B&W Photo Challenge: “People” – TheMOFMan’s 2nd Post



Here I go! Shot number 2 in answering the call from Ks3nia of Moments to post black and white photography for five consecutive days (Moments is a cool blog, so click the bold type to see her entries in this non-challenge). I don’t know where this thing originated from before her but I like it.

I typically get so wrapped up in my pursuits and responsibilities that for me, seeing this guy pushing this shopping cart down the street like this was like a reminder to make it a mission to relax and enjoy life from time-to-time.

This time, as I continue with this chain-challenge, I nominate Paulo Cesar Silva of COTTIDIANUS to be a part of this effort to inspire each other. For those who don’t know, Paulo is a street photographer in Portugal who shoots there and anywhere else he can.

So far, my only other nominee is Otto von Münchow of In Flow, so periodically relax and find time to check out Otto’s and Paulo’s photography blogs.

Again; nominees shall not be bribed, coerced, threatened, intimidated, tortured, taxed or otherwise forced to participate.

Paulo; I challenge you to:

1. Post at least one B&W photograph each day for the next five days, each photo meeting the theme of “People” (duotones, tritones and quadtones are acceptable); and

2. Each day, nominate another blogging photographer for this non-challenge.

Have fun!

B&W Photo Challenge: “People” – TheMOFMan’s 1st Post



Out of the blue, I have been non-challenged! The talented photojournalist Ks3nia of Moments (yes, click that bold type and go see her blog) has thrown down the gauntlet, and I have accepted it. My task is to post black and white photography for five consecutive days. Yes, despite my current busy schedule I think I can do that!

In the process of accepting this non-challenge, I must nominate another talented blogger to accept the hot potato which is the theme of “people”. My first deserving nominee is . . .

Otto von Munchow of In Flow.

Of course; nominees shall not be bribed, coerced, threatened, intimidated, tortured, taxed or otherwise forced to participate.

So, above is my first shot for this thing. A very simple portrait of an ordinary guy who I think has led an inspirational life. For that story click this bold type.

Otto; I hereby challenge you to:

1. Post at least one B&W photograph each day for the next five days, each photo meeting the theme of “People” (Psssst! There is nothing to say that duotones, tritons and quadtones cannot be included); and

2. Each day, nominate another blogging photographer to run with and pass on the spud!

You’re always inspiring to me, so I have no doubt that you can show some impressive interpretations.

All the very best to you, Sir!

Calling all Street Photography Critics



Right! While I’m still hoping for more opinions to be shared in the last post, I thought I’d give the exercise another try (I suspect that most readers didn’t scroll down far enough to see the second shot, and simply clicked the like button; hence why some bloggers get rid of their like buttons, AH-HA!).

Here are two more similar minimalist street shots that hopefully will get people openly assessing. Again, only one stands a chance of being included in Hammer Home:

• Impact;

• Originality;

• Unique style;

• Composition;

• Lighting;

• Statement making; and

• Risk management.

I’m even making sure that neither picture has a working title, just in case it may cause a bias in anyone’s evaluation process.



What say ye judges?

I know. Photography is so globalized now and in our faces everyday that it has become so hard to keep looking at so many images, and still share our thoughts about them in ways that don’t seem trite. This is why I feel that as much as the Internet has helped the arts, it has also critically wounded them.

Weekly Post Challenge: “Minimalist”

The Mystery

The Mystery

Yes, it’s been months since I’ve posted anything on this blog. I’ve been up to my neck in a creativity and art marketing explosion, and while it’s still going on I thought that I’d pop my head up just to say hello and thank everyone who wrote me asking how Kim and I are doing. I greatly appreciate all of your concern and interest. Thank you all so much for hanging in there.

So, here’s what I’m going to do. While I continue to be busy puttering around, I’m going to leave this post up so that you can enjoy an opportunity to be the art jury of two of my most recent street shots that fit into WordPress’ minimalist photo non-challenge; a matter that is near and dear to my heart. Which one does everyone prefer the most?

