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critique please - Cuban cockfighters, a photo story
Old 1 Week Ago   #1
Bob Michaels
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critique please - Cuban cockfighters, a photo story

I would love to hear suggestions for improvement about this 16 image photo story with accompanying captions. I strive to convey information by using little stories rather than displaying individual photos.

http://bobmichaels.org/cockfighters/index.html

Please, CRITIQUE! I've got thick skin.
Tell me if you think the story flows. Did you learn something interesting?

Opening photo. Do note: this is a story and not a series of portraits.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #2
Larry Cloetta
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Bob, this isn’t much of a critique because I am not much of a critic, but I thought that was great, and, yes, I did learn something. I already had a pretty good understanding of the activity, but the pictures made it much more concrete for me.
It immediately brought to mind Tom Russell’s “Gallo del Cielo”, which If it is not the best “story” song of all time, it’s the best I have ever heard. (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=w2PUuTdei7k Though listening on a stereo is better than on YouTube).
Your pictorial and the song run together in my head to a certain extent, thanks for posting.

Hopefully, someone else will be better at helpful photographic criticism.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #3
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When I saw, 'Cuban cockfighters', I immediately thought of men jousting with their 'cigars'. Probably not what was intended?
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Old 1 Week Ago   #4
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Fascinating photos, thank you.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #5
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Excellent set, nice photos. You were able to show very well the people's "aficcion" and excitment. I don't remember seeing this activity so well documented.
Thank you for posting the link.

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Old 1 Week Ago   #6
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Interesting story and photos, thanks.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #7
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The world's history is full of acts that I consider to be reprehensible carried out by a diverse set of cultures. People have demonstrated plenty of gruesome actions under the guise of tradition. Not just these people in Cuba. Not just situations involving animals.

From my perspective, the photos and words that you've presented looks like something put together for the cockfighting chamber of commerce.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #8
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I'll agree it gives a great sense if being there. Well rounded story.
Perhaps use the wounded cock as the last picture, or something else if you don't like that as a statement, the one with the hat seems too trivial to me.
I see room for improvement in composition. Some pictures like the first one would be better if there were no person right behind the cock. And the cut off heads in some irk me, not much point looking at people if you can't see their faces I feel.
Because moral or ethics will come up, I think its better to write a sentece or two about your perspective and perhaps how it's seen in Cuba, rather than trying to appear neutral.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
..., rather than trying to appear neutral.
I don't think it doesn't trying to be anything, but is neutral. What other approach would there be, besides Western moral police waving a finger?
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Old 1 Week Ago   #10
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In reportage, I know the goal is usually to be objective and neutral, but I think your presentation shows a greater sympathy for the cultural traditions of the Cubans than for the well being of the cocks. Do the cocks ever die from their wounds? From what you've presented, one would never know.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #11
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This is disturbing to say the least. What's next, dog fights?

Come on man, look beyond the culture, this is not right.

Mike
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Old 1 Week Ago   #12
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Excellent work. I would go see it on a gallery. Maybe the best work i have seen lately.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarski View Post
I don't think it doesn't trying to be anything, but is neutral. What other approach would there be, besides Western moral police waving a finger?
I think objectivity in an emphatic sense is unattainable, unless one simply isn't interest, but in that case Bob wouldn't have taken these pictures. We all have preconceived normative ideas which will reflect in our works and it's best to be open about them, then the viewer/reader can make better sense of everything.
If it were me, I'd set something to the tune of:
This is a valued tradition for Cubans, they generally don't share the hubris of first world city dwellers who don't mind the terrible conditions in which their food is produced as long as their don't have to watch the animals suffer. I'd rather this didn't happen, but I can't stop it. I however want to document it because it's an important part of life here and it's visually juicy.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #14
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A story without an ending in that you don't show the losing cock in a bloody heap. Unfortunately, quite popular in some parts of SE Asia as well: men arming animals with knives and gambling on outcomes. Pretty disgusting.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #15
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This is the BEST set of pictures i have seen in this website. The criticizing based on politically correct thinking is plain stupid.. sorry for saying it bluntly.

