Lynda & Brian Holland were our judges for the June 'Photo Challenge', the theme of which was 'Chiaroscuro'.

Title Author Position

Deep in Thought

This has a graphical element to it that is very appealing. Love the lines in front of the girls face and the way they cast a shadow across her eyes. Great dramatic lighting which feels like a spotlight is revealing something located within an actual environment.

Lucy Courtney 1st

Film Noir Cherry

Like the simplicity of this. The contrast of colours and the diagonal lines. Light and shadows used to good effect with the spotlight effect giving a sense of place.

Marc Brimble


Me by Me

Love this one. Very nice diagonal placing of head. Great lighting to model the face and the colours are nice and vibrant adding to the drama. However the flat black background and the tight crop gives no clue to where the model is located which would have made this a better example of chiaroscuro.

Peter Brown 3rd


Nice lighting, good composition with head aligned on diagonal. The viewer is drawn towards the eyes even though the subject is looking off camera. Not sure that the partial view of the folded arms is helpful and it may be worth a try to crop them out. The flat black background isolates the subject which is good but a better example of chiaroscuro would provide us with a sense of the subject being placed within an environment which could perhaps be achieved by including a cast shadow.

David Powell HC


Like this but find the line down the face a bit disturbing as it splits the image in half. We feel that this would work better with some detail on the dark side of the face to differentiate the model from the background. The other alternative might be to have even less light on the lit side but that would require the model turning more side on and the light coming from behind.

Sandy Robertson C

The Dancer

The colours are really nice and the directional lighting on the figure very dramatic. The completely black background leaves it a little bit isolated however and with a bit of fiddling I think a more dramatic ‘pose’ might have been achieved.

Ruth Elner C

Porcelain Lady

This is a nice simple setup with very good directional lighting creating nice shadows on the object and a good sense of drama, so a good example of Chiaroscuro. The textured background is great but if the composition could have been arranged to include a cast shadow the image would have worked even better.

Peter Brown C


Lovely dog picture, great composition, the head is nicely angled and we like the soft texture detail on the head rest. However from the competition point of view we feel that it could do with more detail in the shadow areas on the face while the muzzle is a little over exposed.

Penny Cartwright C


We like the image but feel it doesn’t really illustrate chiaroscuro very well. The horizon is great and a strong element but he equal amount of sky and foreground does not help to focus attention on the figure so perhaps try a heavy crop to the sky to create a letter box composition.

Paul Nash  

Chess Game

What a great idea but a shame there are some things that we feel are not working for us. The white chess pieces are out of focus but too bright and so distract from the in focus pieces. There is good directional lighting but it may be better coming from front right and directed at the in focus pieces.

Penny Cartwright  


Interesting idea but not sure that it has enough of the doorway to make it work. A much lower angle might have made interesting use of the texture in the floorboards and also exaggerated the lead into the image.

Paul Nash  

Greek Horse Bronze in Gallop

Good black and white image but rather flat for this competition. It is a good record shot, well exposed with lots of detail but the background is flat with no indication that the subject occupies a three dimensional space.

Patrick Miles  

Hands Together

A great idea but hasn’t really worked on this occasion. The sharpest focus appears to be on the thumb and finger which is right at the top of frame. If this was the focal point it would have been better a bit lower in the composition which would allow more space around it. While the lighting is certainly dramatic, there could be more detail in the back of the left hand.

Richard Priestley  

My Nerves are Shot Waiting for this Phone Call

This has a gentle old fashioned look but we don’t feel the composition works well. Like the shadows cast by the candle but they are not particularly strong and one cannot help but wonder why a candle was needed when there is a lamp? The whiskey bottle and the lamp seem too much the same size and there is an overall feeling of clutter. The scene could be simplified by losing the candle and keep the lamp as the light source because at the moment it dominates the image but to no purpose. One also asks why the Whisky bottle is present without a glass.

Marc Brimble  


Like the poppy, can see where the title came from but for this competition I think the lighting on the poppy is a bit front on so that there is little drama in the image. Also the background is just flat black so the poppy exists in a vacuum, this may be resolved by a tighter crop to get rid of the background altogether and highlight the lovely texture in the flower.

Patrick Miles  

Rhino's Eye in Shaft of Light

Like the spotlight effect but feel that it is focused too far to the left and would be better if the shadow fell on the face behind the eye (that is to the left of frame) and the light extended slightly more and fading off to the right. More contrast and perhaps some sharpening could help emphasise the texture and details, maybe try it as black and white.

Sandy Robertson  

Sundown Chores

There are some nice elements to this with the light being used to separate the hand, the brass pot and the head but these three elements are possibly too separated within the composition and appear to float independently which makes it difficult to identify a clear focal point.

Lucy Courtney  

Which One First

A nice idea but we feel it needs some thinking about alternative arrangements of the four elements. For example, try placing the three bottles diagonally and shoot from the side so they overlap. Put the glass nearer to the camera so it looks bigger and shoot at a lower angle. Arrange the light so there are cast shadows on the table and the whole thing should look more three dimensional.

Richard Priestley  

Left Hanging

This is a nice monochrome with some great detail and an interesting angle. The lighting on the riddle is direct creating nice tones in the object and detail in the wall but while the dark shadow to the left helps frame that edge of the object there is not a lot of dramatic lighting.

Ruth Elner