Tuesday, January 16, 2018

DigPhotog: Intro to Photography: Photo Criticism II - Andre Cabuche & Kevin Carter (W2-P3) Sp18

Photograph Criticism II

There are a variety of ways of critiquing a photograph.  Below is another way outlined by Andre Cabuche in a Canadian Camera article (2004). Cabuche divides his approach into three parts: technical quality, composition, and emotional appeal.


  • "FOCUS: Is the image sharp? If not, is it intentionally soft and successful?"
  • "CLEANLINESS: Is it free of scratches, dust spots, stains, lens flare, etc?"
  • "EXPOSURE: Is it too light, too dark or just right?"
  • "LIGHTING: Is the lighting too contrasty, too flat or just right?"
  • "COLOURS: Does it have neutral colours or a strange colour cast?"


  • "BALANCE: Is the image aligned correctly or is it crooked?"
  • "LOGIC: Is the arrangement of the visual elements effective?"
  • "PURPOSE: Is there a strong centre of interest, pattern or design?"
  • "CLARITY: Is it simple, yet complete and without distracting elements?"


  • "DYNAMIC: Does it grab and keep your attention? Does it have the "wow" factor?"
  • "PROVOCATIVE: Does it excite your imagination, or create a strong emotion in you?"
  • "CREATIVE: Does it show a familiar subject in a new, unusual and yet effective way?"
  • "UNUSUAL: Does it show a very unusual subject in an effective way?"

Use the above approach on Kevin Carter's Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of a starving girl in Sudan.  This photo definitely provokes emotional appeal and raises ethical issues in photojournalism.

Some closing questions:
  • Any similarities or differences between Cabuche's approach and Barrett's approach?
  • What is the relationship between critiquing a photograph and composing a photograph?

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