I would like to discuss the aesthetics of photography...

Started May 24, 2013 | Discussions thread
jbf
jbf
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Re: I would like to discuss the aesthetics of photography...
In reply to Great Bustard, May 24, 2013

I only take digital photographs and I'm primarily a hobbiest.  I'm not a pixel peeper and don't get involved in discussions about image quality.  The reason I'm commenting here is because I agree partially with the original quote, but I have a slightly different take on it and I'm curious what others think.

In my opinion, some film photographs have a quality that most digital photographs don't have.  I wouldn't call it "unnecessary detail", so that's where I differ from the original quote.  The closest adjective to what I see in film photographs that was used in the quoted discussion is "smooth".  It's kind of like the contrast is reduced in the film photographs but they aren't flat.  They still have great contrast, the tones are just smoother.  It's difficult to describe.  Hopefully that makes a little sense.  I'll reiterate that it's not all film photographs, just some of the very high quality ones.  Not having much expertise with film, I don't know if that quality is related to a certain type of film, or something to do with medium format film cameras, or other factors.

I've seen numerous people attempt to use post processing to replicate the "film look" in their digital images.  Most involve tweaking specific ranges of lights, darks, and midtones via Curves adjustments.  They usually add grain as well.  It's a difficult edit to do well.

Thoughts?

jbf

Great Bustard wrote:

...based on this post:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51516317

Particularly, this paragraph, and particularly the portion I highlighted in bold:

I had a recent (very successful!) gallery show of prints up to 20"x30" from the E-3. Got many comments about how "natural" the prints looked. Several people said they didn't realize at first they were photographs. They used terms such as "relaxed, smooth and inviting" to describe them. Several, including other photographers, thought they were from film, though the photographers said they were puzzled by the lack of film grain. They were surprised to hear they were digital. Several, including buyers, said they generally don't like prints from digital cameras because they are too "self-conscious" in that they have too much unnecessary detail, too obviously photographic, and too unpleasant to live with on the wall, even if initially striking.

What do people think?  It's a very interesting observation, in my opinion.

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