Close, But No Cigar?

Nude, Provence, 2001

This particular image has been a source of frustration for me just about every time that I have looked at it.
It was made at the quarry of Les Baux de Provence in the south of France in June 2001.  It was the first day that I was photographing models in Provence that year with my friend George from Louisiana, who I had met the year before at a couple of workshops.
Why the frustration?  The photo above was made late in the day, with the sun low in the sky and casting beautiful long shadows.  I asked the model depicted here to stand at the entrance to this particular cave so that her shadow would be cast in front of her.  I like the shadow.  What I don’t like is that I didn’t leave enough room on the left side of the frame to include the full shadow, including that of her head.
The photo above this paragraph is pretty much the full frame of the negative.  You can see that there’s a lot of empty space on the right side, behind the model, but on the left, where I should have given more space, I instead cut the shadow off.   Why?????!!!!!!!!!!! 
To make matters worse, this was the last frame of film on the roll, so I didn’t make a second photo of the set-up as I normally do.  Perhaps if I had made a second shot of this, it might have been better.
I’m writing all of this now to ask readers if I really did screw this one up or if I’m just being overly critical.  I’d like to hear what you have to say.
About the best that I could come up with for this is the version below.  I decided to crop out the shadow of the model’s head, thinking that no head at all will look better than a head that is partially missing.

Again, any thoughts?

About Dave Rudin

Dave Rudin is a fine art photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. He specializes in art nude and travel photography, using black & white film and making silver gelatin prints in a darkroom.
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9 Responses to Close, But No Cigar?

  1. Ida Mae says:

    i think you did the best you could do with it,

    i am always chasing the what could have been, but it rarely gets the shot you are craving. So TRY and be happy with the shot you have, because honestly, recreating, looks quite hard to me 🙂

    If it makes you feel better, I sort of like that cut of head symbolically, especially with the stance she is taking…
    cheers!

    • Dave Rudin says:

      Thank you so much for your comment, Ida. It’s great to hear from you again! I hope you and your family are doing well. (It certainly looks like the Red Sox will have a good year – definitely better than the Yankees!!! LOL)

  2. Mark says:

    I’m no expert, but I agree that the last picture is the best of the bunch. I might even have gone for a shade (no pun intended) farther in.

  3. Bill Ballard says:

    I’ve worn these shoes many times, and while I fully understand you’re feelings, I have to agree with Ida. Well put and well said.

    Should’ve, would’ve, could’ve. All that, and you still have a great image!

  4. Dave Rudin says:

    Thanks for the comments, Mark and Bill.

  5. Looks as though it’s time to update my link to your blog. I’m still on e-blogger, but the beauty of your new site sure tempts me to make the move. Congratulations!

  6. D.L. Wood says:

    I like the last cropped image. To me nothing is lost in this crop and the missing head gives it a sort of mystery. Which to me is better than just a shadow of the model.

    So take the cigar and smoke it with the confidence that while it’s not the image you wanted. It’s a good image.

    • Dave Rudin says:

      Thank you for your comment, D.L. I was thinking the same thing about the missing head shadow adding some mystery. Now all I have to do is find the time to make a print of it!

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