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The lounge Relax, take a break from photo and camera talk - have a chat about something else for a change. Just keep it clean and polite!

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Harold Gough Harold Gough is offline
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Re: Technical perfection doesn't truly matter

Just a thought: if an image has been digitized can it ever be perfect?

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Re: Technical perfection doesn't truly matter

It's an image, not the thing it is an image of. It doesn't move, it isn't hot or cold, or noisy and you can't feel smell it. So in one sense it will always be a long way short of perfect.

Of course in another sense any image - no matter how rubbish - will be perfect, because to borrow that irritating management bollockspeak phrase "it is what it is"

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Re: Technical perfection doesn't truly matter

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Originally Posted by Harold Gough View Post
Just a thought: if an image has been digitized can it ever be perfect?

Harold
Just another thought: If an image has been converted to grains of silver halide can it ever be perfect?
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Re: Technical perfection doesn't truly matter

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Just another thought: If an image has been converted to grains of silver halide can it ever be perfect?
The only perfect images are those that you didn't attempt to record but are imprinted upon your memory.
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Re: Technical perfection doesn't truly matter

I think the point is this: the content of the photograph is far more important than technical perfection, whether it be the pleasing grain of film due to the random distribution, or the rather ugly regular noise of digital at high ISO (on some cameras).

Look at the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson for example. I'm thinking of the iconic puddle jumper with the Eithel Tower as a backdrop (well I think it was HCB, but perhaps I'm mixing him up with another artist). The image is far from perfect, slightly soft in focus, but the content and composition are purely magical. As another example, look at the work of Capa, particularly the D-Day landings. Many are out of focus but undeniably the content totally overshadows the technical deficiency.

Buying the best and the latest equipment capable of wonderful image quality is not going to make a person with a poor photographic eye into a great, or even a good photographer. I think you're either blessed with a good photographic eye or you're not, and no amount of technical perfection will make up for a poor eye.
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Re: Technical perfection doesn't truly matter

At the end of the day the whole concept of a "good image" is subjective and not amenable to objective analysis. As such, questions about technical excellence and how important it is will inevitably be hard to answer definitively.

For sure, there are some elements of an image which most humans will find pleasing - for example compositional guidelines such as leading lines, rule of thirds etc. I think that technical issues fall into this camp too. It can't be denied that all other things being equal, a sharp and well exposed image will always be better than one that isn't. Of course, there are degrees of perfection and compromise so there's no definitive answer there either. Just how out-of-focus can an otherwise excellent image be before it is no longer excellent?

On the bigger point of what makes a fantastic image - it's clearly true that some people (artists) consistently produce images that "work" whilst lesser mortals have a lower hit rate. I'd argue that both will benefit from better technical execution of those images. Can good technique make a poor image good? - of course not. Can good technique make a half-decent image better? - absolutely. Can good technique make an excellent image an award winner? - I believe it can.

So, it seems to me that technical excellence is not the be-all and end-all - but IMHO it's an almost-necessary part of a truly excellent image. Sometimes you can get away with some degree of imperfection and the better you are as an artist the more leeway you'll have. For dorks like me though - I need the technical excellence to help me on the way!
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Re: Technical perfection doesn't truly matter

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It can't be denied that all other things being equal, a sharp and well exposed image will always be better than one that isn't.
To play devil's advocate for a moment - I think the impact of Robert Capa's photos of the D-Day landings is greatly enhanced by the mistake that the processing lab made with his films. They would still have been great photos without the error, and there would have been more of them, but they are so much more powerful as they are.

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Sometimes you can get away with some degree of imperfection and the better you are as an artist the more leeway you'll have. For dorks like me though - I need the technical excellence to help me on the way!
Yup - good summing up!

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Re: Technical perfection doesn't truly matter

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Originally Posted by Gwyver View Post
Just another thought: If an image has been converted to grains of silver halide can it ever be perfect?
Yes of course, every time.
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Re: Technical perfection doesn't truly matter

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Originally Posted by Harold Gough View Post
Just a thought: if an image has been digitized can it ever be perfect?

Harold
Halide isn't magic nor is Digital, they are just different technologies.

So short answer to your question is Yes.
Perfection is in the eyes of the beholder - or so the saying goes.
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Re: Technical perfection doesn't truly matter

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The only perfect images are those that you didn't attempt to record but are imprinted upon your memory.
So true, some of my most memorable wildlife encounters have been when I didn't reach for the camera.
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Re: Technical perfection doesn't truly matter

And some of the best fish I nearly caught happened when I was assembling the fishing rod.
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Re: Technical perfection doesn't truly matter

I rather like this shot


Free-lensing-3 by Alf Branch, on Flickr

Here is the blurb I posted with it

Free lensing taking shots with the lens detached from the camera in this case it is a 28mm Olympus OM fit manual lens with a 4/3 DSLR so the lens does not fit anyway.
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Re: Technical perfection doesn't truly matter

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Originally Posted by Gwyver View Post
Just another thought: If an image has been converted to grains of silver halide can it ever be perfect?
It will never meet the Gold Standard!

Harold
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Re: Technical perfection doesn't truly matter

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Originally Posted by Harold Gough View Post
It will never meet the Gold Standard!

Harold
Kodak Gold was crap in my humble opinion. (Do they still make it?)

Velvia though, was on another level altogether.

I am also rather partial to Kodak Tri-X, Fuji Acros and Ilford Pan F.
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Re: Technical perfection doesn't truly matter

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Originally Posted by alfbranch View Post
I rather like this shot


Free-lensing-3 by Alf Branch, on Flickr

Here is the blurb I posted with it

Free lensing taking shots with the lens detached from the camera in this case it is a 28mm Olympus OM fit manual lens with a 4/3 DSLR so the lens does not fit anyway.
Looks like a Volvo driver's view of the world.

You should apply for a grant from the Arts Council.

Better still, use the same technique to photograph piles of bricks, dirty nappies and old car tyres, and then apply.
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