You shoot what you see.. if you can. This guy can shoots real pictures, good photography. Not everybody can.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
I'll agree it gives a great sense if being there. Well rounded story.
Perhaps use the wounded cock as the last picture, or something else if you don't like that as a statement, the one with the hat seems too trivial to me.
As another perspective, I thought the last photo with the hat was very helpful to telling the story, perhaps because I know barely enough Spanish to read it without looking at the caption. Why? Because it shows, (1) that cockfighting is important enough to the culture that there are actually commercially available (funny) hats, and (2) that they enjoy their lives to the extent possible in what’s left of Cuba for them to enjoy. (https://newviralstory.com/how-havana...g-by-building/ Socialist paradise.)

Would be nice if this thread stayed focused on documentary photography and not devolve into virtue signaling any more than it already has. People “celebrate diversity” as long as those “diverse” people fall into line and don’t deviate from the script someone else has written for them, at which time it’s both “we love you, and respect your colorful culture” combined unaccountably with a strident “you’re reprehensible!” We know you are reprehensible because our culture is better than yours, even though we proclaim all cultures are equally worthy of respect. (And don’t ask how we square that circle.)

You can’t watch too many episodes of “Animal Kingdom” without understanding that the natural world is a messy place with much cruelty, but no less beautiful for all that. Left to their own devices, animals, including roosters, kill each other all the time and don’t think twice about it. Humanity’s relation to all this is a fraught subject and it’s not as simple as some want to make it.

There are many things I would not personally do, for personal reasons, being a matador and raising roosters for cockfights are two of them, but Bob, I wish I had had the opportunity to be there with you, and get out of my shell a little bit, and perhaps understand something foreign to me a bit better. I’m envious. Your photos, though, took me there to a certain extent.

I’m sure someone will take the opportunity to tell me to go pound sand, but that’s okay.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #17
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Thanks for comments. I remain interested in others' thoughts about the merits of presenting stories comprised of multiple images as a means of communicating information. Also specific critique about how I could have accomplished that objective better.

Diversion into an ethical discussion is something I anticipated some viewers would attempt. I made the conscious decision before I ever started to simply ignore them and let them go their own way while I remain focused on the cultural event I wanted the story to be about.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Michaels View Post
Thanks for comments. I remain interested in others' thoughts about the merits of presenting stories comprised of multiple images as a means of communicating information. Also specific critique about how I could have accomplished that objective better.

Diversion into an ethical discussion is something I anticipated some viewers would attempt. I made the conscious decision before I ever started to simply ignore them and let them go their own way while I remain focused on the cultural event I wanted the story to be about.
This is what journalism is about, and I saw the photos as a journalistic endeavor. Reminded me of what I used to see in the pages of National Geographic.

I hold my own opinions on cockfighting, but I chose to see the photos as reportage, rather than impose my own values on them.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #19
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Okay, I'll come at this another way, putting aside any moral issues I might have with cockfighting. What exactly is the story that you're trying to tell here Bob? A quick web search for cockfighting in Cuba turns up similar types of reportage featuring some truly breathtaking photos by talented photographers. The photos in those stories generally painted a much more vivid picture of cockfighting in Cuba. There is clearly some room for growth here.

A case in point

I would agree with a statement above criticizing the exclusion of the heads of the subjects in the frame. Maybe crop in tighter on the money changing hands with the beer bellied man. But I'm more bothered by the photograph featuring the woman's breasts with a caption that starts with "Anything you want...". Please don't take that as some sort of politically correct comment. Obviously the participants are almost exclusively male, why not put a face to the females involved? How many females are involved as a percentage? What's in it for the owners of the winning birds, do they get a cut of the money taken in? Is the owner of the losing bird out anything other than an injured or dead bird? Also, I don't care what angle you're coming at this from, surely you can find a better choice of words rather than noting that these birds are well cared for as professional athletes. It's hard to take much other commentary seriously from that point on.

On a side note, every article that I read mentioned the prevention of brawling amongst spectators being one of the biggest concerns (irony at its finest).

There you go.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #20
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Quote:
Left to their own devices, animals, including roosters, kill each other all the time and don’t think twice about it. Humanity’s relation to all this is a fraught subject and it’s not as simple as some want to make it.
You obviously don't have a clue what cock fighting is about. In nature, men don't attach spurs, or knives to their feet and place roosters in a confined space so that the slaughter effect is enhanced for the benefit of gamblers and other spectators.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guth View Post
A quick web search for cockfighting in Cuba turns up similar types of reportage featuring some truly breathtaking photos by talented photographers. The photos in those stories generally painted a much more vivid picture of cockfighting in Cuba....
In some ways I enjoy that Bob's photos don't have the vivid quality of many stories on this topic. 'Vivid' is often about glorifying. Finding angles that make exciting photographs is often a disservice and exploitation of the event at hand by the photographer for the photographer's personal glorification.

