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  #88 Black and white
Entry 5 of 36
Wedding Day Portrait       ©2010 Jade O.
Panasonic DMC-FZ30       5th place, 108 points
1/25s, f3.6, ISO 200, 222mm, Normal Program, Pattern, no flash
Post-Processing: Cropped, cloned, desaturated, layered, denoised, resized, sharpened. (The actual layers/opacity settings were invert normal 13.9, colour 100, hardlight 100 face only, value 56.4, normal edge detect 100).       Extra Info: Candid not posed; she moved to the temple window for only a moment, paused, and then looked over...

Delivered by her father to her husband on this her wedding day, this modern Sikh bride is an enigma, equal in gender and yet now also a servant to her husband. The ceremony complete, perhaps she went to the window to look for the first time on the new world into which she would venture forth as a married woman, a world at once familiar and yet now fundamentally different (in the way that world will relate to her and she to it) than the world she left hours earlier, when she entered this place. Perhaps that accounts for the look of this portrait, at first a simple image and yet holding layers of complexity for me. In her eyes I see her strength of independence, though she is no longer an independent woman; in her dress I see tradition, yet she is now born into a modern non-traditional role; and in that enigmatic smile, I see the key to her soul. That smile re-interprets everything for me; the eyes show strength, yes, but there is more there than that; there is wonderment and vulnerability as well, and a protective mask to preserve the person she once was. I see a person newly born here, captured at once and forever, at the unguarded moment when she truly understands that now everything has changed.
35 comments on this entry
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Sep 19, 2010
    Really an unusual picture/model! Congratulations, JadeO! :-)

Sep 16, 2010
    I write here so i'm sure you see this...
Your intuition abot lights on my open entry is correct:
i used one lamp behind her hair and one placed near her feet
...I'm so sorry i haven't enough time to reply at every comments...

Jade O.
Sep 15, 2010
    Thank you again, Franz, Billy, Michael, Lo, Thomas, Andrew, Bill, elliott, Andris.

I note that place 5-9 were separated by only 8 points! so it really is like a five way tie for fifth place!

Sep 15, 2010
    Congratulations Jade. Well done!

Sep 15, 2010
    Many congrats Jade!! I love this portrait with the effect you've created, now after seeing the outtakes I can see the amount ob job you have done here... Impressive as usual, really well deserved T5 :-)

Sep 14, 2010
    Jade - I received your reply LOL. I have seldom seen you be so economical with words :-O

I highly recommend Bushmills Irish Whisky - just the regular, don't pay extra for the Black Bush.

Sep 14, 2010
    Saw the outtakes Jade - What a great job. She looks so much more beautiful in black and white. Great job in cloning out the figure in front of her!

Sep 14, 2010
    Beatiful portrait......
Regards / Thomas H.

Jade O.
Sep 14, 2010
    Thanks, Andrew. I'm always undecided about what to say in extra info. Really, this image either speaks to you or it doesn't - my words are unnecessary. For me, that look is incomparable and I think I could puzzle over what she thought at that moment forever.

Sep 14, 2010
    I am not much for portrait shots for no real good reason.... and I apologize. let me explain, your shot was unfairly glanced over during voting for my reason stated above. I am sitting here now giving it a good look and I find myself mesmorized.... I read your caption and all of a sudden I am not just looking at someones face.... there is a story there and I now find your candid shot of this beautiful woman incredibly captivating.
So Jade, I thank you for yet another lesson (all be it indirect this time) in taking the time to really look at a picture even if it does not grab you initially... you will be amazed what you see when you really take a look.

Jade O.
Sep 14, 2010
    Thank you all for your votes and comments. Each one is appreciated!

Sep 14, 2010
    Nice finish Jade. Congratulations. This was in my top ten (#7). Sorry I did not have a chance to comment on it before. It is a stunning shot with excellent lighting. Just about a perfect example of light and shadow contrast in the face. The fact that you got it on the fly, not posed, makes it even more special.
Edited on Sep 14, 2010

Sep 14, 2010
    Jade: Saw the original - Fantastic work! I love the B & W far more. Congrats.

