Wednesday, December 11, 2019


I saw this project on PetaPixel, you can look at it here, in one of those awful-to-navigate galleries. Sorry.

The commenters on PetaPixel hated it, of course, because Art and Women Power are two things they hate.

I gotta say, I'm not in love with the project overall myself. The statement is boilerplate, very much exactly what someone seeking to do something something Female Gaze would write about the project. Which doesn't make it wrong or stupid, necessarily, but in this case it sets a pretty high bar which the photos do not, in my judgement, clear. The pictures are just a series of slightly awkward feeling women, a bit overdressed, feeling a little out of place, trying to look Strong because Women Power.

It is interesting to me that Steele's specialty is portraiture, but all their portraits are the same vague yet stern expression.

What I do like about the series, though, is all the matchy-matchy colors! These things all look like fashion shots. Where the colors of the sofa/clothes/background don't match, they're complementary. Where on earth did Steele find all these wonderful pieces of furniture, and all the wonderful matching places to put them?

These are very well made, very carefully made, photographs. It is unfortunate that they seem to say nothing much about what the artist's statement references.

On that same note, here are a couple of threads from The Photo Forum: Thread 1 and Thread 2 but you needn't read them except for entertainment. I will summarize.

In the first thread, a photographer asks what can be done to improve their photo, this photo:

This is a clear attempt at a fashion shot, and actually comes pretty close, but fails distinctly in a couple of ways. The photographer gets some advice, which boils down to "use different and more expensive gear" and a little snark from the snarkers. Check out the one dude saying that the Asian model is squinting.

What's wrong with it is that the model is not separated from the background. You can go on about background blur, but that's not going to fix the tonal separation problem. Also notice the lack of matchy-matchy colors. The correct answer here is stick the model on a tonally light background, and with a big yellow car in the background. In particular, in terms of technical details, in terms of equipment used and the way it is used, this picture is 100% within the envelope of contemporary fashion photography. The photographer need change nothing except where the model is positioned to hit the right notes.

The second thread talks about this photo, which the (same) photographer aspires to make:

Find all the matchy-matchy colors, and near-matches! There are several. Also, the models are tonally separated from the background.

The same crew of dudes again misses the point, focusing, again, on the equipment used, the way the equipment is used, and some snarking from the snark patrol.

Gearheads, whatcha gonna do?

(Standard link for TPF readers who might swing by and get excited about being stalked: Read This, Idiots.)


  1. Um, those guys are smoking? Nonononononono

    1. Ha ha ha! Their cigarettes clearly are...
      Some guys just can't smoke right.

  2. It's almost as if we now see a distracting background and immediately start thinking about apertures and lens choices, because that tech stuff is such fun. I'm reminded of the cartoon of a guy showing off his record playing set-up, explaining, "The thing about vinyl that appeals to me is the expense and inconvenience."

  3. I looked through that whole gallery. While there is a sameness to some of the photographs, I've seen a heckuva lot worse work.

    1. I think they are wonderful, technically and aesthetically. In terms of supporting the alleged concept, eh.

    2. Yeah, but when viewing a concept like this, I have to remind myself that we're guys. Different experiences lead to different points of view. So I may not "get it".