I do think that many of Bob's photos could have more clarity in composition- heads, cleaner backgrounds with less overlaps, etc. I do like the overall focus- the people. Food, drink, money, etc.

I abhor the abuse of animals in these type of events. I also abhor the sacrifice of brains in US football matches (and note how much focus is given to VIVID shots of collisions in football coverage). And the bombing of buses and weddings by drone operators sitting in a trailer in Utah or such. I think those of us in the US have little right to judge others given our history when it comes to abuse. As long as we accept our own right to destroy, it's hard for me to simplistically condemn how other cultures deal with violence and the human desire to destroy.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Michaels View Post
Thanks for comments. I remain interested in others' thoughts about the merits of presenting stories comprised of multiple images as a means of communicating information. Also specific critique about how I could have accomplished that objective better.

Diversion into an ethical discussion is something I anticipated some viewers would attempt. I made the conscious decision before I ever started to simply ignore them and let them go their own way while I remain focused on the cultural event I wanted the story to be about.
There is no one specific formula for storytelling w/ photographic image. Your pictures have a raw energy which comes from being objective: itīs the money passing hands, the preparation, a laughter along the violence, an animal about to die... there is something going on and it is visceral. Your images are not to show , promote or judge.. they became part of that moment in reality. The less intention you have the better. The more intention be it judgement or send a message, the flatter you fall. You go w/ the flow and hunt images. Thatīs what photojournalism is about. You got it and it shows.
Sometimes, the less you compose, the better you come out of it.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guth View Post
Okay, I'll come at this another way, putting aside any moral issues I might have with cockfighting. What exactly is the story that you're trying to tell here Bob? A quick web search for cockfighting in Cuba turns up similar types of reportage featuring some truly breathtaking photos by talented photographers. The photos in those stories generally painted a much more vivid picture of cockfighting in Cuba. There is clearly some room for growth here.

A case in point

I would agree with a statement above criticizing the exclusion of the heads of the subjects in the frame. Maybe crop in tighter on the money changing hands with the beer bellied man. But I'm more bothered by the photograph featuring the woman's breasts with a caption that starts with "Anything you want...". Please don't take that as some sort of politically correct comment. Obviously the participants are almost exclusively male, why not put a face to the females involved? How many females are involved as a percentage? What's in it for the owners of the winning birds, do they get a cut of the money taken in? Is the owner of the losing bird out anything other than an injured or dead bird? Also, I don't care what angle you're coming at this from, surely you can find a better choice of words rather than noting that these birds are well cared for as professional athletes. It's hard to take much other commentary seriously from that point on.

On a side note, every article that I read mentioned the prevention of brawling amongst spectators being one of the biggest concerns (irony at it's finest).

There you go.
The head cropped picture is my favourite composition.

I like the deadpan style.

Itīs like reading a Raymond Chandler page.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #24
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Bob, I'll (try to) suspend my disgust with this activity and comment on your presentation as journalism.

I think it progresses well and gives a sense of the event. The final photographs could be relocated. It introduces a new topic (women taking his money), which is never a good way to end an essay. Maybe after the betting section would be better, and choose a final pic that better represents the story.

I'm troubled by the tone. The piece has the feel of a Sunday family picnic. Maybe that's how this crowd experiences it, but I feel you're being complicit in minimizing the brutality of this activity. Sure, they enjoy the day, but what about the cocks' experience?

I think the technical quality of the photographs could use some attention. Overall, they lack depth. Maybe it's my Surface monitor, and I realize you're shooting on a bright afternoon. Still, it seems to me the photos would benefit from deeper, richer, more saturated color. To me the old NatGeo essays are the standard for this.

Finally, I suggest revisiting the writing, with all its passive voice and weak verbs. You could make that much stronger. It's a bunch of facts without an depth of expression or feel of the experience.

The piece raises some interesting questions about journalism and moral responsibility. Personally, I don't see how one can approach a project like this objectively. It strikes me as humanity at its worst. I know journalists must cover the unpleasant, but they should show it as it is. Of course, maybe the real story here is that human beings can become so inured to cruelty. I know we all know that, but it's still tragic.

