Photo reviews – Calvary / Male portrait

We always had the desire to add something completely different to our site. Well, here you are! Put the mouse aside for a while, and close Photoshop. Sit down in front of a photo and focus on it. What feelings does it induce? What’s the story it tells you, and what would it tell an outside viewer? This is what we primarily wanted to know, since an expert’s eye may find aspects that will bring us nearer to be able to take better photos. So we collected a handful of amateur photos and handed them to Balázs Turay, a professional photo reviewer. Balázs graduated at the photo faculty of the University of Applied Arts. He teaches photography, gives lectures and is a freelance photographer himself. He opened his third eye, and recited his feelings and thoughts about the formerly unknown photos in manners concrete and plain once, soaring and poetic another time. In this series, he’ll be taking on two photos in each article.


Under the darkened skies blinks the monotonous repetition of the white stations of the cross. The photographer directs our attention towards the top of the hill using the converging lines of perspective. The mound and the crosses are emphasized by the light spot of horizon. The lines and lights also pull your attention towards the middle of the picture. Thus, it is a centralized composition, tilting slightly towards the left under the weight of stone blocks.

Male portrait

Who’s this man, when was the photo taken, and how is his face so familiar? I’m searching in my thoughts and faces fade in from the golden age of photography, then from later, the 20s of the last century, when Edward Weston took photographs of revolutionaries, writers, philosophers, militants, and beautiful and sad women on huge sheet films in the American West and Mexico. I’m looking at the face, the features, the sharp and lifeless wrinkles, and then, from further, squinting, the whole of the picture, the replica of the face, and I am no longer wondering whether it’s important to know who he is. I already know much more about him, feel close to him because of the classic composition, the careful selection of lights, than of any identity. The sharp, rough features are nicely balanced by the detailed, still soft and unsharp surfaces and forms. The beard is bristly and hard, like that of cavalry generals in old photographs, and the photo makes me feel like looking at daguerrotypes, despite of being taken perhaps only weeks ago with a digital camera.

Balázs Turay