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Old 4th May 2019
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Re: The beauty of grain

Yeah, I'm broadly with Nigel & Paul, but the key for me is whether a technically poor image itself captures me because of its story or 'art'. For me the grain can either enhance such images, or just be an accepted part of them.

For example, I wouldn't change a 'pixel' of the knackered and grainy images shot on Omaha Beach as Robert Capa struggled off the landing craft. This adds to the story, which includes how the film was damaged and almost lost during processing.

The earliest images in the recent Diane Arbus show at the Hayward Gallery are grainy as hell because many are snatched in low light with limited 35mm equipment and cr@p film stock. Nevertheless, she captured some unique and stunning moments that shine through the limitations - e.g. the first one here: http://time.com/4429334/diane-arbus-met/ Her technical quality lept when she moved to a Rolleiflex, but I'm not sure the artistic qualities changed much for me.

Moriyama's shots in red-light Tokyo also live and breathe for me on their grain and 1-stop tonal range.

I think it was Rick Sammon's dad who said "If the first comment you get on a picture is about noise then it was a pretty boring picture" and he's right.
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