Judge them by whatever standards you want. BE CRITICAL! Tell me what you like and don’t like, and certainly ask me questions if you feel you need to know something before making your decision (I may not be posting much for a while but believe me I am fully engaged with my e-mail these days)! I will; however, offer my own evaluation criteria for your use. For many years, this is how I have been assessing all of my art, and sometimes others’, whether it’s a painting, drawing, photo or whatever. Please excuse me if my explanation seems too involved.

It is assumed that all images have reasonable artistic value, therefore; in giving the benefit of the doubt an image is automatically given a score of 3 points (I try to make images that earn a perfect 10, and I have never succeeded – it is not a simple task – although I may like my work, I am still highly critical of it). It is the careful and strict consideration of the pros and cons of the image that will determine if those initial points are kept or lost. Each pro is worth 1 point just as each con is a 1 point deduction. While pros are always counted at 3 points or more, cons are only subtracted at 3 or less points (e.g., if an image earns points for unique style but hadn’t acquired points for impact or originality, then its score increases from 3 to 4, not from 3 to 1; however, if the image had not received any points above the initial 3, then its score would decrease to 1).

• Criteria – Impact (worth 1 point):

Pro – the image makes an impact (usually and preferably an emotional one); creates a strong first impression that holds the attention of the viewer regardless if the image is pleasing (e.g., the Mona Lisa) or disturbing and controversial (e.g., a starving child in Sudan).

Con – the image has little or no impact or imagination.

• Criteria – Originality (worth 1 point):

Pro – the image shows originality, causing the observer to feel certain that they’ve never seen anything like it before. Such uniqueness comes as a result of the photographer, illustrator or designer thinking creatively while using as much technical skill as they can muster. This may include drawing upon inspiration from other art or phenomena but even better when the artist draws solely from one’s own imagination.

Con – the image is not necessarily an original one, causing the observer to feel as though they’ve seen something similar to it before. Although relying on as much technical skill as they could muster, the photographer, illustrator or designer did not truly think creatively enough. He/she were either too inspired by other art or phenomena or unfortunately had the same idea as someone else.

• Criteria – Unique Style (worth 1 point):

Pro – the image shows an individual style; a look that sets the work of the creator apart from those of others, even if all the artists of reference produce work in the same movement or genre (e.g., all fantasy art by Boris Vallejo has a look that differs from all fantasy art produced by Chris Achilleos but it is still clear that both artists are producing fantasy art).

Con – the image doesn’t really show an individual style; it’s too similar to those of others.

• Criteria – Composition (worth 1 point):

Pro – the image is well composed. The subject and all other elements are illustrated, photographed or designed in a way that ensures a harmony between each other (e.g., complimentary colour hues or an attractive range of black, white and grey tones are selected; colours or tones are placed to be in stark contrast to each other or to appear soft; proper exposure or obviously intentional over/underexposure is applied; sharp focus or obviously intentional blurriness is applied; portrait or field cropping is used to perpetuate a certain feeling; the subject fills a sufficient amount of the image area between the edges of the illustration or photograph, and the subject is rendered to dominate the image even if it appears small amongst bigger, broader or more vibrant features, a good choice or acceptance of an incidental camera angle; an excellent selection of modelling figure or object, etc.).

Con – the image is poorly composed. The subject and all other elements are illustrated, photographed or designed in a way that fails to create harmony between each other.

• Criteria – Lighting (worth 1 point):

Pro – the image shows excellent use of natural, studio or illustrated lighting which reinforces the impact, originality, individual style and composition. The image accurately interprets or communicates the established or sought connotation, message, theme or relationship.

Con – the image shows poor to average use of natural, studio or illustrated lighting which fails to create impact, originality, individual style or admirable composition.

• Criteria – Statement Making (worth 1 point):

Pro – the image accurately interprets or communicates the established or sought connotation, message, theme or relationship.

Con – the image is not relevant to the established connotation, message, theme or relationship.

