Charlie-CNP wrote: OP: honestly, not feeling it. Your layers are very soft/feathered/transparent to the point where this does not look like a composition, but a layering of color and shapes. What is it that you are attempting to accomplish with this piece?
Also, when you say gagged and imprisoned, it does not read that way. This image as a whole reads more along the lines of quickly done graffiti on a wall somewhere in an urban setting verses what you have described to me.
Check out Lynda.com though. There are some really great tutorials on there to learn about retouching. For starters, I would suggest checking out how to properly mask and work with layers which will help you a great deal. good luck
Charlie, thank you very much for your helpful suggestions. I have to say I agree with your assessment of the image. My thanks for your guidance.
Before considering your work I’d like to briefly mention that your initial post here is somewhat problematic. When you post the clichéd old cartoon you posted, you not only engage in a personal attack but you pass on the opportunity to say something, whatever you could manage, about an image. Since we are all here with an interest in images, their quality and how to make them, it seems a shame to me to pass on the opportunity to comment on the images or the creators’ relationship to them and concentrate so exclusively on the thread posting. It runs the risk of creating the impression that you don’t have anything intelligent to say about images, something I’m sure is not true.
I had a wonderful time looking at your images. It was both entertaining and educational and they presented me with some problems in analyzing them that I found both somewhat frustrating and ultimately fascinating. You see, I’m interested in the ways in which aesthetics, erotic content and personality interact and influence each other, how we create categories and meaning in images, how this motivates creativity and social regulation of erotic communication. I found your images were great material for investigating these concepts so I want to thank you for posting here.
Now here’s what for me is the really fascinating thing about your work: it takes some knowledge of the context and erotic purpose of the work to analyze it in any way that makes sense for me. On just a purely aesthetic level I find your photographs annoying and somewhat distasteful, garish, overly delineated, clumsily composed images. If I came across this image: http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/7135326 on its own with no explanation I’d pretty much just think that it sucks. It’s nothing more than a snapshot, and a bad one at that. Clearly with some sort of erotic intent, there’s the messily open top to show a bit more of the side of a breast, maybe even a hint of nipple in silhouette. A pose leaning against the railing and that direct look back into the camera with a half smirk all identify an image with erotic intent. There’s a powerful social function to down grade the personal erotic expression and this photo could draw the criticism that the photographer got so caught up in his own sexual excitement that his intellengence and training deserted him as he snapped away. I disagree with this assessment. It’s the erotic purpose of the work that provides a much fuller and I think, better and more accurate way of viewing these images.
That erotic purpose is this: they’re stroke shots, or, to use a term I prefer, erotic consumables . They are produced to satisfy the erotic wishes of the consumer, by in large usually a discerning gentleman. Whether this is for the producer himself or clients that he’s servicing the image functions as a vehicle to see clearly or exaggerate certain aspects of the erotic scene or image and to acknowledge the concentration and to communicate about the specific interests desired and being discussed. You’re producing erotic consumables for people who are excited by seeing women in heels, something that changes the definition of a successful image. These must be judged by the satisfaction of their intended consumer or by what we can assume they desire.
When, judged according to this erotic analysis the image above fairs much better. For instance: the fact that the face is shadowed no longer seems so sloppy or incompetent because it’s clear enough to get some information regarding gender, age, style and mood, and the focal point, the shoes, is well lit and quite precisely depicted. Judged by standards that prioritize a clear view of the young women’s feet in the desired footwear the images start to seem successful although we’d need to familiarize ourselves with other examples from the genre to accurately judge just how successful they are. As a commercial work, you might be able to say a good bit about how successful the images are as you have an “upscale and classy” website where you are selling sets of these images.
What interests me the most about these images are the ways in which aspects of images such as composition and focus work as communication and identification in groups with sexual minority interests or sexual sub-cultures. The brightly lit, minimalist presentations with an exaggerated focal point are common erotic compositional devices and it seems worth considering what their function is. They of course supply the desired “clear view of the goods” that is an erotic focus, especially in masturbatory activities but beyond that there seems to be the possibility of an acknowledging or supportive role where the image has some importance in the way it communicates an agreement of shared interest and so promotes an sense of community.
One of the benefits of being here on MM has been the diverse types of images that I have been exposed to. It’s really fascinating to spend some time considering something, such as high heeled shoes, that I wouldn’t normally spend more than a second or two passing by. With the information you have as a shooter and in running your website I’m sure you’d have much more information that I could benefit from and it would be great to talk with you further.
Thanks again for visiting this thread.
