Are modern photographers obsessed with sharpness?

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charley5 Senior Member • Posts: 2,476
Are modern photographers obsessed with sharpness?
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Hi Everyone:

I decided a few months ago to only use vintage manual lenses in my work and to specifically try to develop my own style, basically that had a kind of painterly, dreamy quality. The vintage lenses were great for the style I was looking for, presenting results with plenty of character although often compromising on optical rigor.

Interestingly, before I made that shift, I was a sharpie junky. I bought an Zeiss Otus and was ready to get maximally sharp images with one of the best lenses that amateur money could buy. But there was something lacking in that quest for me personally... and I decided I needed to get excited about taking pictures again.

Okay, so fast forwarding a couple of years later... I have developed a style (it may be unique... I don't know) and I am mostly satisfied with it, although the lenses I am using are highly temperamental especially close to wide open. But I have learned a lot about lighting and about focusing accurately in manual mode with a very limited depth of field.

I find the reactions of other photographers to my style interesting. There seems to be one major sticking point with some but not all my compatriots. In my images, there is usually one eye that is sharp, and perhaps limited parts of the face... that's all. There is a gradation of blur, that gives the image a painterly look.

I am not complaining about the commentary... everyone is allowed their taste. But i am wondering whether there is too much contemporary emphasis of sharpness over art? The two are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but sometimes the technical aspects can overshadow the more artistic ones, and perhaps vice versa? I wouldn't mind getting your opinions on this subject.

I have included reduced samples of my images just to give a context to this discussion.

Thanks,

-Charles

 charley5's gear list:charley5's gear list
Sony a7 II Sony a7R III Zeiss Otus 55mm F1.4 +2 more
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