I had given up hope.
Last year, I submitted five of my black-and-white images – Washington County 2:30 a.m., The Jumbuck, Farrell, The Walkway and Lane 2 to an online competition. The competition, organized by a photography company called LensCulture, promised that if I paid an additional fee, I would receive a professionally-written review of my work. Something i can build on.
A few months later … nothing.
By June, I was so frustrated about the fact that I had paid for a review – and never received one – that I blogged about it. It wasn’t just me – I had friends of mine who also submitted their photos and never received their written reviews.
Eventually something happened. LensCulture finally listened to us. They reached out to my friend Melissa first (she of Melissa Simser Photography, definitely worth checking out), and then they contacted me. There was some mutter-mutter about our review requests falling through the cracks … fine, whatever.
Yesterday, I received my review from LensCulture.
Now the LensCulture review is an anonymous one, but it is supposed to have come from a respected photography expert. I’ll take that.
And just to show you that LensCulture finally did make right on the situation… I’ve listed the review, along with the five photographs I entered (which the reviewer rearranged in order of strongest to weakest).
Capturing the world with an alternative perspective is one of the many unique ways a photographer can describe what they see, I’m glad you have found an interest in the use of alternative photography and I hope this review will provide you with inspiration to take the next step in your process.
Now, first I have rearranged your images to show you your strongest at the top. First I want to point out something that is happening within most of your images, the contrast. When submitting images to competitions or reviews please be mindful that the image quality is strong or it will be the only thing that is seen no matter the content of the frame. Where I see this happening is in image #3-5 in the darker areas, this might be from the scan or the negative but is easily fixed in Photoshop with Levels or Curves. I would recommend fixing #3 primarily because I was instantly drawn towards it but couldn’t mark it as your top pick because of the contrast. I do, however, really like #3 because you experimented with infrared black and white outdoors which is a wonderful way of exploring landscape photography. If you are interested in an alternative color film you might want to check Lomography’s LomoChrome Purple film that recently went on sale after months and months of preorders. And look into the Film Photography Project they have a large resource of analog film companies that are coming out with alternative colored films. One option which you might really enjoy is double exposure with film by photographing Christmas lights in the dark and then rewinding the film and shooting the second shot with the color or black and white lights overlapping.
Back to your photos though, image #1 is your strongest, I really love the symmetry that is happening and your ability to capture both the bridge and the stars without the traditional streaks that are formed during long exposures. The only thing I would recommend on this shot is to adjust the horizon and level it out unless the tilt is intentional for some context. With image #2 I love that the eyes of the animal are staring back at me, this gives me as the viewer a deeper connection to the image in comparison to a landscape shot or a sports photo. Nice work here.
Overall I think you have a great start here and I would encourage you to continue pushing your work further. I’ve added some links below to resources and events in your area, I do hope this review of your stronger images helps, good luck with your photography and thank you for submitting your images for review.
A few thoughts. I totally understand what the reviewer is saying, and I do need to work on more contrast in my pictures, especially the older ones. I have used LomoChrome Purple a couple of times, but I felt it was more of a “tint” film than an infrared process, so I really haven’t used much of it. And the idea of the Christmas lights – then rewinding the film and re-shooting – is intriguing.
But I will say this. It’s enough to actually make me consider entering another LensCulture competition. Oh here’s one that the reviewer recommended – a competition involving alternative photography.
Hmm… you mean like splitfilm? Covered. Cross-processing? Got it. Distressed film? Nailed it. Expired film? Check. Hell, this is like asking Aaron Judge if he likes fastballs.
Okay. Five more pictures entered. And another payment for the professional review of my work.
Let’s hope this turns out to be successful.
In other words … I’m giving you a second chance, LensCulture. Let’s make this work.
Oh, and much thanks for the review. Definitely some things to look into.