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

Started May 24, 2013 | Discussions
Great Bustard
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I would like to discuss the aesthetics of photography...
May 24, 2013

...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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Draek
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Re: I would like to discuss the aesthetics of photography...
In reply to Great Bustard, May 24, 2013

Wow. That's news to me, but... it makes sense, as well, that too much detail could be dizzying and ultimately adverse for the photograph. I'd noticed many of my favorite prints had a certain softness to them (be it from motion blur or focus errors), but thought it was because they were good photographs in other respects---never thought that softness might've contributed to my liking them.

Gonna have to make some experiments and read more on the matter, it's certainly an interesting train of thought, thanks for bringing it to our attention.

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Great Bustard
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One thing I'm wondering about...
In reply to Draek, May 24, 2013

Draek wrote:

Wow. That's news to me, but... it makes sense, as well, that too much detail could be dizzying and ultimately adverse for the photograph. I'd noticed many of my favorite prints had a certain softness to them (be it from motion blur or focus errors), but thought it was because they were good photographs in other respects---never thought that softness might've contributed to my liking them.

Gonna have to make some experiments and read more on the matter, it's certainly an interesting train of thought, thanks for bringing it to our attention.

...is landscape photography, which is probably more about captured detail than any other type of photography.  So, does this apply to landscape photos as well, or might it be that certain types of photos benefit from a certain softness (e.g. portraits) whereas others benefit from greater detail?  Or is it a general thing?

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panos_m
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Re: I would like to discuss the aesthetics of photography...
In reply to Great Bustard, May 24, 2013

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.

Is this a question on realism?

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Great Bustard
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Re: I would like to discuss the aesthetics of photography...
In reply to panos_m, May 24, 2013

panos_m wrote:

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.

Is this a question on realism?

Not really.  The question is on the relationship between the detail in a photo vs the appeal of the photo.

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Jack Hogan
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Re: I would like to discuss the aesthetics of photography...
In reply to panos_m, May 24, 2013

panos_m wrote:

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.

Is this a question on realism?

Panos is right: having looked at Bob Cole's site, I think this is a question of the signature/stroke/style of the artist (i.e. realism vs cubism vs impressionism vs ...) rather than the nature of the capture medium.  Different styles come, get overdone and tiresome then go.  Perhaps now after a decade of the digital see-every-pore look we are ready to swing back into a softer look.

I like Bob's impressionistic look, I think I've been gravitating that way myself of late.  Many of my current favorite one-a-month prints of my meticulously technical captures are actually willfully not that sharp - and printed on fuzzy canvas.

Jack

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brianj
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Re: I would like to discuss the aesthetics of photography...
In reply to Great Bustard, May 24, 2013

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.

I have always thought this.

Extremely fine detail probably occurs at a similair size to the typical digital image distortion and becomes part of it.  The average person looking at this hideous mess thinks it has wonderful detail, but it is the very thing ruining the image.

I think what these people in your paragraph discovered is the photographic equivalent of hi-fi music compared to everday music especially MP3 type compressed music.

This is the reason why I am so turned off by the constant talk of lack of detail on these forums.

Brian

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panos_m
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Re: I would like to discuss the aesthetics of photography...
In reply to Great Bustard, May 24, 2013

Great Bustard wrote:

panos_m wrote:

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.

Is this a question on realism?

Not really.  The question is on the relationship between the detail in a photo vs the appeal of the photo.

Yes but isn't more detail another step closer to reality?

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Great Bustard
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Re: I would like to discuss the aesthetics of photography...
In reply to panos_m, May 24, 2013

panos_m wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

panos_m wrote:

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.

Is this a question on realism?

Not really.  The question is on the relationship between the detail in a photo vs the appeal of the photo.

Yes but isn't more detail another step closer to reality?

Hmm.  Good question.  No, I don't think it necessarily is.  Photos are so far removed from reality from the get-go, being 2D and static in time, that I think of photography as primarily being artistic.  A video, even a low res video, is much closer to reality, especially if it has sound.

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Great Bustard
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Are you saying...
In reply to Jack Hogan, May 24, 2013

Jack Hogan wrote:

panos_m wrote:

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.

Is this a question on realism?