• Criteria – Risk Management (worth 1 BONUS point):

Pro – The image shows that the artist has taken a risk of some magnitude (major, mediocre, minor) in order to compose the image and/or communicate the connotation, message, theme or relationship to the observer. Taking a risk is strictly a bonus in artistry. Not every great image is made through risk taking, and some images are worthless due to too large of a risk being taken. The image created through effective risk management, nevertheless, is guaranteed to be outstanding.

Con – Non-applicable.

Score Values

• Below average: “0″ to “3″

• Average: “4″ or “5″

• Above average: “6″ or “7″

• Outstanding: “8″ or “9”

• “Perfect 10″



The first shot has a working title of “The Mystery”. That name could be changed, perhaps depending on the feedback I get. The untitled image was made second after “The Mystery”. I’d really like to hear everyone’s thoughts on a possible name.

The one, and only one, that ticks the most boxes for the majority of respondents will be included in Hammer Home. I think they’re pretty even, so I don’t expect the draw to be made easily. In any case, let’s have fun with this.

Weekly Post Challenge: “Contrast”

Highlighted Beauty

Highlighted Beauty

SERIOUSLY?! This is this week’s photo challenge from WordPress? COOL!

Some complain about high contrast work, especially in monochrome photography. They say it’s overdone but it NEVER gets old to me. I love high contrast, especially in black and white; slight grays and the whitest white details standing out amidst vast seas of the richest, inky blackness.

Most people don’t want drama in their lives but when it comes to photography, the drama that is created through contrast really helps to tell the story of what’s going on in an image. Emotion is even conveyed best through contrast. In some of my B/W work, I’ll even go for a black-on-black look. There’s nothing like it.

I very much enjoy setting up high contrast lighting in studio but I like it even more when all the elements needed come together naturally in the street. I look for this all the time, and it is so rewarding to me when I can find a situation or person I can capture in this light.

I made this urban portrait of a natural beauty at pretty much the same time as when I shot ”One Look” and ”Furrowed Brow.” They are all visually simple but carry the impressive and mysterious impact of the film noir aesthetics and mood that I fell in love with as a young illustrator.

Weekly Post Challenge: “Room”

Keeping Our Distances

Keeping Our Distances

This week, WordPress has another inspiring brief that I can’t resist providing my interpretation of:

They are so close, and yet so far. It’s not even just that space that lies between them that dares the mind to dream up stories either. It’s how the people are in their own spaces. It’s the way she’s sitting there indifferent with her book, and the way he’s standing there so pensive with his hands in his pockets and his head nodded forward. She’s in dark clothing and shade while he’s in light clothing and exposed to direct sunlight. All these elements come together to force you into creating some happening of life that, in reality, probably doesn’t exist. Without maligning, go on and dream up whatever scenario you wish is to take place between these two lives. Imagination is meant to be fertile.

For the breakdown of what inspired the shot, click HERE.

Weekly Post Challenge: “Split-Second Story”



WordPress has issued a really good non-challenge this week. For it, I’ve posted the above shot from Hammer Home that I think is appropriate. Go there if you want the written description of what’s happening but I have an older picture called “Stricken” that I also considered entering for this non-challenge. To see stricken and the explanation for it, you’ll have to go this older post and read the comment section. If you do go there and click on “Stricken” to enlarge it, you’ll also find more dialogue about the image.  Feel free to share your thoughts.

That image will eventually also wind up in Hammer Home.

Affectionately and colloquially referred to as “action photography”, it’s really something to capture the suddenness and extreme drama of life like this. It is obviously so hard to do because events like these are so rare and fleeting and their stories often should be told.

To capture such occurrences in street photography, sports photography, wildlife photography, pet photography, photojournalism — even in event and editorial work in which such scenes are sometimes allowed to be staged, is the apex ambition of many creative photographers. It’s such a rush to make these shots to convey important dynamics, and we love seeing other shooters produce such images.


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