Sep 14, 2010
    well done. really good job on all the pp after seeing the original. great rebuild on the lower right. honestly i did no pixel peeping on your photo during the voting. i didn't feel need to see more than what was presented. el

Jade O.
Sep 14, 2010
    Thanks, Andris. Only 1 point above your carnation though! (Should call it a tie.)

Sep 14, 2010
    I saw original in outtake and I like what you did. Congrats!

    Comments After End of Challenge    
    Comments During Voting    

Jade O.
Sep 13, 2010
    Thank you, Billy. The final result is a bit of a rescue from the original as you will see in PP.

I hope those liking this are not restricted to "Old World" as I know of studio photographs from 1940 to the present day that produce this look (though less common here now to do wedding photos in studio - which is a shame; it is hard to beat the quality a controlled studio gives. I'm pleased you think I got even a little close with this one here; that is the effect I was after. And this really is my first real b&w image where I made the effort to produce something beyond newspaper quality tones.)

Sep 13, 2010
    That great PP treatment and the soooo interesting, detailed extra info, inmediately calls for Jade :-)
Don't know what the other friends will think about this, but I really like it a lot. The PP is superb as usual, the lighting is very good (I can guess your PP has corrected it a lot, another thumb up for your technique) and she is a lovely subject, being her eyes and expression what makes the pic. Add to that the fact of the pic being not posed but a unique moment, and it's a little masterwork.
Lots of great pics around in my favourites but also the feeling of an "old portrait" counts for me here, having some pics of my own family from many years ago with a similar "look". All in all, it makes my top 3, really great job as usual dear friend :-)

Jade O.
Sep 13, 2010
    Old Finn. Thank-you. To me, that is the value of PP, to perfect that which you could not otherwise achieve in real time in the real world. That look (a glance and slight smile caught naturally) could not be replicated posed, I think. See outtakes for the original image.

Old Finn
Sep 13, 2010
    As a portrait itīs very nice. Unbelievable, that it is not posed. In my TT.

Jade O.
Sep 13, 2010
    Michael, I should have tossed the commentary after the first paragraph - in retrospect, no one cares what I think - I should let the viewer decide what this means to them if anything - my commentary was stream of consciousness thinking - I debated about leaving it out. The smile reveals to me what I project onto her; I do not know what is truly behind the look and the smile. I showed her the image moments after I shot it; she smiled politely/kindly but said nothing. Her thoughts will remain an enigma to me.

As an aside, I keep wondering if everyone's monitor is correctly calibrated - the original background is light green (see outtakes). I still think a lighter background detracts from the dramatic impact (I played a little with the tones) and a lighter figure risks blowing the highlights. Always appreciate the commentary.
Edited on Sep 13, 2010

Sep 13, 2010
    This is a beautiful portrait and it took me a while to discover why I was not more attracted to it. I think it is the muddy grey background. When I physically mask down to her face. it becomes more attractive tonally but I know that a closer crop is not desirable photographically. I'm sure others will like it more as it does reflect an important moment, well captured.

I could be jaded by my own experience but it is enigmatic to me how you describe her smile as 'enigmatic' and then detail how this reveals everything to you. :-)

Jade O.
Sep 13, 2010
    Thanks, Alberto. The image was a little blurred to start; I felt closer would make ever more of a problem - see outtakes.

Sep 13, 2010
    I like the subject,i like the lights on her face...I've preferred a more close view...

Jade O.
Sep 12, 2010
    Lo the lack of detail was a result of the slow shutter but I thought it also helped emphasize the face where the softness is more suitable for portraiture.

Sep 12, 2010
    An excellent capture considering the circumstances, and a great job of post processing to bring out the subject. Her gown lacks a lot of the detail in the gold filigree, but overall the portrait is quite compelling.

