You just can't let go, can you? Maybe it will help if you say what's eating you exactly, instead of quoting. Don't worry, I don't consider myself an artist either, I don't have time for that. But it's interesting how people can extrapolate from such small pieces (such as the initial picture) and make such peremptory judgements about things much more complex.
I was just trying to insert a bit of (devilish?) humor into the forum, and tease everybody a little. I firmly believe we all need to take most things less seriously (are you listening, popnfresh
). And I hope you did notice not one, but three smilies at the end of the post.
Definitely nothing personal...whatever jabs I trade on these forums, it is for rhetorical purposes only. If anything, I admire your willingness to ask for criticism and take it graciously even when harsh (as, I admit, mine is). And I can not help it but have respect for someone using words that make me reach for a dictionary (peremptory
Also, not everything I say applies directly to you... I tend to make general statements along the way, digressions, hyperboles, etc.
Having all those disclaimers above, and since you asked repeatedly for it, here is what is "eating me" regarding your initial image (and images like that - too many of which are appearing on the forum as of recently):
To start: a lot of members on the forum lived and worked in a pre-digital and pre-Internet era (myself included). It occurred to me that in that era, images like that most likely would have never been displayed publicly (other than to friends and family).
There were only two ways for public access: publishing in a magazine or book, and displaying it at an exhibition (be it of international standing or a local club one). Both ways include some kind of jurying, some kind of triage, filtering before an image reaches public. Images that were poorly composed, out of focus, and overexposed (for no good reason), had very little, if any chance, to be selected. So, when something did reach the public, it already had a certain "seal of approval". Furthermore, it took considerable effort and resources to prepare images for publication and submit them. Unless you wanted to risk your original transparency, you needed to make a decent copy (a problem in itself), pack it well, go to the post office, etc.
So, the effort and resources needed, plus knowing you will be judged seriously, meant for us that we would need to think twice before attempting to go public with our work. The only way to deal with that was to learn beforehand
what tools those who would judge our work would use to evaluate it. So we hit the library, attended courses, joined a camera club, and learned about composition, technique, art, perception, etc. For years, sometimes. Consequently, we had to exercise a fair amount of self-restraint, and when we finally submitted something, we did not have to ask the world "what's wrong with my image"... we knew it already (at least the elementary stuff).
Enter the digital/Internet era: after a (shutter) click, with all those wi-fi memory cards, Kodak's Share buttons, various other cameras with direct access to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, etc., it might take literally seconds
and costs absolutely nothing, before an image is displayed to millions
. Anyone can post anything to everyone. No triage, filtering, self-restraint... nada. Hence this deluge of crappy, mediocre, or technically correct, but just plain boring images, creating what psychologists call a "visual noise", on a scale never seen before. And no, I am not an Internet Luddite... just pointing out certain unintended consequences.
Next, let me tell you what I think about your initially posted image in more detail.
Lets start with your stated intentions (emphases mine):
The purpose of not including the head was to try to make a little more abstract, and maybe wander how the head really is after all. I thought that the diagonal branches could emphasize the back of the iguana (as they are almost parallel), that's why I didn't crop more and left them, out of focus and blown out, I actually overexposed them a little in postprocessing so it doesn't detract from the lizard. When I shot it (btw, it's uncroped), my intention was to have the spines from the back as a culmination of the textures from the back. As it seems I didn't succeed. Also like the colors.
Intentions and chosen methods of delivering them should be aligned, not clashing.
If, by eliminating the head, you wanted it more abstract, then other reality clues, (legs, branches, a green blade of grass), should have been eliminated too (which you did in your re-posted image).
[let the viewer] wander how the head really is after all
..." Creating a bit of a mystery in an art work is a legitimate tool that engages the viewer and allows him to interact with the art by inserting his ideas, views and feelings. But there is no mystery in how an iguana head "really is". Anyone who recognized the creature as an iguana already knows.
Emphasizing the back of the iguana by including (almost parallel) branches: the key word here is "almost". For emphasis to work, branches should be quite parallel, as only then they would create a visual repetitive pattern (rhythm). In reality, only the closest branch (the most out-of-focus one) is almost parallel. Ultimately, being so out-of-focus and non-parallel, branches definitely more distract than emphasize.
Deliberately overexposing, "so it doesn't detract from the lizard": it is a standard assumption of any perception theory that the lightest part of an image are the first to attract attention, thus actually detracting
from the lizard. Once again, the chosen method clashes with your intentions. For a good reading on perception theories, check Prof. Zakia's textbook "Perception and Imaging
And finally, a comment about your re-posted image: parts of the skin texture (scales) appear overexposed too. That is a result of the harsh light in which you originally took the picture (see, even the sun is harsh to you
. Three ways to deal with it: a polarizer, or a diffusing screen placed between the sun and the lizard, or recovering highlights in post-processing.
I hope this helps.. and no hard feelings.