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Sharpness Overrated?25/06/2008 - 1:16 PM
A discussion on the forum* and an article in Naturfoto** made me think about the need to have your photographic subject pin sharp. Is that really necessary?
I'm beginning to think it isn't. You might think it is, because in the gallery you may usually expect an immediate reaction from members when you upload an image which is soft, blurred or in any way just not what people expect of it in terms of focus and sharpness. They often just don't like it.
You'll find very few photos with out of focus/unsharp subjects in the galleries. And some of the out of focus or unsharp ones were probably meant to be sharp by the photographer...
But what's wrong with a bit of out of focus photography? It can be very atmospheric. Or dreamy. Arty. Romantic, even. Thinking about it, I have no problems with that.
In fact, I think in some cases it could even work better than the opposite. And still it's an underrated method of taking photos, in my humble opinion. Not just on ephotozine, but in general.
My wife bought a wonderful book on flower photography some years ago, written by Sue Bishop. Sue deals with different ways of shooting flowers, and one of the methods you'll come across when you read it, is to use either very limited depth of field, or to deliberately throw flowers out of focus. Sue Bishop really knows how to take an atmospheric flower shot, especially her abstracts work really well, but it doesn't look like it's a generally accepted thing.
So far I've not been brave or creative enough to adopt her methods myself, but my wife has, and she's come up with some wonderful compositions - which in my opinion, however, are somewhat underrated.
The article I read in Naturfoto was also on flower photography, and the author gave some very interesting and highly creative ideas, and illustrated the article with wonderful images. He sometimes even goes so far as to add a layer with an out of focus subject to the layer where the same subject is in focus! And I'm tempted to give some of his methods a go, maybe experimenting with some variations on his ideas.
So who knows - I may shock some of you with some out of focus images, so be prepared!
EDIT 30th JUNE 2008: I decided to post my own example. You can find it here.
* See the Focus Schmocus! thread.
** A German magazine: I found to my shock and surprise that they don't just publish boring photo mags over there, but also this rather excellent one - well, it had to be, since they had taste enough to publish a shot by our very own joolsb a few months ago.