Panos is right: having looked at Bob Cole's site, I think this is a question of the signature/stroke/style of the artist (i.e. realism vs cubism vs impressionism vs ...) rather than the nature of the capture medium.  Different styles come, get overdone and tiresome then go.  Perhaps now after a decade of the digital see-every-pore look we are ready to swing back into a softer look.

I like Bob's impressionistic look, I think I've been gravitating that way myself of late.  Many of my current favorite one-a-month prints of my meticulously technical captures are actually willfully not that sharp - and printed on fuzzy canvas.

...that the comment I quoted was based on these photos of his:

http://robertcolephotography.com/landscape_impressions

as opposed to these photos of his?

http://robertcolephotography.com/landscape

If so, then wouldn't the comments about "unnecessary detail" mean that the people who made the comment represent a minority opinion of those that pursue photography?

Oh, by the way, yes, I absolutely think his photography is outstanding, impressionist or not.  I just don't understand the the comments highlighted in bold above.

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Great Bustard
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Re: I would like to discuss the aesthetics of photography...
In reply to brianj, May 24, 2013

brianj wrote:

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.

I have always thought this.

Extremely fine detail probably occurs at a similair size to the typical digital image distortion and becomes part of it.  The average person looking at this hideous mess thinks it has wonderful detail, but it is the very thing ruining the image.

I've no idea what you mean by that.

I think what these people in your paragraph discovered is the photographic equivalent of hi-fi music compared to everday music especially MP3 type compressed music.

Could you elaborate?  Sounds almost like they said the exact opposite.

This is the reason why I am so turned off by the constant talk of lack of detail on these forums.

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Lumixdude
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In reply to Great Bustard, May 24, 2013

It creates a canvas for you to do the work on, it doesn't create the work for you. Most digital photos are flat without some sort of processing, it's up to you to get what you want out of the image. It reminds me.

It reminds me of the story of the reference speakers when it comes to producing sound, put a good pair of reference speakers next to the average person and they'll think the sound coming out of them is garbage, but that's because most people aren't prepared to do the work to get the sound of the speakers that they're capable of.

Most people aren't prepared to play around with a parametric EQ... Well the same can be said of digital photos, most people aren't prepared to go to the lengths of extracting the best possible image out of the histogram. They want the cheap fix and so we see people complaining about the nature of digital.

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brianj
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Re: I would like to discuss the aesthetics of photography...
In reply to Great Bustard, May 24, 2013

Great Bustard wrote:

brianj wrote:

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.

I have always thought this.

Extremely fine detail probably occurs at a similair size to the typical digital image distortion and becomes part of it.  The average person looking at this hideous mess thinks it has wonderful detail, but it is the very thing ruining the image.

I've no idea what you mean by that.

I'm suggesting that it is possible that the many distortions that are present in an image which are often not seen because they are very small or have no edge or object to react with, can be seen more readily when they iteract with fine details which are a similair size.  In other words, a small distortion against a large object will be a very small part of it and go unseen, but a distortion the same size as a fine detail will interact and completely change the shape of the fine detail.

Another source is stepping of slightly slanting edges, fine edges can be completely distroyed by this distortion.

http://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia/term/37999/artifact

I think what these people in your paragraph discovered is the photographic equivalent of hi-fi music compared to everday music especially MP3 type compressed music.

Could you elaborate?  Sounds almost like they said the exact opposite.

The argument has raged for years about whether some people can tell the difference between a vinyl record and digitized music from an uncompressed source such as a CD.  It can be heard by the discerning ear, and is most likely caused by the harmonic frequencies produced by the edges of the highest frequencies because a square wave (digitised bit) contains all frequencies, there will be a further mix of these frequencies which is distortion.  This is not present in a pure analogue source.  Of course all this is made worse in a compressed MP3 audio file, the same as it is when viewing a blocky compressed video.

This is simplistic as I am not a scientist, but wiki has a big article on it here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_analog_and_digital_recording

This is the reason why I am so turned off by the constant talk of lack of detail on these forums.

So I am saying that the gallery prints must have been very free of distortion or fine detail above a certain frequency was filtered out.

Brian

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brianj
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Re: I would like to discuss the aesthetics of photography...
In reply to panos_m, May 24, 2013

panos_m wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

panos_m wrote:

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.