I wouldn't normally look twice at this image. There appears to be very little thought, time or effort put into its creation and that really comes through. Technically it looks like the work of a beginner. I don't get the references, I don't know who your protagonist is or what her story is.
The rest of your portfolio, while not my cup of tea, shows lots of thought and effort. And your responses and critiques on this thread suggest that you have a sensitive soul with a keen and perceptive mind. So I would place the fault for my lack of connection with your work entirely at my own door.
Good lord, how long did it take you to write all that? I am almost flattered -- any more than two sentences spent critiquing my work is giving it too much credit. I have never made any pretenses about being an artist. My work is obviously intended for a narrow target market; I fully expect anyone outside that market would find it boring or even garish and that's okay.
I am sorry if you felt that my posting of the cartoon was a personal attack. I do not know you, however I do find your motivations in starting this thread interesting. There was no point in commenting on your initial image, because clearly this entire thread is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to appeal what you think is Erlinda's unjust brigging. I will not get into that debate, except to point out that I was not involved in the critique thread that got her brigged, nor have I ever had any interaction with her on the forum that I can recall, so you cannot accuse me of being "butthurt".
I do wonder, though, whether you would have gone to these same lengths to defend, for example, Keeling if he were in the brig instead of Erlinda? Assuming they had both been brigged unjustly, for the same reasons, and assuming that you are acting on principle, rather than on personal feelings for Erlinda, then you should have been willing to defend them both with equal vigor. However my suspicion is that you would not have.
Or perhaps we are both reading too much into each other's private motivations? In any case, I am willing to make peace with you and let the matter rest.
First of all, let me thank you for posting here with such a well considered response. There's a lot of material in what you have written so I'm going to break things up to save time and hopefully keep things clear.
GoldRoseMedia wrote: Good lord, how long did it take you to write all that? I am almost flattered -- any more than two sentences spent critiquing my work is giving it too much credit. I have never made any pretenses about being an artist. My work is obviously intended for a narrow target market; I fully expect anyone outside that market would find it boring or even garish and that's okay.
The critique took me quite a while but I really do like to consider images and the various ways that aesthetics and erotic portrayals interact. I don't think I give your work too much credit at all. It's a communication and one that you have some ambitions for. I'm much less concerned as to whether you consider it art, it's still worth some time and effort in analyzing it or my reactions to what I've seen.
GoldRoseMedia wrote: I am sorry if you felt that my posting of the cartoon was a personal attack. I do not know you, however I do find your motivations in starting this thread interesting.
No apology needed, I didn't consider it an attack in some offensive way but rather something flippant. My point, as it was with Erlinda's thread was that I don't worry about the attacks so long as there is some substance presented and I"ll take a poster's meaning as a whole.
GoldRoseMedia wrote: There was no point in commenting on your initial image, because clearly this entire thread is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to appeal what you think is Erlinda's unjust brigging. I will not get into that debate, except to point out that I was not involved in the critique thread that got her brigged, nor have I ever had any interaction with her on the forum that I can recall, so you cannot accuse me of being "butthurt".
Two points: 1. I am in no way attempting to appeal Erlinda's brigging, the mods have their own reasons for things and are running a whole website under the direction and at the pleasure of OCO (our corporate overlords). I am stating, I hope clearly, that I don't agree with the action. That's just my opinion and how I see things, not an appeal for action as I don't assume I know what directives or motives are behind the mods actions. 2. I think the whole "butthurt" argument, with all it's spin-offs, comebacks and personal attacks is absolutely lame. I think this for reasons similar to why I don't like the critique thread being closed - I like writings that have a point of view and substantive criticism about art and images. If they come with some deprecations, insults or personal attacks, that doesn't bother me. If those things are there instead of comment on or analysis of images, then I don't like it.
GoldRoseMedia wrote: I do wonder, though, whether you would have gone to these same lengths to defend, for example, Keeling if he were in the brig instead of Erlinda? Assuming they had both been brigged unjustly, for the same reasons, and assuming that you are acting on principle, rather than on personal feelings for Erlinda, then you should have been willing to defend them both with equal vigor. However my suspicion is that you would not have.
The last time I was going on like this was when a male photographer, who's views and work I admired was removed from the site. We can leave my views and yours of Mr. Keeling aside as being neither to the point nor appropriate for discussion here.
GoldRoseMedia wrote: Or perhaps we are both reading too much into each other's private motivations? In any case, I am willing to make peace with you and let the matter rest.
As a personal matter, you're someone else working with images and I wish you all the good luck and success possible. I am not joking, either about my views of your work, or the complexities that it provides for me in considering it, or that I'm always grateful to have an opportunity to be able to spend some time thinking about these matters.
