This is an excellent portrait in which the combination of effects gel to great effect. The choice of sepia toning creates a retrospective context which the girls' melancholy expression amplifies most effectively; the blurred background adds to the overall dismal aura and has so little visual information it allows us to concentrate on the subject, thus elegantly achieving its objective. I feel the balance here is just about spot on The cropping works well too, had the artist chosen a (typical) square crop the effect would have been greatly diminished: and the off- centre position shows why the 'rule of thirds' works so well. Although I think the cropping does work on this image I do not like to see the top of the head clipped, a personal foible I know, but I feel the complete head with less chest would have worked better. Overall this is an emotive image, well crafted superbly balanced.