There is a lot of discussion here about the technical merits but I think the technical merits are fine. The lighting is pretty good! What I sense as most bothersome is his smile/facial reaction to being photographed. Something seems off about the picture and I think it is his reaction to being photographed. He looks as though he is a little self-conscious or smiling/laughing while the lighting and black & white palette lends itself to something more serious. His facial reaction doesn't fit with the rest of the picture. I don't hate the pose but it looks like it could be improved. I think if you had a relaxed subject who was leaning a little more naturally forward, who was thinking less about being photographed and more about "an idea", it would work better. Perhaps if you had taken a full roll you would have been able to find one that worked with all the dynamics. Otherwise I think you are off to a nice start!
Originally Posted by cjbecker
I'm sorry, to me, it doesn't work. You said you wanted an epic and intense feel. If this is the case, the expression of the subject, the slightly smiling face is contradictory. Also, the muted lighting of the front center of face does not show off this model as an intense figure. I would also like to see little more light going to his eyes and eye socket area. His eyes are looking right at me, but they don't show well.... they are in shadow. I think you almost want his eyes to look like if he is staring you down - intensely.
edit: haha... I guess I said about the same thing as the poster above, only few minutes later...
To me these are really pointless remarks. Successful photographs are about the idea, not the details. You may find technical faults in a thousands wonderful photographs that you cherish deeply, and none of them matter because the concepts are successful. Obviously, good exposure and proper lighting is preferable if not essentially required, but quibbling over a little more light in the eye sockets really doesn't help the guy. The idea in his photograph works. Everything about the picture basically works except the facial expression, which as you and I both said, contradicts the otherwise dramatic nature of the photo. Getting an expression that looks natural in a self-portrait is very difficult, but a worthy pursuit! We should focus on these important things, not minor details that would only help the picture in fractional amounts.
Originally Posted by tkamiya
To me, portrait is all about the personal connection the subject makes with the viewer. When I saw this photograph for the first time, my first impression was about the face and eyes or lack there of. Then I saw the description of the photograph - it was supposed to be an intense photograph.
For this, I said, "I'm sorry, it doesn't work for me".
To me, lighting eyes and that area properly is very important. Perhaps more important than the rest of the photograph. Then, the overall face. This is a portrait, isn't it?
Portraits are my main area of interest. That's how I do mine.