I'm often willing to argue the issues but I truly do mean best wishes.
Jeffrey, I do not feel a need to respond to you in depth. On the whole, your writings in this thread have been well-considered, and I am willing to accept that you mean them sincerely and without malice.
Also, my mention of Keeling was simply to make my argument less abstract; I could have cited any male photographer as an example. I have no particular opinion of him or his work, and it was not my intention to critique him.
G-O-R-D-O-N wrote: (snip)
So I would place the fault for my lack of connection with your work entirely at my own door.
...and that would be nonsense, the fault's not with you, it's shite!
There was something really bothering me about your post and I couldn't figure out what it was. Finally I woke up in the middle of the night last and was reading Kathleen Rooney’s Live Nude Girl: my life as an object, a memoir written by an art model that I’m finding interesting. At one point she was briefly sketching the history and some of the legends concerning the famous hetaera and model Phryne and I started thinking about Greek art and myths.
That’s when the answer to what was bothering me about your post occurred to me. It’s this: I keep reading your name as Gorgon. The fact that this keeps occurring is both notable and displeasing to me, so I was trying to figure out why. Obviously part of it is just the similarity of the two words. I’m sure that the use of all caps and the spacing of your name gives it the look of a title but I think it’s more than that. It’s the avatar image.
For some reason your avatar sticks with me as an image and I associate it with old Greek images. This seems odd to me because in many ways it’s not like the Greek images and bears only a slight resemblance to how Gorgons are depicted. It’s certainly not, in any obvious way a monster. There is however some sort of echo, both of Greek portraiture generally and of the Gorgon specifically.
I think this mostly comes down to the hairstyle and the eyes. The hair gives an impression of a coiled hairstyle of the Greeks and of the Medusa’s snakes. It has this sort of serpentine look, interestingly textured. It’s also a good contrast with the rest of the face which has a classical effect with minimal texture and refined lines. The eyes have that wide open look favored by Greek artists. I think that it’s not limited to me and my squirrely obsessions but that, in the case of your avatar, you’ve created a memorable image.
You’re using some of the same style with the other images and it’s not always hitting me the same way. Those eyes sometimes have some very white whites, something I’m sure you’re processing for and are aware of the effect it has. Still, it seems really bright and flat.
Anyway, I’m not going to come up with anything more than Greek monsters and my reading troubles here so I should stop now.
Havin' been blasted by Miss E on several occasions (all of which I happily asked for), it's sad to see her in such a state . . . we can only hope her liberation is swift, and you can do the "after" shot very soon . . .
sospix wrote: Havin' been blasted by Miss E on several occasions (all of which I happily asked for), it's sad to see her in such a state . . . we can only hope her liberation is swift, and you can do the "after" shot very soon . . .
If I were to come upon, one evening in my travels through town, the amusing spectacle of some drunk princess in a window above the street, regaling those below with her renditions of bawdy songs, bits of verse and philosophy and flinging the contents of her chamber pot out over the assembled crowd, I would have the expectation that the price of my amusement might be that I could wind up splattered with shite. So, I would not then whine about the damage to my fine garments.
Jeffrey M Fletcher wrote: If I were to come upon, one evening in my travels through town, the amusing spectacle of some drunk princess in a window above the street, regaling those below with her renditions of bawdy songs, bits of verse and philosophy and flinging the contents of her chamber pot out over the assembled crowd, I would have the expectation that the price of my amusement might be that I could wind up splattered with shite. So, I would not then whine about the damage to my fine garments.
Some of the nobles think differently.
I've been so amused, and so splattered many a time . . . luckily I own no such fine garments, and fully expect to be the target of both the verbal regaling, and "content flinging" many, many more times, from various sources . . . All hail Miss E's speedy release, tis quite the bland place we exist in without her witty banter whilst she languishes in her dank imprisonment . . .
BlueMoonPics wrote: My 2 centavos...
I don't like the yellowish isolation of her head against the wall.
I don't feel the gagging in her expression. It just looks like she just happened to stuff a nylon in her mouth.
She's not really gagging, just crying because she cannot at present continue her defense of art and culture.
Camerosity wrote: Obviously your style is very different from mine, and I respect your style. Critiquing your retouching from my frame of reference (i.e., my style), would serve no purpose. I see artistic merit in the photo. So the real answer to the question of the efficacy of your retouching methods is to be found in the answer to the question of how well the finished photo represents the look that you visualized and set out to achieve.
I don't think the photo is any great example of visualization or efficiency. It does a bit better on accomplishing what I intended it to achieve but that's minimal.
