Wednesday, January 6, 2010

No, no, no

The new issue of Beeradvocate came today ...

Maybe this is hypercritical, but Jason, Todd, guys, that cover photo is garbage. Sorry, but that is a throw-away image from the Canon's flashcard, a quick frame shot to find an f/stop and gauge room lighting (if you left your light meter at home), and then the photographer chimps at the back of his camera, deletes the pic and lines up a real shot. Not a closeup of crap.

OK, so it's a closeup of a mash tun being cleaned out. It's not even a good photo of that (it's cluttered-looking as far as composition goes, and your eye falls immediately to the door latch area).

But really it's not about anything. Nothing.

What's so compelling about cleaning out a mash tun? You can't tell the rake is a rake (sorry, two feet of handle identifies nothing, whereas the end of the rake would have); that muddy color on the right is probably steam, but you have to hang out at a brewery to know that. The image is flashed-out overexposed on the left; meanwhile, the action (the falling grain) is underexposed. It's not color balanced, so the raked-out grain looks green, and if you had to fix it in post, then you're just playing garbage in garbage out.

But most of all, the shot perspective is indicative of nothing. It's slightly to the left of head-on, over a shoulder. It's just junk and shouldn't be on the cover, nor anywhere, for that matter.

Sorry, but it's a bad job. And it if were a beer, you guys would be going "D-".


Bryan Kolesar said...

Jeff, I picked up a copy the other day at Monk's (my subscription lapsed last year, purposely...not a recommendation to others, just a personal choice). My thoughts echoed most of what you said. You said it more professionally. I'm not adding this simply to pile on, but so that anyone reading this knows that it's not just one man ranting.

Sure, beer geeks can look at it and tell what's going on...though, admittedly, I needed a second half glance to make sure I knew exactly, for sure, what it was. But, what about the less-than-beer-geek. What are they to make of the cover? Are we overanalyzing here? Does it matter?

Bryan said...

oh, and before others jump on me...I realize that the inside page describes the picture...I'm not so trusting that many go in search of photo credits and description other than immediately next to/on top of the picture itself.

Jeff Linkous said...

I don't think we're over-analyzing it. A cover photo should be eye-catching, clearly convey information and convince folks to pick up the mag.

What kinda gets me is, I have several friends from my days in newspapers and wire service who are pro photographers, and they're having a tough time these days pushing their images, mostly because of the proliferation of point-and-shoot cameras and the dive the industry has taken.

But when they see something like this, a horrid magazine cover shot, when they could have done it right, they go nuts.

My reaction (and post) was a bit knee-jerk, and maybe it's misspent energy to beat up on it. But this REALLY is an abysmal photo; it makes Beeradvocate look really amateurish.

The pic may have been OK if it were of the falling grain, shot from some interesting angle and lighted well enough. At least then it would have had a chance at being interesting.