I have a question for all you photographer’s out there. Have you ever created an image and you just couldn’t decide whether you like it or not? It happens to me from time to time. Here’s one that I’ve been holding at bay for months because I just can’t decide! Let me know your thoughts!

'Wilted Rose With Drops'  © Denise Bush

‘Wilted Rose With Drops’ © Denise Bush

45 Responses to “Love/Hate”

  1. So I guess I’m the first to chime in. I never want to say I don’t like an image because someone like you has thought it through. That being said, this one is not my favorite Denise Bush photograph. There is a focus issue but beyond that I’m not sure that I like the half dead flower idea. To me the background is competing with the flower and while the whole thing can be about texture and color, I’m not feeling it with this one. It is an interesting idea thought and I’d recommend that you keep working it. Try crumpling the paper in the background more so it is a finer texture and maybe a different kind of flower.

    • Always appreciate your thoughts and opinions Rich. I guess I was going for something a little different than a typical flower image.

  2. Yes, I have that happen…often it comes down to post or not post…and in more instances than not, these “marginal” images garner the most likes and comments…yeah, go figure. Perhaps as artists we are too close to an image to make the call correctly 100% of the time.
    On this particular image (for me) I think the background is what would be driving me to question what’s next with the shot…I’d try to get a dissimilar tone or knock back the sharpness…anyway that’s my take on it – just needs a little tweak.

  3. 5 Russ Hunt

    Nope, do not like it. I think if it was me I would turn into a macro/close up of the center petals. Maybe that would work??

    • Thanks Russ. I took some close-ups too which for me seems like a more common approach. I was trying to think out of the box a bit. I am seeing where this is going and liking it less and less! 🙂

  4. 7 Albert Horner

    I would lift it off that background and put it on something more pleasing. I like the subject it is just the background I don’t like.

    • I guess it’s just too much texture. I still like the dead flower idea but need to rethink backgrounds. I also think with the straight-on approach I should have included the leaves in the focus too. Thanks for chiming in!

  5. 9 MikeP

    So happy you have honest followers… we as blog authors see too much… “love it” and nothing to back it up. I get the idea of dying flower and crumpled background…. but…. as others have said, it just does not give me anymore than that. I would not give up on it just yet…. try and give it a new background… cracked rock, stone etc and maybe have the lines go diagonal. I like Al’s suggestion about lifting it off the background… you can see where I’m going… hope this helps.

    • Thanks for adding your thoughts Mike! I wouldn’t have put it out there in the way I did if I didn’t want honest comments. I think the conversation is good. I’ve shot many flowers with bokeh backgrounds and was attempting to break the mold a bit!

  6. Hi, Denise. Bold move, to put out something you’re not sure of. I applaud you for that. I also would echo MikeP in that you have honest followers. Regarding the image, as others have suggested, the background is a problem. Rather than modest adjustments, you might consider a new approach with this subject by starting over and asking yourself “what is it that I want to say with this dying flower?”

  7. I hate to refer to other photographers’ images in the same vein, but for this theme I have to agree: dead things just seem to work better in mono. Also, the drops of water are counter intuitive to something dried out. I agree with the others about the background. It competes with the texture of the subject. A different kind of background would give you the chance to play up a contrast of texture. Including a thorn or two on the stem (it was probably dethorned though) would add to the mood.

    • Thanks Terry! In hearing everyone’s replies I have decided that there are some things I like about it… the subject for instance. And there are some things I don’t like about it and therefore why I was unsure in the first place.

  8. Hi Denise. Guess I, like the others, do not believe the background works well with the flower. The texture of the background is too similar to those of the rose and its leaves. Furthermore, the colors are too similar and my eye bounces back and forth too much.

    On another subject, I am not sure the water droplets are compatible with a dying flower. For some reason, I associate water with fresh new growth. Maybe that is just me.

    It also appears that the flower was cut and pasted on top of the background because the edges are too sharp where the two meet. If you were to look at a rose placed on top of another object, I believe the edges would blend more gently.

    On the positive side, you found a flower with beautiful colors and I like the choices you made for contrast. The flower looks very natural and does not need any addition treatment to enhance it. I am not sure what would make a good background for a dying flower, but I expect if you gave it some thought, you could think of something. I usually associate dying flowers with fall time when leaves, bushes and grasses are turning brown.

    My two cents …

    • Good thoughts Ken. This was one shot however… I did not cut around it and add the background in from a separate image. For the most part I am agreeing with what everyone is saying!

  9. I love this. I’ve got a similar shot on the blog.

  10. 19 Jim Streeter

    It is whatever works for you and expresses that feeling you have inside of you. There is no right or wrong. Its the expression or the emotion at the time that you wanted to express is what is important.

  11. I know the feeling, I guess it happens to all of us.
    Looking at it, I do agree that the crumpled paper detracts from the rose. Creamy linen would give a whole different feeling, for instance. I don’t know if you can alter the background with editing, but I’d be interested to see what you come up with.

