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

Started May 24, 2013 | Discussions thread
OP Great Bustard Forum Pro • Posts: 42,823
Re: I would like to discuss the aesthetics of photography...

Calinature wrote:

Thanks for the interesting discussion.  Here's my take:

The human mind selectively sees just a few objects/scenes at any one time.  A good photograph should limit the scope of presentation through selective composition, effective contrast of lighting, etc.  Perhaps modern digital photography has fostered an overly ambitious, overly expansive, overly saturated look...because we have the technology to do so.  Mark Twain once said of Bierstad's paintings that they were better than the original. When I see photos like Galen Rowell's (which was originally film), I wonder if these brilliant scenes would eventually be too much as a print on a wall?

Another way to express this concept is fractals. Landscape studies have shown that an intermediate level of complexity is more appealing that either too simplistic or overly crowded, detailed scenes. Perhaps the appeal of black and white is that one element, color, is removed to that the composition can be accentuated.

Question:  which camera would be the ideal for landscape photography, all else equal (that means we are not figuring size, weight, price, and other operational considerations into the decision):

  • 6 MP
  • 12 MP
  • 18 MP
  • 24 MP
  • 36 MP
  • 35mm Film
  • Medium Format Film
  • Large Format Film

Good photographs, as "art", should be somewhat stylistic/impressionistic/symbolic that leaves a little imagination for the particular viewer.  With too much detail and clutter, one cannot see the forest for the trees.  Or perhaps showing just a few trees is more effective than a whole forest. This is not to say that detail isn't important in some parts of the photo.

So, for example, you are saying landscape photos are best taken at wide apertures where portions will be outside the DOF, or very narrow apertures, where diffraction will soften the whole photo?

Is too much dynamic range also contributing to a digital look? Is lifting too much shadow giving a flat look to photos?

Just because you can push the shadows does not mean you should.  Just because you can shoot wide open doesn't mean you should.  Just because you can stop down to f/22 doesn't mean you should.  This is not a digital vs film thing.

Again, thanks all for your many insightful comments.  JEFF


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