As a group, your work is exciting and complex. In each photo there is much to look at, but through your skills you sort out these dense images with balanced composition and form. Light plays off dark, repeating shapes cleverly take the viewer’s eye through the picture plane. You use many visual devices to do this,. Though some images might look similar upon first glance, you have used various interesting ways of sorting through the density of your subject. This forces the viewer to pay close attention to your skills as well as to the subject matter in each picture.

 The use of black and white and the telephoto lens forces the subject matter into a flatter plane and helps the viewer see the form and balance of your composition more clearly.

Gale Jesi , Photocrit.com

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There is much discussion here about urban density. This photo says it all. The “rule of thirds” makes the bottom portion of this photograph into a tiny, bleak landscape. Above, a grid of electrical poles and lines quickly overtakes nature. Behind the dark utilitarian electrical grid, lighter housing is visually sliced into tiny, geometric fragments. Windows, air conditioners (?) balconies and dark doors play off of each other and build a frenetic rhythm. The large pole in the foreground with the little sliver of ground plays nicely off the smaller pole in the left with the little sliver of sky. The ground and the sky are the only two areas that allows the viewer to breathe and that provides an interesting comment in and of itself. The lone bicycle provides a much-needed reprieve from densely layered geometry.

Gale Jesi , Photocrit.com

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 Once again, though your images are visually dense and at times allude to chaos, they are always balanced and ordered by either a formal/aesthetic device or and/or a cultural one. In this instance, rectangular and geometric shapes are organized into horizontal and vertical arrangements. Foreground and background merge into one and compress the space. The two poles in the foreground echo the shape of the two tree branches in the background and seem to have a nature/culture dialog going on between them. Likewise the canopy of the tree is echoes by the similarly shaped umbrella and once again set up a tension between nature and culture mimicking or even being a substitute for the each other. When you show people, your point of view seems neutral. There is an acceptance of what’s there, as compared to a visual preaching of how it should be. All objects are culturally and formally useful to the shot. They are devices to make sense of what’s within the frame and to visually organize the complexity and chaos.

Gale Jesi , Photocrit.com

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The use of people with in the frame makes this picture interesting and complex. The girl’s head is obviously large and part of an advertisement. The use of scale of her large, fragmented head juxtaposed next to the smaller, complete man provides much visual interest. One is stagnant, 2-D, smiling and looking in one direction. The other man is working, active, shown full body and much smaller. The man on the left fits within the truck behind him and fools the viewer into thinking that he too might be part of the advertising. When the viewer first sees the man loading boxes on the right we realize that the man on the left must be working with him. In an instant he goes from two dimensions to three and then  we perceive him as “real.” This is of course is an interesting transition and one that has to do with photography itself. Everything we see in a photograph is two dimensional, but nonetheless, we mentally and visually assign three dimensions to “real people.” What is so interesting is that the two people on the left are visually flat until we see the worker working whereby he “comes to life.”

 There is also a nice “stepping” of the various sized rectangles within the photograph. The trucks are one size rectangle, the boxes another, the billboard sits at the top of all these rectangular shapes culminating like the top of a pyramid. The buildings in the background also become more rectangular shapes. The tilted box that the man is lifting plays nicely off of the shape of the larger “Daikin” rectangle. The wheels of the truck and the people’s heads provide a counterbalance to the geometric shapes and also provide their own “stepping” upward, again culminating with the little girl’s large graphic head. The circle of 100/100 grade and the Daikin logo also echo the other circular shapes of the wheels and heads. In this case both geometric and curvilinear shapes all lead to the top where the Daikin Ad is. In short there is a wonderful balance between geometric and curvilinear repeating shapes and between 2-D and 3-D “reality.”

Gale Jesi , Photocrit.com

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 Though your pictures are quite dense and layered, they are always visually sorted out in an interesting way. Light and dark, positive and negative space, horizontal and vertical shapes, large and small repeating forms are all used to sort out the density of the environment. This image shows that there is even a “cultural sorting out” through the content of the advertising. Though this is unintentional, you have grouped this signage not only to be aesthetically balanced, but also culturally thematic. The “idea, idea, idea” promised in the signage on the lower left seems to be a promise of passion and bliss. The young woman and the right suggestively stares at the viewer and fulfills the promise. Wonderful!

Gale Jesi , Photocrit.com

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 The word “ornate” comes to mind here. That so much attention has been given to the balcony railing and seemingly so little attention to the wires, which are equally ornate in their own way. There is much contrast between the two. Balcony is: horizontal, light, intricate, deliberate, decorative, and from the past. Wires are: vertical, dark, intricate, chaotic, functional, and contrast present times. The structure of this picture is by foreground and background, dark on the left, light on the right. The viewer enters the picture on the bottom left with the guitar shaped case and pole, which then leads the eye up the darker pole. The wires then split the viewer’s eye left toward the dark interior space and then right to the white closed door. The light and dark chairs are a nice touch and echo the sensual curves of the guitar shape in the foreground.

Gale Jesi , Photocrit.com

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 This is a great photo, and a funny one. I love the directionally of the close-cropped bikes bottom left and right in the frame. The central bike and the “Medicine Store” sign lead the viewer’s eye to the man behind the bike. That he is sandwiched between signs with an arrow pointing to his belly is at once humorous and makes us feel that he is allotted only that amount of space and not an inch more. The fragmented woman drinking Coca-Cola at the top is juxtaposed with the competing Pepsi bottle at the lower right. The man with the belly and the Pepsi bottle echo each other and they are given the same amount of visual space. The woman drinking the Coke has her head up and back. She is large, 2-D advertising, and is fragmented. The man is heavy, has his head down, his entire body is shown, and he is perceived as “real.”  All of these “opposites” between the man and the woman provide visual interest, tension, and humor. These elements, along with the various sized repeating rectangular and square signs make for a lively and interesting photo.

Gale Jesi , Photocrit.com

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Though these pictures are intentionally busy and dense, you provide structure for the viewer to sort through the visual complexity. The direction of the soda bottle at the top takes the viewer’s eye to the left. The “public” graphic on the top right takes the viewer’s eye to the right. The Hotel Tadaka sign and two poles create a frame-within-a-frame. The repeating shapes of the tires also provide stability to the bottom foreground of the picture. That the people are behind objects with their backs turned away from the viewer makes them less important and just another visual element in your photograph. In other words they are treated as any other visual object within the frame even though they are people. This speaks to the concept of density in both environmental and human terms.

Gale Jesi , Photocrit.com

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This photo shows yet an additional way that you area able to guide the viewer’s eye back and through the entire picture plane. The horizontal lines of the roof railing in the foreground lead the eye upward to the left, darker roof. We then jump over to the horizontal and vertical stripes of the upper third roofs. From the vertical stripes we jump over to the zigzag steps climbing upward and to the left. Trees beautifully frame each side and corner of the image and provide a frame-within-a-frame for the geometric/cultural action of the buildings.

Gale Jesi , Photocrit.com