Jerry Nemeth wrote: Be careful! It has become contagious on MM.
One of the things that I often wonder about with work that has erotic content is who the people that created the work were and what were their motives and relationship with the subjects of the work. I think this curiosity is common and forms a sort of underlying narrative for much of the nude, erotic and fetish work that we see here on the site. Once you get into images containing nudity and erotic themes documentary, dramatic tension and narrative are all imported as a background for and a part of the work. Because there is the violation of social norms nude and erotic images function in a way that is different for the viewer than other types of images. Stories and assumptions about the characters in the stories start immediately when an image is presented of one person nude and another person observing and recording them.
Who are the people? What is their relationship? How did the person come to be naked? What are the motives and personality of the person observing and recording? Of the person being observed? What happened before to lead to the nudity? What happened after? You can see questions like this being asked constantly on this site and elsewhere. Questions of if a model should model nude and of limits, stories about both happy and creative shoots and complaints, anxiety regarding performance and how a person is perceived, and so forth.
Nudity and sexuality create narrative. Or even more than that. If you want to get into the writing of the Russian theorist Mikhail Bakhtin and his book Rabelais and His World where he observes the ways in which the development of literature in the common language corresponded with an emphasis on the lower body and the carnival themes there is some implication that the erotic drive and interest is linked with the creation of language. An idea that doesn’t seem so farfetched if we consider the early works of literature in the common languages of Europe and compare them to the writings at the time in latin.
The underlying erotic narrative can add a good deal of complexity to analyzing images. It’s often a sub-narrative; one that we realize is not purposefully put there by the creator of the image or even one that the creator has taken some pains to conceal. It supplies a narrative, and the narrative it supplies can often be at odds with the intended narrative of the image. It also creates a problem in analysis of images because, without analyzing this underlying narrative there is often little of substance that can be said about an image and on the other hand, once we start to analyze the underlying narrative we are inevitably relying on our own assumptions, including those regarding the character and motives of those involved in the images creation.
These sorts of questions and stories are the single thing that I enjoy the most about amateur and non-corporate erotica. Since this is a critique, I want to switch over at this point to examining a few images.
I notice in your bio that you describe yourself as an “advanced amateur” who’s currently pursuing things more seriously. This is great; I always like viewing work that is created with individual passion and point of view. When the product is set at an industrial level, often it’s become so streamlined and anonymous that I lose interest. Here I can assume that you have some sort of personal investment in what you shoot although these are posted images and so where the images are for personal satisfaction and where they are attempts to service an audience will only be a topic of speculation at best.
One of the things I like with your work is that you have these great kitschy images. Like this one here:http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/22748212 With the sultry, lounging blond, lust in her eyes and short shorts with that big gun and belt. It’s belaboring a point to call the gun phallic; I think it’s the perfect choice to have it pointed directly up. I find myself laughing and thinking, “my, I hope he doesn’t have too much of a hair trigger.” The image conveys both humor and heat. I rate it fairly successful.
There are also a number of works with a vintage look. Here: http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/4397193 I can almost smell the stale cigarette smoke. It’s a sort of diamond in the mud effect with the oddly matched fabrics and unaffected gaze. It obviously has an appeal, 3460 views here alone and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it also did well elsewhere. The motel shots in general have a sort of minimalist charm. I like that they are clearly depicted as budget motels and allowed to speak as an environment rather than being disguised.
I’m not nearly as sure about the way you are handling the nudes in nature theme. This image: http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/31678983 18+ is oddly awkward and rather stiff. There’s some combination of dinginess and majesty in the selection and treatment of the location, but instead of looking deceptively offhand it’s striking me as indecisive.
This is my favorite image of yours: http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/31028208 and I think it’s a good choice for an avatar. An eye-catching pop image, it reminds me of these insanely catchy and trashy movie plots. I remember one that my daughter used to watch, Charlie’s Angels and there’s some bit in it where one or more of the angels goes undercover as escorts or strippers or something. This is like some wacked out western version. It’s nonsensical and tempting, absolutely immediate and clear, and very much a success.
I’ll have to stop now but as with everyone in the thread I do want to thank you for stopping by. It’s been a pleasure.
Rik Williams wrote: Erlinda has positively roasted me in the past, but my photography improved significantly after recognition of the fact my work was once shit... Now it's just a little less shit, in part thanks to her blunt force critique method.
If that makes me a white knight, so be it.
I too took a roasting in that thread, BUT I did take what she had to say on board and in my next shoot, i am looking to using her insight into making my shots indeed, less shit!
On whether her thread should have been locked down, that is another thread altogether and one that will be full of joy and laughter!