Jade O.
Sep 12, 2010
    Thank you, Franz. I was standing about 3-4 metres (10-14 feet) but there were two or three of her male relatives between us - I waited for them to move then, and I think she sensed me there and glanced over (I didn't quite have a clear shot - see outtakes). I like the mix of the modern (new) and the traditional (old), and how she appears young and yet not young, with a look of maturity and wisdom.

Sep 12, 2010
    A beautiful portrait - even much more as it is candid and not posed! It looks old fashioned, but something in her face says that it is from modern times... maybe the sharpness?
I wonder how far away you have been. She clearly looks at you and seems to agree to the shot.
Edited on Sep 12, 2010

Jade O.
Sep 11, 2010
    elliott I am guessing you will be surprised by the result of the vote in this one - my guess is that it will not make the top ten. I have noticed that you and I often see quality in images that the majority don't vote highly on. I suspect we have a different but similar view of what makes an image good - as it should be, we all have different tastes. (I, too, thought Mona Lisa modern.) Always appreciate your comments.
Edited on Sep 12, 2010

Sep 11, 2010
    every time i look through these i'm captivated by this one. although the extra info is appreciated, you don't even need it. this is truly an iconic photo. a mona lisa from a different culture. i hope you have her permission to go further with showing this photo elsewhere. el

Jade O.
Sep 11, 2010
    raf I always appreciate detailed comments and the time it takes to make them. Obviously something has caught your eye, but the background is the temple wall behind her (see outtakes after the challenge.) I did nothing to separate her from the background! What I did was to try to "lift" her a little off the flatness of the background purely by application of edge detect in PP! I did remove foreground in the lower right which may account for the flatness SteveBee caught. She is flat because her shoulders are artificially symmetrical (mirror imaged). I thought the one highlight sufficient with the flatness to give the sense of an icon (Eastern Christian religious) without providing the full halo which I though inappropriate and perhaps offensive to some as well. The mush is, I think, a combination of the 1/25 shutter with my overlay edge detect. But the layers I did here is not what I think you assumed it to be - I cloned nothing out of the background.
Edited on Sep 11, 2010

Sep 11, 2010
    I see there was a fair bit of work done on this image. Keep working on it is my advice because there is something wonderful here. Not fully realised I think but the potential is there.

For the challenge I think TT.

For the 'further work'. You appear to have done some work to separate the subject from the background. In a few places it shows. The necklace seems a little odd as if it has been overprocessed and has become a little mushy. I'd be tempted to add a touch of light to the left (her right) eye and to highlight the catchlight in the other. All in all just a little more care and time than we normally do for panachallenge to get things just right. Only saying this because I love her face, she looks right inside me.

Jade O.
Sep 10, 2010
    elliott I took a few good frames at the wedding and reception; this was my favourite. I'm thinking to print this and place it in a simple cardboard mount and present it as a gift. It has, for me, an old studio quality which you don't see much of anymore. This look for me is timeless, and could have as easily been taken in 1940 as in 2010. I doubt it will ever look dated as many old professional (colour) wedding photos do.

SteveBee Thanks. I will post the original in outtakes if you'd like so you can see just how candid this one was! It was a throw away except for that look caught here - I just had to work with it to make it into a proper image. While I did position myself in anticipation of the shot, I feel the lesson learned that it is sometimes better to take the shot you've got instead of waiting for something better really paid off here. [Edit] I felt the flatness gave it a semblance of religious iconolatry - the look you see in the flat paintings seen with eastern right Christian religious icons. I tried to avoid giving a full halo though and settled for a little highlight by her left eye.
Edited on Sep 12, 2010

Sep 9, 2010
    beautiful shot and commentary. i hope she has a copy of this as i would bet it far outshines any standard wedding photography that was taken that day. top pick from me. good luck. el

Sep 9, 2010
    A beautiful portrait. I am especially impressed that that it was unposed. The only thing that keeps it from being a littler higher on my favorites list is the flatness which robs some life -- maybe just a matter of taste. Good luck!
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By Jade O.


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