Is this a question on realism?

Not really.  The question is on the relationship between the detail in a photo vs the appeal of the photo.

Yes but isn't more detail another step closer to reality?

When I look at a landscape or scene with my eyes I don't see every blade of grass etc but that is what people want when they zoom right into an image and inspect every pixel, so I don't think getting a lot of detail is getting closer to my reality.

Brian

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Detail Man
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Re: I would like to discuss the aesthetics of photography ...
In reply to Great Bustard, May 24, 2013

Great Bustard wrote:

panos_m wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

panos_m wrote:

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.

Is this a question on realism?

Not really.  The question is on the relationship between the detail in a photo vs the appeal of the photo.

Yes but isn't more detail another step closer to reality?

Hmm.  Good question.  No, I don't think it necessarily is.  Photos are so far removed from reality from the get-go, being 2D and static in time, that I think of photography as primarily being artistic.  A video, even a low res video, is much closer to reality, especially if it has sound.

We sometimes forget that what we throw the term "reality" at is but an inherently subjective construct necessarily arising out of our individual sensory perceptions. It is in no way transferable - as we cannot possibly step into each others' heads and know what they experience perceptually.

Our field of view is so limited in angle that we can only take the world in via small angles of view with acutance. Additionally, the spatial frequencies that we can within that angle resolve are fairly limted.

When somebody views an image of a wide and deep landscape scene, it appears to the eyes as very different, indeed. While it can for some be a joy to be able to resolve detail far and wide wherever one looks (I like that), it appears that it can also strike viewers as "dissonant" relative to their normal angle of view and acutance within that narrrow angle. It is as if (some) minds are made more comfortable when spatial frequency resolution limitations are imposed that seem more familiar to their perceptual experience when viewing such scene themselves.

It is not uncommon when I present my "wide and deep" landscape shots that have been processed using deconvolution deblurring that viewers find them somehow "dissonant" to their minds, and/or they claim to see what they declare to be "sharpening artifacts, halos, blah, blah, blah" where I myself do not see much if any of what they allege to so surely "technically" perceive.

I have come to think that different viewers have their own comfort levels of preferred "myopia", and will in some way or another aesthetically reject that which exists outside of the perceptual zone that comports with their personal expectations. The familiar limitations resonate more readily.

On the other side of the coin are those who may come to enjoy "false detail" that likely represents aliasing (or processing artifacts having a similar effect). Once again, the sense of perceptual "reality" is something that arises out of the mind's eye - not the other way around. We see (and perceive in general) largely what we as creatures have come to expect to see.

Some of those pre-ceptive expectations (I suspect) exist as result of previous viewing experiences (environmental nurture). People more familiar with film photography (may) approach more modern technologies, resolution, and signal/noise ratios with with a pre-formed set of expectations. I am doubtful that there exists some "golden eye" as a universal objective template.

The height of pretentiousness is to assume or to require that others will or should happen to possess similar aesthetic preferences and tastes - yet these forums would likely be mostly barren of posts if the subject matter was limited to truly objective knowledge claims about hardware/software. Far more fun (but substantively fallacious and rather futile) to play "statistician of aesthetics" implicitly in search of confirmatory agreement when throwing around terms like "better", "best", "optimum", and ethereal phrases like "image quality", "more natural", etc.

DM ...

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Franka T.L.
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In reply to Great Bustard, May 24, 2013

what they mean is not how digital being photographic or what, its about what those image manifest after a more than heavy hand manipulation. Mostly we call over-processing.

Aesthetically speaking though, there is another key issue with such, not with the camera, the media, the print, or the sensor, but the viewer. Viewer in general had been exposed to images over their life on magazine, TV, media and loads more. They've come to expect photo to be in a certain manner ( character ). In past era, that's most likely Color Photo taken with 35mm system, some with Medium System, most had to be enlarged from the Neg / Slide and the result usually show that character. If a Photo come to them and do not show those character they expected, they would view it as odd as these new Digital photo do. That must be stated though that also is of the making of the photographers. JPEG shooters are usually unaware that their in camera JPEG engine ( even on so call a Neutral tone curve ) tend to over saturate quite a lot compare to film ( which in fact in most case undersaturate ) and carry a hefty sharpening so that they look nice, crisp, sharp and contrasy on screen, which usually do not translate well to print either.

