My education on photography has been mostly through books and online photo critique. In both places, the first and main reaction to any blurry photo is going to be to point out that it's blurry. Whether it's a case of out of focus or slow shutter speed, there's no redemption for that picture, and so I've taken the habit of deleting in the camera, before I even get home, all the blurry shots.
I took a pictures during a trip last month, and when you zoom in it looks sharp enough. Maybe not tack-sharp, which that particular lens is capable of, but still very much not botched. When you zoom out though, strangely, it looks a little less sharp - I'm not sure why. There are a lot of things to comment on in that picture, from color juxtaposition to framing to the contrast between the subject and the background, and I'm sure there are a lot of things I could/should have done better. Why, then, are all the comments only about the sharpness? (not on PotN, by the way)
As I try to educate myself by taking in the work of others, I'm starting to wonder if sharpness really is all that. I bought a book recently by a famous photographer; I knew his signature shots, the ones that made the cover of NatGeo and Time and what-not, and those, of course, are sharp. But then, in that rather thick book, there are also a bunch of pictures that are clearly our of focus. Not always by a lot, and to be fair some of those are from quite a while ago when we didn't have all the focus assists that we have now, but still.
A recent exhibition of Elliot Erwitt's work struck me in that most of his pictures fail to respect some of the basic tenets of what I learnt. Rule of thirds? Meh. Sharpness? Meh. He couldn't even be bothered to level his horizons. Yet he's still one of the greats. I could go on with Cartier-Bresson or Robert Capa and, I'm sure, a bunch of others I haven't got to yet.
The point is: the great photographers seem to have plenty of keeper shots that are not sharp - some even outright out of focus. I'm no great photographer, but is it wrong then that the first thing I do after taking a picture is to zoom in and delete if it's not sharp enough on the screen? In other words, in this modern world we live in where it is, perhaps, comparatively easy to get focus and shutter speed right, can a picture with slight misfocus or involuntary motion blur still be a good photo?