This will likely be the last LensCulture submission review I will share. I share them because I truly believe that looking at the photographs and reading a critical review of them offers many learning opportunities. I encourage the visitor to read the review to see what someone sees in the photographs and articulates the review.
The Puppeteer in Pera
I wrote about this experience a while back and shared the spontaneous show with mesmerizing music. I stumbled onto his show while walking to go out for dinner. The crowd around him was equally entranced and watched him control the little old guy with the strings attached.
I submitted the following photographs to the call on street photography and opted to receive a review. Truth be told, that was the primary reason for my entering the contest. As I suggested in the previous review post, you may look at the photographs and then jump to the review. A few links the reviewer suggested follow her or his review.
Entry Statement and Photographs
Istanbul, Pera district, a late afternoon on the crowded Istiklal Caddesi, a deep voice accompanied by some enchanting music captivated the passers-by. I could see the head of a tall man with his face painted white but could not make anything of it until I got close to peek through the crowd.
He was a puppeteer manipulating his alter ego with an accompanying story. In a mesmerizing way, the man was talking, narrating a story in a deep voice over the music seemingly coming from a device attached to his waist. His black attire, a backdrop for the marionette, made him look bigger than he probably was. His arms, moving in carefully choreographed sequences, carried the marionette in different directions or made him kneel in total obedience. The totality of the experience was captivating, almost to a fault as I do not remember even one word the man said for fear of missing a move or a note of the music.
Then, there was the man in white, I mean from head to toe white. He stood there with an occasional smile on his face, in total incongruity with the crowd surrounding the puppeteer; his sole purpose seemed to be to enhance the surreal experience and to provide a strong contrast to the puppeteer.
Answers to Questions
1. What is the single most important question/concern you have about your project that you wish to have answered here in this review?
How the reviewer reads my work
2. What do you hope to accomplish with your photography in the next few years?
That’s probably just about what I have left! I would like to share what I know about photography, the art, and craft of photography, and the love of photography with any curious mind.
3. Is this an ongoing or completed project?
This is finished. A project for me can last years or minutes as I wrote on my Web site. This was one of the latter.
4. Do you consider yourself a
5. What genres of photography do you work in (mark all that apply)
Fine art, documentary, street, imaginative storytelling
As before, I present the review for the reader to compare their reading of the photographs to that of the reviewer. I am thankful for the reviews although I may not agree with everything mentioned in it. I think these reviews offer learning moments as I read and look at the photographs.
You have some very strong work in your submission. You submitted a rather brief vignette of a puppeteer’s performance in a particular section of Istanbul. Your images emphasize the craft and dedication of the puppeteer, as well as the spectatorial experience of both passersby and also persons who may be associated with the puppeteer.
One of the more compelling aspects of this performance is how it may or may not relate to the culture of this part of Istanbul. I think this would be something interesting to include in the project statement, in order to set this performer apart from somewhat similar performances in other cities and countries.
There is a general sense of narrative progression throughout the series. The main subject is depicted on a rather large scale in image one, along with someone who may be another puppeteer, as well the enigmatic man in white. In the second image, the subjects are smaller in scale and the auxiliary persons are much more on the periphery. In this manner, they become spectators along with all the other persons behind the camera, and like the photographer as well.
The next two images focus upon the totality of the puppeteer’s body and how he interacts and controls the puppet. This approach also gives you a sound opportunity to depict some of the vibrant colors and textures of the background.
In the final image, you increase the scale of the puppet. There’s an interesting interplay between the hands and limbs of the puppeteer and the puppet in this image – this may be one of your more effective pictures.
I have a few suggestions.
One is simply to make more varied imagery. I certainly realize that you don’t have control over the subjects in a situation like this, nor can you control the timing of the performance. However, try to make as many very dynamic pictures as possible – change lenses or the focal length of your lens, move your vantage point, get higher and get lower, etc.
One of the challenges you face with subject matter like this is to not produce repetitive images. Changing your vantage point can help greatly in this regard. Additionally, changing your vantage point might allow you to include some of the spectators in a few pictures. This would help to tell a much fuller story of what it’s like to experience this performance.
I hope you can tell that I found your work highly engaging overall. Thank you for submitting your work to LensCulture.