John
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Old 1 Week Ago   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Wijninga View Post
You obviously don't have a clue what cock fighting is about. In nature, men don't attach spurs, or knives to their feet and place roosters in a confined space so that the slaughter effect is enhanced for the benefit of gamblers and other spectators.
Peter,

If I am to be called clueless, at least it comes from a nice, thoughtful person. However, I do understand exactly what cockfighting is about, and in the larger context of my original comments, the issue of spurs to a dead rooster seems a distinction without a difference, at least to the rooster. I don’t choose to raise or train cockfighting roosters, personally, since I cry when the mother dies in Bambi. I cry at commercials, which is a source of much hilarity for my family.

I’m unlike much of “the world”, but I try to appreciate it, to an extent, on its own terms. If not appreciate it, at least understand it. I’m not wagging my finger at the world screaming, “my way or the highway”. That’s all. At this point in my life I choose to live in the world as it is, not reshape it in my own image. If someone needs to think me clueless for doing so, I can accept that.

Larry
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Old 1 Week Ago   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwolf View Post
[...] The piece has the feel of a Sunday family picnic. Maybe that's how this crowd experiences it, but I feel you're being complicit in minimizing the brutality of this activity. Sure, they enjoy the day, but what about the cocks' experience? [...]

John
Exactly. There is no telling something from no perspective, and a perspective entails a standpoint. Don't hide that standpoint. That would also enable people to accuse you of having some hidden agenda and lead to more heated discussion, which you will either be dragged into as validation for one side, or having to defend yourself from that.
If you're simply mostly OK with what's happening, state why you reject the positions of those who have strong feelings about it.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #27
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Have you tried publishing it? Send it to the NYT. I would publish this story if i was editing any paper.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guth View Post
..... What exactly is the story that you're trying to tell here Bob? ......
There you go.
Guth: you gave exactly what I asked for, so thanks. It is always good to hear others views regardless if you agree or disagree with them.

Not in a rebuke, but only response to some of the good points you made:

I gave consideration to interjecting the fact that 98% of spectators are male and those few females are typically accompanying a male. This is one of the last vestiges of machismo in a country with the epitome of gender equality. But that subject appeared to be too complex to be adequately addressed and partial inclusion would cause misleading conclusions, so I chose to omit it.

I probably should have pointed out the owner of a winning cock gets only pride. The money comes from betting on the winner. Of course most owners bet on their own cocks to win.

Losing and having an injured or even possibly dead cock is a big deal to the owners as they have major time, money, and emotion invested in their birds. They are cherished possessions.

Interesting comment in your referenced article about brawling being a problem. I have been to many different cockfighting venues from one end of Cuba to the other and have never seen a fight or heard of it being an issue.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #29
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The head cropped picture is my favourite composition.

I like the deadpan style.

Itīs like reading a Raymond Chandler page.
Bob indicated he wanted to hear criticisms of his work and that he had thick skin (thicker than yours apparently). I let him know what I honestly thought and why. It's a first effort and clearly he knows that he has some work to do, hence this thread.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Michaels View Post
I gave consideration to interjecting the fact that 98% of spectators are male and those few females are typically accompanying a male. This is one of the last vestiges of machismo in a country with the epitome of gender equality. But that subject appeared to be too complex to be adequately addressed and partial inclusion would cause misleading conclusions, so I chose to omit it.
This would be interesting information to include if you could find a way. I had no idea that Cuba was a leader in gender equality. Are single women not welcomed at these events or do they just choose to not go? I appreciate the other answers provided. I did not see such things mentioned in the other stories I found online. By the way, it's quite obvious from all of the photos of Cuban cockfighting (not just yours) that women are scarce at these events with no mention why. That's one of the reasons I asked.
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Last edited by Guth : 1 Week Ago at 08:09. Reason: added two more sentences
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Old 1 Week Ago   #31
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Bob indicated he wanted to hear criticisms of his work and that he had thick skin (thicker than yours apparently). I let him know what I honestly thought and why. It's a first effort and clearly he knows that he has some work to do, hence this thread.
It is indeed a composition i like for these reasons: deadpan style and a slice of the action.. just like a Chandler page.

itīs the one that grabbed me from the whole series. I would open w/that picture if i was to publish.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #32
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Thanks for sharing these, Bob. Photographic stories are such a challenge. I assume you're familiar with "Seeing in Sixes"? I've learned a lot from studying those projects.

As for your story, I'd like to see a true beginning, i.e. the losing cock at home in the morning with the owner enjoying a coffee or cigar, and then an end of the day image, perhaps with the owner stitching up his bird or eating it.

