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Thread: All Along The Watchtower

  1. #1

    Default All Along The Watchtower



    Title : Pining
    Format : Digital (converted to B&W in PS CS2)

    Took this image outside a prison in North Asia, where this old lady has been seen walking around the perimeter fence for years. When I asked one of the folks around the place why is she doing so, they told me that she has been pining to see her son who is supposedly in that prison but denied any access to anyone from the outside world over some political crime.

    The reason I shot this pic in this manner was to bring the focus to the fence and the fact that it separates the inmates from the world outside. In this case, a mother and her son.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: All Along The Watchtower

    would like to see more of the prison bg.

  3. #3

    Default Re: All Along The Watchtower

    The determination of a mother standing vigil for her son on years end is nothing short of great love.

    I understand your point of focusing on the fence. However, I felt the great drive and love only a mother can show for a son is too large to ignore, much more so than the fence that so divides them.

    I would rather have focused on the mother, and have the story flow out from her facial expression. The rigidity of the fence pales greatly in comparison to her strength. So focusing largely on the fence is not the best composition to tell the story IMHO.

  4. #4

    Default Re: All Along The Watchtower

    why did u blurr the "mother"?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: All Along The Watchtower

    well why i said more of the prison bg is that the mum isn't showing too much expression.

    from tis pic, even if the mum's face was sharp, it looks like a old lady walking down the street of a govt hm, similar to those in HK.
    maybe a wider picture, with the woman at the bottom 1/3
    to depict that this is a prison, with a woman pinning for her son.
    of course again, the expression bit, that would be difficult.
    even with the desc, also very very hard to convey.

    but i like the b& w bit.

  6. #6

    Default Re: All Along The Watchtower

    Thanks for the analysis in here. And this is something I will keep in mind when I shoot the next time. (If ever!)

    A couple of points to share though (love these sharing since a few regular names have popped up) :

    (1) I focused on the fence, so that I get my point through... which is more like "reality check". The reality is that no matter how great that love, no matter how many more miles she walks, even till she falls down and dies at the fence (which I think will happen), she will NEVER see her son again.
    (2) You guys are right, she has no expression on her face.
    (3) Have you guys ever try to take a picture in front of a prison? Mine here actually have a couple of guys with MGs on towers. I had to use my rightangle finder and quickly take that one shot. And dismantled my camera and pack it up. I had to time the moment she is walking towards me, bend over, look into the finder, focus, snap, squat down, remove the lens, pack the camera, take out the map, look like a stupid lost tourist, smile at the guards looking at me, WENT OVER TO THEM and ask for directions, and left. All in all, I almost pissed in my pants.

    I don't think I will go for a reshoot. No thank you.

    Just thought you might like to know how this shot was taken.

  7. #7

    Default Re: All Along The Watchtower

    Hahaha. Your description of how to take photos in front of prison damn funny!

    Honestly though, the trouble is that we can't tell the background story behind the photo when we look at it. So while it has merits when coupled with a story, it needs to be coupled with a story. It's definitely a photo that deserves a second look though, I don't know, I looked at it 3 or 4 times.

  8. #8

    Default Re: All Along The Watchtower

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    Hahaha. Your description of how to take photos in front of prison damn funny!
    Bro, the magic words are "North Asia" and "Machinegun Towers". I will do Chris Rock if I had to.

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    Honestly though, the trouble is that we can't tell the background story behind the photo when we look at it. So while it has merits when coupled with a story, it needs to be coupled with a story. It's definitely a photo that deserves a second look though, I don't know, I looked at it 3 or 4 times.
    I hear you all about the "bigger picture" but it does not work for me. I just wanted mother and fence. Any side getting the bigger attention would have killed that balance (in my mind's eye). If I had stood upright and turned to the left side a fraction and snapped a fraction of a second later, I would have gotten the whole prison (more fences and the grey wall), then it served no purpose. MOREOVER, THAT WOULD HAVE TURNED MY LENS IN THE DIRECTION OF ONE OF THE MG TOWER!!!! That, in all my manhood, I will NEVER EVER DO!

  9. #9

    Default Re: All Along The Watchtower

    Quote Originally Posted by microcosm View Post
    Bro, the magic words are "North Asia" and "Machinegun Towers". I will do Chris Rock if I had to.

