Chasing unnecessary perfection

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 39,352
Re: Chasing unnecessary perfection
3

Trevor Carpenter wrote:

You've taken the picture, Maybe cropped a bit and maybe done some processing and you are pleased with the result. It looks great on the screen and will print to a decent size, maybe A4/letter. You hit the magnifying glass and sure enough noise is showing and maybe even some unpleasant artefacts none of which showed before you peeked closer. Do you care? Does it ruin your experience? Is it better never to pixel peep because whatever the camera you will always find something you don't like?

Something in the psyche of those who are interested in photography - there will always somehow be better gear that will improve the capture.

But in every age of photography there were always memorable images made that today would be verbally destroyed on the alter of perfection. But these are recognised as great simply because they were recognised as great and not because they met the professional quality standards that we now fuss and carry on about.

One of the pities about photography was that the f64 movement and Ansel Adams edged out the remarkably stylish Pictoralist style which was born during the limitations of what could be captured by the equipment of the day and the look was damned once more “realistic” images became possible due to improvements in equipment and medium. Ever since we have been on the fixated prowl for the best and most perfect reproduction that is possible.  Great pictorial style images remain great due to the skills and imaginative captures of those that made them.

Nowadays “paintery style” is still very non-u by most as somehow thought to be cheating.

Nevertheless some capture “mistakes” can still move the soul - utter capture perfection does not necessary make a good composition.

I have postulated before (not always to universal agreement) that of three basic needs of a good photograph you need at least two of them to work - one is not enough and if you manage all three together (rare) then you truly have a classic.

1) The good photographic opportunity - it is hard without having naturally presented or by creating good subject matter.

2) Good gear - makes it easier as these forums will acknowledge.

3) Acquired or natural skillset, but everyone is entitled to a lucky shot.

Therefore a skilled photographer only needs good gear or a suitable good opportunity to make an interesting shot.  A beginner or those that refuse to learn might have good gear and a good opportunity wasted.  But with good gear there can be many lucky shots - this about where we are at.

By the same token “painterly style” cannot overcome bad composition but it can exist with great captures made with lesser quality gear.  It is a pity that most do not respect it as forever greater precision of capture seems to run the show these days - but it also does not mean that the most perfect reproduction has the elements that move the soul other than by its own perfect rendition alone.

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Tom Caldwell

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