Weekly #757 - The Portrait Competition

Competition Details
Closing Date: 13/03/2022
Judge: johnriley

The portrait, defined for this competition as a likeness of one person. It can be anything you like within that, but no couples, no pets and no groups please. An extended deadline to make up for the delay. Archive or new pictures, Pentax cameras please and the other usual guidelines. Have fun!
Competition Entries


Link Posted 14/03/2022 - 00:07
Portraits Competition

For this competition a portrait was defined as a likeness of a person and usually this involves a head and shoulders picture or something similar. However, with an open mind as to where the vigorous Pentax User imaginations might take the concept, let's have a look at what we have:

Musselburgh Man by tyronet2000: Portraits of old, perferably gritty and weather worn, men with huge shaggy beards are definitely a good way to go. Some more light on the face, and especially on the eyes, would be good and as the light is coming from the right of the frame perhaps the subject could have been asked to turn his head? The eyes can also be lightened by using the dodge tool in Photoshop.

My Friend by perspicador: A warm and gentle pose, just the bright light causing over-exposure to the left side of the face. The light is everything, so perhaps working around various angles, then using a reflector to even out the brightness.

At Home by johnwnjr: There's a lot of information in this shot, the remote control, the wedding and engagement rings, the relaxing chair, and a very pleasant lady who looks like she is well loved and happy with her life. Thus the portrait gives us an idea of the real person, as all good portraiture should.

Little Black Number by vic cross: Ah, the sheer versatility of the little black dress, so ably caught by Vic. The black dress may be timeless, and the hairstyle is fairly timeless as well. The pose is lively and puts across some energy and personality from the model.

Colour me by palani: I like the idea of giving us the bold crop down the centre point of the face, it's a powerful and stylish composition. The image is fairly low contrast and I would have preferred a bit more “bite” to it. Where it scores is that some imagination and originality has been applied to the brief.

The Quench by Nigelk: The darkness and deep shadows enhance the male portrait, which gives a feeling of strength. I feel the actual mistiness of the quench dilutes this a bit, and as the action of the quench is not actually being shown then maybe just a portrait, using this pose and crop as it is, but without the mist, just might be more powerful.

Megan by davidtrout: Lovely eyes, lovely features and a positive plethora of pinkness. It's liovely, light and captures the feel of the subject delightfully well.

Tori by sbh: A beautiful, classic portrait with the most gorgeously smooth bokeh. Hand in or out? Maybe both would work, but if kept in then it has been placed well and posed well. Here the fingers have been angled very precisely and with the first finger hiding behind the second it means that there are less digita to deal with. The picture looks tidier.

Looking Out by garethjmorgan: This oozes quality, with the inspired use of monochrome. The mono tones are perfect and the pose is auperbly worked out. We have the attractive patterns of the venetian blinds, the fingers just opening a gap so that the subject has something to do with the hand that looks natural and has something for the subject to look towards. The textures are brilliant, and this all sums up why sometimes an images just shouts from the rooftops that it should be monochrome. Colour would dilute, soften and spoil this image.

Deep in thought by Horst: A delightful child study. Children are not easy to photograph so it's a case of keep on shooting and out of the whole a few moments will yield those magical expressions.

Steam Punk by simonmac: A bold monochrome statement indeed, and although I really do like dramatic black and white I'm thinking that this maybe a little too severe. There are completely blown out areas that are a bit distracting. If the contrast could be pulled back a little and the surreal effect kept, then that would set off the Steam Punk style perfectly.

Camel man by snakey: Yes, a very good natural portrait showing the hard effects of the sun and the deep determination that carries him through the hard environment.

Mr Bones by JAK: A bit of humour, whatever next? Still, let's not pick holes in the idea. So, the head bone is connected to the neck bone, and all is as it should be. The neckwear is nicely done, but the hat is the wrong size. We might argue that the subject doesn't really care.....Thanks for raising a smile!

Son by kncldwll: Another good classic portrait and a terrific image that would sit very nicely in a frame for the wall. I would have preferred a broader light source that didn't leave those two points in the eyes, but apart from that a very well crafted portrait image.

There's mischief in those eyes! by drofmit: Yes, the mischief and the sense of personality comes across very strongly. The trolley bus driver bit doesn't as there isn't enough of the surrounding environment to give us any clues. But as a candid portrait, spot on.

Local character in Whitby by retsoor: A bit shaky I'm afraid, and for me the moment, like the subject, has passed. Sometimes it works when we shoot candids from behind, but more often than not we need to tackle the front facing image. It can be a bit more scary to shoot if we're not used to it, there's always the fear of a bad reaction, but a smile should reassure most subjects and if we look like we should be doing what we're doing then few people even notice.

Portrait of a woman by Noelcmn: The pose and composition are beautiful and show off the subject perfectly. I'm just not so sure about the treatment and just a straight shot would have been all that was needed here. When we have a strong subject, that's perhaps when knowing where to stop processing comes into its own.

What an excellent set of images! But there needs to be a winner and runners up, so here goes:

The WINNER is the fine, superb quality monochrome “Looking Out” by garethjmorgan. A fantastic shot in every respect.

SECOND place goes to “Tori” by sbh, another cracking good shot.

THIRD place is awarded to “The Quench” by Nigelk, a rich, dark portrait with style.

And a few HIGHLY COMMENDED images:
Megan by davidtrout
Son by kncldwll
Camel Man by snakey
At Home by johnwnjr

Thanks everyone who entered, it's always great to get such a wide ranging response. Let's look forward now to see what exciting challenge garethjmorgan will create for us!


Link Posted 14/03/2022 - 07:36
Thanks for the speed of judging and the comments in what must be one of the strongest entries in this competition for ages!
Congratulations also to the winning shot... had my money on that one!! Very nice Gareth..... very, very nice.... would make the perfect cover for a suspense novel, a thriller or a detective novel. It would make you want to pick the book up and read the summary on the back.
Every picture tells a story.... in this case it could tell stories, plural!
Congratulations, too, to the other podia and HCs... lovely collection.
Never be afraid to talk about your techniques...
"Give a thousand photographers...
the same camera, lens and scene...
and you'll always get a thousand different takes!!"


Link Posted 14/03/2022 - 10:44
Gareth's wonderful mono is a very worthy winner and with a strong supporting cast this has been one of the best weekly competitions for a while. Thanks to John for selecting the subject and adding his expert summaries.
PPG: http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/artists/davidtrout


Link Posted 14/03/2022 - 11:49
Congratulations to the Winner, excellent image, and other placing. Well done everyone who entered. Thanks for the tips on my entry John, something to work while I’m recovering from cancer opp.

Link Posted 14/03/2022 - 19:29
Best wishes Stan


Link Posted 14/03/2022 - 20:52
As others have said a very strong set of images and a cracking winning shot. Thank you for my 3rd place and the useful critique.


Link Posted 15/03/2022 - 18:10
Thank you John.

Helpful comments and a wonderful set of images!

All the best


Link Posted 16/03/2022 - 09:40
Thank you, John - it was an honour to be chosen from this excellent set of images. (Interestingly the picture was taken in Manchester!)

Also thanks to others for their positive comments.
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