V or H

Critique Style Requested: Initial Reaction

Please share your immediate response to the image before reading the photographer’s intent (obscured text below) or other comments. The photographer seeks a genuinely unbiased first impression.

Questions to guide your feedback

I initially made the vertical image and was happy with it. Subsequently I flipped the image on its side and became still happier. Now I’m in a position where I can’t tell whether I am happier with the horizontal orientation because it’s new and different from I have got used to or is it better. For this I ask for your help. Which do you prefer?

Other Information

Please leave your feedback before viewing the blurred information below, once you have replied, click to reveal the text and see if your assessment aligns with the photographer. Remember, this if for their benefit to learn what your unbiased reaction is.

Image Description

My goal is to provide visual pleasure to the viewer with an image that has no story but just structure.

Specific Feedback

All of the above.

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Beautiful in either orientation but I prefer the vertical, though I can’t articulate why I feel that way. Lovely image, Igor.

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Thank you Bret for making a choice. I completely understand not being able to say why.

I don’t know why but I favor the horizontal. Both would look great printed and hanging on my wall.

Horizontal for me, too. And not sure why – maybe it just feels better grounded. Fascinating subject and I love the colors!

I find the horizontal more balanced. The dark area is a the bottom of the frame. I feel like the vertical is top-heavy. This is a fascinating study of texture and color.

Stunning image. I prefer the vertical one, I think it’s mostly to do with the left-to-right rising lines, but also there are some more subtle lines that feel like they were created by liquid running down, my brain finds it hard to interpret those in the horizonal. Of course, chances are that’s only because I have seen both.

I was going to write the second because the composition seems perfect, the image complete but I continue to look at the first and I think that I love it in the same way. They are two different photos and it is impossible for me to choose.

I’m going with the vertical, because I think the shadow orientations look more natural.

When I saw the first image I thought it was good but not something that caught my eye. When I saw the second image I found it stood out. The horizontal line in the second image leads the eye from the lower left corner up into the image very well with the darker colors on the edges framing the brighter colors in the center. A very lovely image.

The horizontal image has, globally speaking, horizontal bands of colours. The cracks are oriented downwards (reading from left to right). The light is coming from the left. This gives me a feeling of calm and quietness. The vertical image suddenly appears to have reds, yellows and blues scattered over the canvas. The cracks are going upwards. The light is coming from above. That gives me a feeling of unrest, perhaps even agitation. I don’t know which one to prefer. It depends on the mood you want to convey. Both do their job very well.

The colors are beautiful and I think it’s a gem either way. I think the vertical image reads better.

Obviously not everyone agrees. Get a coin and toss it. :slight_smile:

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Hi Igor,

Vertical. Both are nice and the colors are definitely the draw for me. But with the vertical, the light is coming from above, and the lines, for those that read from left to right like we do in English, lead the eye from down below to up and above towards that light. I see the vertical orientation as uplifting, rather than producing tension, as most verticals do.

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This may have been inspired by the works of Rothko. I have been intrigued by his paintings recently and they likely have affected my outlook on intimate landscapes. His work, however, is more spiritual in my opinion.


Late to the party, but wanted to chime in. First impression was that I loved the range of beautiful, almost subdued colors and the dynamic design. I apprecaite that the colors weren’t taken further - they look very natural and of course intriguing - wanting me to see more context (although completely unecessary, the comp/colors just trigger the imagination.)

To the question, my initial (and final) conclusion is the horizontal. Why? Initially I think simply because it looks and feels more open, more “comfortable” with more flow and balance. The vertical seems more condensed with more tension. The longer diagonal in the horizontal seems more inclusive in the design, where as in the vertial that line seems to separate. H just seems more spacious and interesting - although I will conceded the V is more dynamic as others seem to enjoy that more.

And of course, I tried all the rotation combos and these are the best options in either the V or the H.

Colors and processing are wonderful.


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I like the upward movement of the vertical. Love the colors and textures in both.

@Don_Peters, @Youssef_Ismail, @Lon_Overacker, @Ronald_Murphy, @Giuseppe_Guadagno, @Diane_Miller, @Igor_Hoveijn, @Teep, @Tomas_Frydrych, @Barbara_Djordjevic, @Ralph_Yakaboski, @Bret_Edge

Thank you for your valued opinions. The overriding opinion is that the vertical is a stronger composition. My social media friends, which include some professional photographers, all thought the vertical was stronger as well. So I suppose that’s pretty conclusive. Yet, when I look at the horizontal without thinking about composition or the subject, just a neutral approach, I am drawn to the horizontal. The vertical fits well with my project of vertical rock work so I am pleased that people liked the vertical.

BTW, this rock face was planar but was shot from the side at an angle that was probably less than 20 degrees. You would never guess that by looking at this image. The subject’s natural position was the upside down alignment of the horizontal.

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This is outstanding, Igor! IMHO, it works very nicely in either orientation; I really don’t have a favorite. Incredible color!