  12. 24 Editor

    I am not a photographer but a painter. Sadly, I am at the point in my skill level where I feel that way about most of what I do. I would say, however, that if you, personally, do not feel drawn to look at it, and do not take some sort of pleasure/satisfaction/valuable emotional response looking at it, then it is not worthy of your usual standard. I have work I would cross the house to contemplate a few times a day. That is how I know it is effective (for me).

  13. Personally I love this image. It almost looks as if the dead rose is about to be wrapped up and put in its own coffin. It is a thing of beauty. The only thing I am not sure about is the drop of water on the rose. I do not see its purpose. Hope that helps and yes, been there many times. MM 🍀

    • Thanks for your comment as well as your bravery in going against popular opinion John! I agree with you and others who felt like the water drops do not belong. I am glad I am not alone in being indecisive from time to time.

      • You’re welcome. I try not to read the comments of others when responding in order not to be influenced. You can call it brave or stupid I guess…..🍀

  14. Thanks to all who voiced their honest opinions here. In conclusion I have realized the reasons I have a love/hate feeling about this image and through all the comments have some new ideas for this subject in mind. What is really interesting to me is the amount of comments I received in record time on this post. 🙂

  15. A lot of thoughtful and valid comment here. Without getting clinical, I kind of liked it…the colors, the arrangement. My personal test of an image of mine is “Would I frame it and enjoy looking at it day after day.” Another test (crass) “Would someone buy it at a craft show?” This one wouldn’t meet either of those criteria. BTW I can see it as a cover of a Gothic romance novel.

    In a “Glass half full” perspective I’d say the water drops were tear drops for the death of the rose (or the romance).

    I’d keep it in my files just to look at once in a while.

    • I was just fooling around with some props I had on hand for a lesson with this. I thought drops might symbolize weeping but it was an afterthought to be honest. I am not even sure I will keep this image on my blog but yes, maybe in my files. Many of the images on my blog are mainly for the sake of show & tell and photography discussion. The images I choose for my website’s yearly galleries on the other hand are the ones that I might frame. Thank you for your input … always!

  16. This was an interesting post and you received lots of interesting comments. I have a bunch of images that I would place into the ‘love and hate’ category. Glad to hear I am not alone.

    As far as your rose image, my choice would place it in the retired file.

  17. I always keep roses and their petals… their change in time is amazing and also so photographical. I keep them in a glass vase or jar… I loved yours. And you will see what will be in times… if you keep them.

    Thank you dear Denise, it is nice to be here and to meet with you, love, nia

    • Thank you Nia. Unfortunately I have tossed these. I will need to buy some more and let them wilt and dry to explore this subject further.

  18. I like the colors & textures in this image. When I have a similar uncertain feeling about an image, that just tells me I need further study, experimentation or refinement. Next I would try different lighting approaches with your subject. Start with side lighting for more shape, then hard vs soft. Art is so subjective. However, if you know you don’t like it, then move on. If unsure, you owe it to yourselt to continue to work at it until you do know. I hope to see the results of your study.

    • Thanks for your comment… I totally agree with you. What I have learned after reading everyone’s comments and thinking about this image myself is: If you can’t decide, as is the case here, you need to figure out what it is you do like and don’t like. I’ve done that and have ideas ruminating.

  19. 38 elmediat

    The more I look at , the more I like it. There is something unsettling about it that fascinates and intrigues the mind ( well my mind).

    If it were to be tweaked, it would be interesting to maintain the colours of the sharply detailed rose head and make the colours of everything in soft focus more muted.

    A more dramatic approach – which would change the whole emotional impact of the composition – would be to convert it all into a monochrome.

    All in all a very interesting piece that provides aesthetic speculation & consideration. 🙂

    • Thanks so much for your very thoughtful comment. I am usually not so indecisive about my images. I am glad to hear someone else sees something different and worthwhile in it.

  20. When I saw the title, I was immediately impressed with the interpretation of love turning to hate, as depicted in the wilting of the rose. Excellent, even if that wasn’t the intention. For all the talk of “making” a photograph, sometimes you just have to let them happen!

  21. 42 martac

    I really like it… It’s raw, it does not show perfection but flaw, and flaws can be unique and beautiful!
    And the colors are just right!

  22. I feel that way a LOT. A shot I love gets fewer likes than something I just toss out there as an afterthought. The blog is a great way to learn about your own eye and perspective. I still get surprised.

    I like this shot very much, Denise. I love the dead flower/water droplets and I think the crinkly background adds to the feeling you were going for. The composition is spot on and the colors are perfect.

    Others commented on competing textures. I don’t see it as an issue and in fact I would probably do an overlaying texture layer to age the image as much as possible, maybe using a strong vignette as well.

    This could be an old Victorian postcard.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment Sharon. This was an interesting post because of the many comments. I learned what I like and what I don’t like about it. I’m going to work on this concept a little further at some point. I do like the work many are doing with texture overlays but for my own work I like to keep it looking like a photograph.

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