And this is not Digital alone. I shoot Large Format too, and when I present casual non photographer with a Contact print from my 8X10 color neg the comment usually is the same, that the print look odd, too much details

This in term reflect why such lo-fi hype had been around for some time. In a way that the viewer reject the presentation of the capture as such delivered by digital platform because to them they just look odd.

For the part though, its not digital or film, nor form factor. I do my own print , processing my RAW myself for those print, and I have them send to display and generally they are well received. On the other hand we must take a look at the other end of the spectrum where digital made possible some very very detailed capture or captures ( multi-frame image ) like HDR, Focus stacking, etc , and there are many very quality prints from those gene too.

That remind me ultimately of my younger days when people move from 120 Medium Format to 35mm. I recall quite well back then many complain about the 35mm photo lacking that Air of Photographic , that details in the depth of the capture etc etc .... And by god if they think digital is too much , take a look at a good old Fuji Velvia cature, especially on a large format ... they can just as much over-processed.  ...  lol

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Jack Hogan
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Re: Are you saying...
In reply to Great Bustard, May 24, 2013

Great Bustard wrote:

If so, then wouldn't the comments about "unnecessary detail" mean that the people who made the comment represent a minority opinion of those that pursue photography?

Sometimes detail detracts from a specific image, sometimes it adds to it - choosing what is necessary and what is not is part of the artistry.  Which may be more or less appreciated depending on the times*.

I sometimes like images that have both a lot and a little of detail (as in some of Bob's mysty/long ss/low dof images or Ian Bramhan 's look ).  But generalizing, 'unnecessary' detail/sharpness may also be part of a look that we are getting tired of and/or that is not required by gallery going patrons of the arts today: Capturing and displaying perfect image information is too 'perfect' and tells us too little about the artist and what s/he is trying to convey.  A perfect capture/print may be categorized as an impersonal poster, merely the recording of what was there - A willfully 'imperfect' capture/print may instead be categorized as an artistic expression of the artist's thoughts and feelings at the time.   Humans do not love perfection served on a silver platter - they love puzzles and imperfections that challenge them to figure out something about who shot the image, what s/he felt at the time and what s/he wants to say.  The beauty of digital is that often one can capture and process for both, if one wants.

Jack

* Recently whenever a certain look has become popular a plug-in has been developed to create it easily. The KR look, the color feature inside a B&W look, the grunge look, the heavy HDR look.  They get tiresome quickly.  I think we are currently coming off the Tonal Contrast look: a mixture of all of the above

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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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Steve36
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Re: I would like to discuss the aesthetics of photography...
In reply to Great Bustard, May 24, 2013

I was walking through a small town high street the other day and came across a photographer's shop. In the window were some big photos of mountain views etc. Very good work indeed; he had clearly been out during the golden hours and knew what he was doing (or she).

I thought they looked very detailed and unaturally sharp (not over-PS-sharpened either) and definitely not as I would see the scenes with the eye.

There is a certain natural silky smoothness with the eye and digital photos often look too detailed, perhaps they are too detailed. I don't remember seeing glossy film like this.

I wonder too, if we put too much artificial detail in with digital processes.

I think you have a great point here and it deserves more attention.

Steve

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panos_m
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Re: I would like to discuss the aesthetics of photography...
In reply to Great Bustard, May 24, 2013

Great Bustard wrote:

panos_m wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

panos_m wrote:

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.

Is this a question on realism?

Not really.  The question is on the relationship between the detail in a photo vs the appeal of the photo.

Yes but isn't more detail another step closer to reality?

Hmm.  Good question.  No, I don't think it necessarily is.  Photos are so far removed from reality from the get-go, being 2D and static in time, that I think of photography as primarily being artistic.  A video, even a low res video, is much closer to reality, especially if it has sound.

Yes that is the behavior of the medium. And another layer of abstraction is added when a photograph is black and white or has excessive grain for example.

When I say closer to reality I mean that the advancements in the technical level (for example the increase in resolution) give to the photographic medium the ability to describe better.

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Panagiotis

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