performed on a jpeg.
It will not be perfect but it is intended as a visual aid to express my written critique.

Who has Bread

Brian Huntsman
Score 91

Composition, choice of monochrome, torn edges, and graininess all work together in this image to tell a story. Of course, this story could have been told during the Spanish Flu or great depression, as well as today. Keeping in mind that there is nothing neutral in our photography…is everything in your photograph necessary? Does every element support what you are trying to say?

What I am speaking to now is more of my aesthetic. Turning your art into my art is what I have been trying to avoid with critiques. Having said that, compare the side-by-side visual critique. I refined the image down to its basic elements. In my mind the window is bright and doesn’t help the statement. My eye is constantly drawn to the brightness which distracts me from the shelves. Once the bright area is gone, I can concentrate on the empty shelves and product pricing. I also don’t think the wine cases and pictures on the wall are necessary to the “Who has bread” question.

By the way; if I had to answer the question, I would suggest it is the same person with all of the toilet paper.

Safe Shooting

Frank Jimenez
Score 67

There is a lot of foreground and background for what seems to be the subject (the geese). The center of reflection of the geese is a little above center of the image. Symmetry allows us to place the center of the reflection in the middle of the image. This image misses that mark. If the geese are the subject, they are small in the frame and the geese on the left are close to the edge and seem to be leaving the frame. Not sure of the photographer’s intent, but this feels like a “look what I saw” shot. A little time, patience, and perhaps longer lens could have strengthened this shot. 

Photographing in the Backyard

Barbara Thompson
Score 88

Well, I guess safer at home does have us photographing in the backyard, and playing with Legos too it seems. This is a fun image and is compositionally strong. Good job getting the model to cooperate. Only real comment could have been on processing. No points were deducted, but compare the side-by-side visual critique. In your mind, does the lightening, darkening, and contrast matter?

Haircut by Dad AND Mom

Barbara Thompson
Score 90

An image with impact… The square orientation is appropriate. Compositionally, there is a lot going on with different elements – pointing hand, hair groomer, father, son, and look on child’s face, all agreeing with the subject or task. There is nothing in this image that doesn’t belong. In fact, if any one of these elements was missing the image would be less.

The only comment could be on lighting and processing. You can see where the shadows and highlights are. An off camera strobe could have opened up the boy’s face while allowing the photographer to underexpose the background a little.


Barbara Thompson
Score 89

This image has IMPACT...It is almost as if she is staring straight into my heart. I feel for her. The depth of field is appropriate. Her eyes and hands clutching best friend are tack sharp as they should be. Notice the blown out areas on her baby and her left sleeve. Under exposing about 1 stop from what was shot may have prevented those hot spots. This would have however required some processing to make your subject a little brighter. The jump from a great shot to a superior shot is in the details. Compare the digital critiques. Does eliminating the hot spots improve the shot? Points were deducted for this.

 Your choice of processing was your artistic statement. Compare my version. This is processed to my taste…no points were deducted, I just wanted to show the possibilities.

 Yours on the left – Yours with removed hot-spots only, middle image – My processing on right.

Pandemic Pains

Frank Jimenez
Score 65

Seems to be a cellphone photograph. Subject is framed in the center of the image. The image appears to be grainy and is lacking contrast. Not so sure this represents a “New Normal”. I have seen panhandlers on the street wearing buffs before COVID. See the Digital Critique for example of contrast and notice how I was able to minimize the window reflection through adding a subtle vignette.

Honoring Medical Personnel

Frank Jimenez
Score 80

Image is compositionally sound and the cloud in the lower left corner helps the composition. We read and typically view things from left to right. The jets coming into the frame and rising from the right adds a bit of tension. Not a bad thing…If anything the eye goes immediately to the jets and then moves in an upward left direction and them instantly back to the jets, thereby keeping the viewer engaged. I also understand flight direction is not something you can control.

 This is why titles are important; I’ve seen and photographed the Blue Angels, so I am not sure this is a “New Normal”, but as your title indicates, the occasion for which they are flying is. Image may have been processed better or at least differently to enhance the scene.

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