Someone else mentioned the writing, which I also find an area for improvement. "Cocks are matched against their opponents by weight" is telling us what we can plainly see in the image. Telling us something else about the sport that's perhaps not evident in the picture would be better. The man on the left has quite a posture - is he the official, and also making a speech? About what? Is the weigh-in a high stress time for the owners? All those people in the background are focusing on this activity, but I'm not sure why. What does it sound/smell like? etc.

As far as the images go, I'd like to see more contrast in the mood. The barbecue image has the right feel for a barbecue, but the fighting would offer needed contrast if the camera were right in the ring and a few inches from claws, beaks and blood.

For me the finest image is "Artificial spurs". First because it's a What-The-F--- moment - I had no idea this was a thing, the arming of birds for a knife fight. Second, the hat on the ground is a perfect backdrop, literally drawing a circle around the subject. And then finally the owner holding the bird, showing how delicate and exposed the legs are. It's quite an image, and can stand alone.

Thanks for sharing your work!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #33
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Numbers 1, 4, 5 and 6 - sky is blown out

Number 8 - moiré artifacts on the striped sweater

Numbers 6, 9, 12 and 14 - the horizontal tilt is a distraction
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Old 1 Week Ago   #34
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This would be interesting information to include if you could find a way. I had no idea that Cuba was a leader in gender equality. Are single women not welcomed at these events or do they just choose to not go? I appreciate the other answers provided. I did not see such things mentioned in the other stories I found online. By the way, it's quite obvious from all of the photos of Cuban cockfighting (not just yours) that women are scarce at these events with no mention why. That's one of the reasons I asked.
Guth: the concept of total gender equality in Cuba is so huge and essentially so unknown that it just would overwhelm a story about cockfighting. Example: the majority of scientists, doctors, members of the national legislature, governors of the the 15 provinces, are female. That ripples down through management. As my Cuban wife says, the only difference between men and women is when it comes to one specific act and that is done in private.

My old girlfriend, now deceased, liked cockfights. She was the one that first took me. But she had a hidden real earthy side that led her to believe she could pick the winning cock. She also was a gambler and risk taker.

My wife has no interest in cockfights, same as she has no interest in baseball games. She sees nothing wrong with them, just sending me alone. Just not her thing.

I sense many Cuban women are just happy to let the males go do their thing and stay out of their hair on Sundays.

The fact that most attendees at cock fights are male is just not considered anything important.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #35
rhl-oregon
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Speaking from my experience (writer first, teacher second, photographer later), the captions are tepid and servile. They bleach the otherwise strong visual experience, communicating topic points with hardly an expressive pulse. If the blend of image and writing is like a Siamese twin, one of these is alive and the other inert—so the blended being is doomed. The living half cannot revive the inert half, but the inert half can cripple or kill the other.

Another way of putting this: these captions are not your voice, a voice we know from your longer, more personal and reflective posts. I don’t want to read an editorial assistant’s tepid generic captions, I want to hear Bob!

If I were workshopping this (as a writing teacher), my counsel would be:

1/Throw away the captions. If possible, print them, crumple them in a bowl, add lighter fluid, set them on fire and dump the ashes in a creek—if that’s what it takes to get rid of the nice young inoffensive vanilla-coated inner editorial assistant.

2/Put away the images. No peeking. No access except visual recall until you have completed #3.

3/Write your cockfighting experience at length. Start anywhere except at the beginning. (Dictating for self-transcription later is fine, and preferable if you have a bad case (many do) of looking over your own shoulder while you write.) The aim is to produce something evocative and expressive and personal, something testimonial that at its core will speak to the blind—those who cannot otherwise perceive the photographic project.

4/Set limits. Give yourself a week to write 200 words a day, or two weeks to write 100 words a day. (You may already have relevant letters, posts, a diary. Pillage those, don’t treat them as Holy Writ.) At some point you’ll know you’ve written enough, whether it’s 750 words or 3,000 words. Documentary, anecodotal, oral-historical snippets of the voices cockfighters, bettors, bar-keepers, pig-roasters.

And like a pig roasting, once #3 feels done, you can serve it here, and let RFF pick and pull and discuss the tastiest bits.

Enough ex-writing-prof talk from me. Hope it is helpful.

One more compositional thought, though. The writing supports the image-story; it needn’t compete with the images. If this project were a jazz trio, the images outline the tune and take most of the solos, like Keith Jarrett. The writing sets time and tempo, underscores the fundamental chord tones, but also (like Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette) get their own flourishes and forefronts.

