Hamlet's Ophelia

Ophelia’s weeping brook

“There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
Therewith fantastic garlands did she come
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men’s fingers call them:
There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down the weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up:
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with her drink,
Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious buy
To muddy death.”


The individual components of the scene look great, but composition-wise I’m not sure the angle works for her face. To me at least, at this angle, this is an artwork of a drowned corpse, but not of a character that drowned. The water refraction distorts her facial features, and even without that, the angle de-emphasizes her face. Perhaps if you bent her neck in a little? And/or raise the camera? Alternatively, maybe it’s the lighting. The lighting is great and has a nice golden hour feel, but maybe if more of it hit her face it would work better.

The water, rocks, plants, and human model all look great. The environment itself is laid out well compositionally too.

Thank you for taking the time to write such a helpful critique. I agree with you about her positioning and not capturing her character. I’ll take another shot at it.