    I hear you all about the "bigger picture" but it does not work for me. I just wanted mother and fence. Any side getting the bigger attention would have killed that balance (in my mind's eye). If I had stood upright and turned to the left side a fraction and snapped a fraction of a second later, I would have gotten the whole prison (more fences and the grey wall), then it served no purpose. MOREOVER, THAT WOULD HAVE TURNED MY LENS IN THE DIRECTION OF ONE OF THE MG TOWER!!!! That, in all my manhood, I will NEVER EVER DO!
    What's in North Asia, Laos and Vietnam right.. Oh dear, my geography sucks.. =D I get what you mean. Maybe the machine guns are fake?

    No no, you misunderstand what I mean, what makes the photo interesting is your story - that there is a lady pining after her son.

    Even if you took a wider angle, even you did a ALPHA MALE stance and shot the place in its full glory, machine gun tower/nest and all, it would still be an old lady in front of a gate/prison/machine gun tower place to me.. That's what I meant.. The story and photo must go together.

    The OOF face works for me in this case though, but I can't put a finger to me. Ah well, one man's meat, another's poison. I like funny blurs.. =(

  10. #10

    Default Re: All Along The Watchtower

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    What's in North Asia, Laos and Vietnam right.. Oh dear, my geography sucks.. =D I get what you mean. Maybe the machine guns are fake?

    No no, you misunderstand what I mean, what makes the photo interesting is your story - that there is a lady pining after her son.

    Even if you took a wider angle, even you did a ALPHA MALE stance and shot the place in its full glory, machine gun tower/nest and all, it would still be an old lady in front of a gate/prison/machine gun tower place to me.. That's what I meant.. The story and photo must go together.

    The OOF face works for me in this case though, but I can't put a finger to me. Ah well, one man's meat, another's poison. I like funny blurs.. =(
    Further up north... further up north... ok, better stop talking about place.

    I see what you are saying. Kum sia. But after replying, I was thinking, why didn't I use that bloody fisheye in my bag?? That would have been pretty good too... walk up to the old lady... click, take up map, ask directions. Move off. (*koks* head)... aiyah...

  11. #11

    Default Re: All Along The Watchtower

    Quote Originally Posted by microcosm View Post
    (1) I focused on the fence, so that I get my point through... which is more like "reality check". The reality is that no matter how great that love, no matter how many more miles she walks, even till she falls down and dies at the fence (which I think will happen), she will NEVER see her son again.
    (2) You guys are right, she has no expression on her face.
    (3) Have you guys ever try to take a picture in front of a prison? Mine here actually have a couple of guys with MGs on towers. I had to use my rightangle finder and quickly take that one shot. And dismantled my camera and pack it up. I had to time the moment she is walking towards me, bend over, look into the finder, focus, snap, squat down, remove the lens, pack the camera, take out the map, look like a stupid lost tourist, smile at the guards looking at me, WENT OVER TO THEM and ask for directions, and left. All in all, I almost pissed in my pants.

    I don't think I will go for a reshoot. No thank you.

    Just thought you might like to know how this shot was taken.
    Thanks for enlightening us!

    Now, a few constructive comments for your future consideration:

    (1) Never say never. If a mother does not give up hope, who are you to judge?
    (2) I will be surprised if she shows "picture perfect" expression for the friendly neighbourhood photographer to snap. This is as serious a business as it gets for her. But that shouldn't stop you from exploring other compositional choices, instead of, blurring her.
    (3) In such a situation where cynical eyes are watching, with equally cynical barrels, I understand you had to make a choice, take the shot, and move on. On retrospect, I think a closer crop, with a slower shutter speed to show slight motion blur could be interesting. Let me know your thoughts on this.

    Bravo for the effort

    Yes, another bravo for noticing a few regular names who do care to give something more than the usual thumbsup parade. We do appreciate that

  12. #12

    Default Re: All Along The Watchtower

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunbucker View Post

    Now, a few constructive comments for your future consideration:

    (1) Never say never. If a mother does not give up hope, who are you to judge?
    (2) I will be surprised if she shows "picture perfect" expression for the friendly neighbourhood photographer to snap. This is as serious a business as it gets for her. But that shouldn't stop you from exploring other compositional choices, instead of, blurring her.
    (3) In such a situation where cynical eyes are watching, with equally cynical barrels, I understand you had to make a choice, take the shot, and move on. On retrospect, I think a closer crop, with a slower shutter speed to show slight motion blur could be interesting. Let me know your thoughts on this.
    (1) Thanks. I like that optimism. I should cultivate some.
    (2) This shot was done like this "for this purpose", and you are right, I always try different stuff.
    (3) No possible given the sutation. Not shaking already passed me through basic war correspondence course.