Thanks for letting us in on this. I’ve admired your work since I first saw it, and would love to walk many miles with a camera in your footsteps.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #36
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Some have said it's just so much political correctness to criticize the subject of this essay. This dismisses the criticism as trivial. Some also say that the neutral coverage is befitting of good reporting.

I respectfully disagree with both positions. There is so much unthinking acceptance of animal cruelty in the world that to take a neutral position is concomitant to condoning it. When the president says that in a hate group there are some good people and some bad people, there is the suggestion that there are two morally equivalent positions. In the same way these photos proclaim there's both good and bad sides to animal mistreatment. No. There's not.

Sentient creatures able to feel pain and wonder are subjected to hell in service to the human need for food, cosmetics, space, fashion and sport. I can't judge these photos by separating the artistic merit from the routine cruelty they depict.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #37
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Looks like fine sequence of images. They are in predictable order and don't tell anything new.
Cockfighting is just a cockfighting according to these.pictures. Boring...
So, something unique should be in the text. To save it from to be boring. I can't read the text from mobile phone. The way pages are layout makes it difficult.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhl-oregon View Post
Speaking from my experience (writer first, teacher second, photographer later), the captions are tepid and servile. They bleach the otherwise strong visual experience, communicating topic points with hardly an expressive pulse. ......
Robert: Thanks and taken to heart. I consider myself a bit of a strong writer from my business days who understands the weakness of passive voice and rambling sentences. I can do better and will rewrite.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwolf View Post
..... I'm troubled by the tone. The piece has the feel of a Sunday family picnic. Maybe that's how this crowd experiences it, but I feel you're being complicit in minimizing the brutality of this activity. Sure, they enjoy the day, but what about the cocks' experience?
......
The piece raises some interesting questions about journalism and moral responsibility. Personally, I don't see how one can approach a project like this objectively. It strikes me as humanity at its worst. I know journalists must cover the unpleasant, but they should show it as it is. Of course, maybe the real story here is that human beings can become so inured to cruelty. I know we all know that, but it's still tragic.
Above quote selected only because it seems a good summation and indicative of many thoughts here that I would like to address.

I chose to do this story about cockfighters as a cultural point of interest and not an ethical debate. Since so many here deviate into a moral discussion, I will specifically comment about that.

The inability to recognize that other opinions may have merit, combined with a conviction that one's preconceived notions are a valid substitute for actual knowledge, is displayed here.

I read many opinions expressed here that cockfighting is simply unethical. How many of those people acknowledge their view is not universally held by other rational people nor shared by Cubans? Their view is that the only aspect to cockfighting is that it is unethical. Any reference to it must be limited to speaking out against it.

I question how many of the "chicken ethicists" have ever been to a cock fight? How many know of what care is taken of the cocks? How many have raised fowl and know how cocks react in nature? How many actually know anything about the subject? Or, looping back, how many are just convinced their position is so universal that actual knowledge is unnecessary. So they believe they can rely on their preconceived notions as they are generally accepted.

I also realize some here will reject the thought that anyone can be impartially objective simply because they themselves cannot be so. They will erroneously believe that because I do not support them in their opposition, that I must be in favor. I cannot deal with their lack of comprehension.

Thanks again to those who offered critique. Keep it up.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #40
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I think that Bike Tourist has done a nice job of summarizing my struggle with this series. I'm 57 years of age and have spent roughly two years of this time in total as a vegetarian precisely because of moral struggles that I have with animal abuse. I made such decisions on my own and never once protested to anyone else for their choice of food matter or how it was obtained.

All cultural differences aside, one only needs to view some videos online to get an understanding of what's happening here. I look at these photos and for me the phrase "ignorance breeds ignorance" is what comes to mind. I've tried to offer honest straightforward critique of this work from the perspective of someone who enjoys photography and creative pursuits in general. But make no doubt that I personally have a problem with the way the subject matter is conveyed here. I equate this particular presentation to someone creating a photo essay about the Ku Klux Klan featuring pictures of men in white hoods at a pancake breakfast. I don't need to go to one of their meetings to learn more about why they still continue to exist. If someone has a problem with this I would point out that there's nothing in the way this particular story of cockfighting is told that would convince me this is nothing more than ignorance and a lust for blood sport. That task is upon the storyteller.

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