  13. #13

    Default Re: All Along The Watchtower

    Quote Originally Posted by microcosm View Post
    Not shaking already passed me through basic war correspondence course.
    That's a good one!

    Hope to see more of your work!

  14. #14
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    Default Re: All Along The Watchtower

    Since it was shot under "threat of fire", I can't really complain much.

    But I thought that a wider view of the prison wall/fence with the old lady providing a scale as to how high those fences are would have been much more effective. But then again, in doing so, the focus would no longer be on the old lady, which is your main aim to begin with.

    Also to touch on the placement of the old lady, would placing her further to the right of the frame be better? The lines in the photo seem to lead my eyes from left to right. Passing over the old lady completely (furthermore, she isn't in focus, so I cannot tell if she is mean to be the subject in this photo without your write-up) and ending in... a pillar at the edge of the frame.

    Just some thoughts. But anyway, since this is a very difficult or impossible to replicate and shoot again photograph... Like I said above one can't really complain

  15. #15

    Default Re: All Along The Watchtower

    Quote Originally Posted by Yatlapball View Post
    Since it was shot under "threat of fire", I can't really complain much.

    But I thought that a wider view of the prison wall/fence with the old lady providing a scale as to how high those fences are would have been much more effective. But then again, in doing so, the focus would no longer be on the old lady, which is your main aim to begin with.

    Also to touch on the placement of the old lady, would placing her further to the right of the frame be better? The lines in the photo seem to lead my eyes from left to right. Passing over the old lady completely (furthermore, she isn't in focus, so I cannot tell if she is mean to be the subject in this photo without your write-up) and ending in... a pillar at the edge of the frame.

    Just some thoughts. But anyway, since this is a very difficult or impossible to replicate and shoot again photograph... Like I said above one can't really complain
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I would love to find another subject in another place to maybe shoot similar series of images. Love is a powerful thing, especially those of mothers for their children. It was an emotional moment for me, when I was looking at this image, and played U2's "Mother of the Disappeared" from the Joshua Tree album. Gee... emo emo... better stop.

  16. #16

    Default Re: All Along The Watchtower

    IMO you should have focused on the person, but made the DOF deep enough so that the background is still recognisable, if not completely in focus as well..

  17. #17

    Default Re: All Along The Watchtower

    Quote Originally Posted by microcosm View Post
    Thanks for the analysis in here. And this is something I will keep in mind when I shoot the next time. (If ever!)

    A couple of points to share though (love these sharing since a few regular names have popped up) :

    (1) I focused on the fence, so that I get my point through... which is more like "reality check". The reality is that no matter how great that love, no matter how many more miles she walks, even till she falls down and dies at the fence (which I think will happen), she will NEVER see her son again.
    (2) You guys are right, she has no expression on her face.
    (3) Have you guys ever try to take a picture in front of a prison? Mine here actually have a couple of guys with MGs on towers. I had to use my rightangle finder and quickly take that one shot. And dismantled my camera and pack it up. I had to time the moment she is walking towards me, bend over, look into the finder, focus, snap, squat down, remove the lens, pack the camera, take out the map, look like a stupid lost tourist, smile at the guards looking at me, WENT OVER TO THEM and ask for directions, and left. All in all, I almost pissed in my pants.

    I don't think I will go for a reshoot. No thank you.

    Just thought you might like to know how this shot was taken.
    I probably wld not even try to pull out my camera and mite just do a sneak shot wif my handfone cam.


    Lookin forward to ya future shotz from Iraq or DMZ 38th parallel.

  18. #18

    Default Re: All Along The Watchtower

    Quote Originally Posted by jmmtn4aj View Post
    IMO you should have focused on the person, but made the DOF deep enough so that the background is still recognisable, if not completely in focus as well..
    Wouldn't that be a typical, boring image?

  19. #19

    Default Re: All Along The Watchtower

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphis View Post
    I probably wld not even try to pull out my camera and mite just do a sneak shot wif my handfone cam.


    Lookin forward to ya future shotz from Iraq or DMZ 38th parallel.
    Honestly, been to both places. You will be so surprised how the 38th parallel is so very touristy now. The guards wear Ray Bans and poses for you.

  20. #20

    Default Re: All Along The Watchtower

    Quote Originally Posted by microcosm View Post
    Honestly, been to both places. You will be so surprised how the 38th parallel is so very touristy now. The guards wear Ray Bans and poses for you.
    Post these model border guards pictures lah.
    It's really hard to see myself in these places as I only travel to fish or till my wife cannot takan must go for holiday.

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