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Thread started 31 Oct 2014 (Friday) 13:05
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chauncey
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Oct 31, 2014 13:05 |  #1

I am quite anal about subject sharpness in my images and am not above PP'ing them at 200-400% to satisfy that personality quirk.
My goal is to allow nose-length viewing distance on my prints. Yes, I get a lot of grief because of this habit but consider this...
when you visit an Art Show, do you not evaluate that photograph at a distance, and then...put your nose up close. I do!

IMHO, the old-school, proper viewing distance scenario, was left over from paintings that looked hideous up close.
Am I the only one that holds this opinion? ;)


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Eyeball2
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Oct 31, 2014 13:14 |  #2

I think it's totally up to the photographer/artist.

If you want to permit/encourage close-up scrutiny of your work and want to prepare the print for that scenario, fantastic.

If you want/expect your image to be viewed farther out and don't want viewers to get close (or don't care if they notice pixels or loss of detail if they do get close), that's just as fantastic.

I'll let the photographer make the call. Debating beyond that for me is like debating our favorite color.




  
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Numenorean
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Oct 31, 2014 13:16 |  #3

chauncey wrote in post #17244007 (external link)
when you visit an Art Show, do you not evaluate that photograph at a distance, and then...put your nose up close.

No, why would I do such a thing?

Am I the only one that holds this opinion?

Probably.


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gonzogolf
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Oct 31, 2014 13:21 |  #4

Ive never walked up nose to glass in a gallery. Even more II wouldn't expect a very larhe print to exceed its source. I've seen large prints from medium and large format film cameras where the clarity was incredible but I wouldn't fault a 35 mm negative if it showed the limitations of the media after a certain size. With digital you have more options to ovrrcome your source file limitation but there are still limitations.




  
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Eyeball2
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Oct 31, 2014 13:34 |  #5

In terms of viewer habits, I think you will find all kinds. Some will never approach close and others always will.

If you have an image with lots of obvious fine detail, that will encourage close inspection and I think that can be a fine thing - the ability to appreciate a work at multiple levels/distances. But some viewers will take advantage of that and some won't.

Some viewers will, given the chance, approach for close inspection even if the image has no obvious fine detail. That may be to check out the technical print aspects or to see if there is fine detail that isn't obvious from a distance or just out of pure habit/curiosity.

For me it's the photographer's prerogative to what extent he or she wants to address those possible viewing scenarios.




  
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Lowner
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Oct 31, 2014 13:54 |  #6

I never get close to a photograph. I don't get the overall composition unless I'm back a little. I have a great shot of Valentino Rossi on his Yamaha a few years ago printed on A3+ paper framed up and hanging in this very room, but I never get closer than 4 feet.


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chauncey
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Oct 31, 2014 18:06 as a reply to  @ Lowner's post |  #7

There is no question that "proper viewing distance", whatever that might be, "looks" better hanging
on a wall but, consider this...wouldn't you, as a photographer, buying a print/or even printing your own,
get up close and personal with that print before hanging it on your wall?


The things you do for yourself die with you, the things you do for others live forever.
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kjonnnn
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Oct 31, 2014 18:43 |  #8

What is the purpose of nose length viewing to you? to a viewer? If I walked into a room, and saw someone with their face practically in a photograph, I would think, what are they looking for? and/or what's wrong with them. "I" think you're making your photography more difficult than it needs to be. Even the most beautiful person "live," has noticeable flaws "nose length close up."




  
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sandpiper
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Oct 31, 2014 23:32 |  #9

chauncey wrote in post #17244007 (external link)
when you visit an Art Show, do you not evaluate that photograph at a distance, and then...put your nose up close. I do!

No, not at all. I evaluate it based on composition, lighting, aesthetic qualities and, above all, what the image says to me. Does it tell a story? Provoke thought? Does it bring out an emotional response in me? Has it captured the moment?

Those are the important things I look for in an image, I see no reason to peer closely at a tiny section of it from a couple of inches away and think "ooh, it's wonderfully sharp" or "oh, it's very slightly soft up close, that's a shame, I thought it was a really lovely image", that is unimportant. Photography is all about creating an interesting image, not a technical exercise in who can produce the best quality sharpness.

chauncey wrote in post #17244533 (external link)
.wouldn't you, as a photographer, buying a print/or even printing your own,
get up close and personal with that print before hanging it on your wall?

Again, no.

I hang a print on my wall because I have an emotional reaction to the image, the picture speaks to me and I love it as a picture. I don't need to examine it in minute detail and reject it if it isn't flawlessly sharp from two inches away.

I see a lot of amazing images that are not technically perfect, and a lot of technically perfect ones which are boring and uninteresting because the photographer has been concerned about making a technically perfect picture, rather than capturing the moment and the emotion in a scene.

I submit images, both in digital and print form for local and national exhibitions. If you want to get acceptances into major exhibitions then absolute technical quality means very little, as judges do not peer closely at the prints. The prints are placed on a lit stand a few feet in front of the judging panel and they score it in about 3 or 4 seconds, then the next print gets its 3-4 seconds of viewing time. The scores are based purely on impact and the ability to grab the attention, if enough judges reaction is an immediate "ooh, that's good" then it makes it into the exhibition. They have to do it that way as they can have several thousand images to view in the one day the panel sits. They certainly have no time to peer at every print at nose length and examine it in detail, but that doesn't matter as it isn't flawless sharpness that makes an image great.




  
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Dan ­ Marchant
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Nov 01, 2014 00:31 |  #10

chauncey wrote in post #17244533 (external link)
There is no question that "proper viewing distance", whatever that might be, "looks" better hanging
on a wall but, consider this...wouldn't you, as a photographer, buying a print/or even printing your own,
get up close and personal with that print before hanging it on your wall?

Nope. Having spent time at a number of exhibitions of photographers I respect I have come to realise that sharpness is one of the least important aspects of photography*. Composition, light, colour/tone are all far more important. In fact excessive sharpening can often be detrimental to the over all image.

I hang photos on my wall because they look good. Sticking my nose up against them to find that a tiny detail isn't sharp doesn't change how the image looks as the proper distance so doing so serves no purpose.

* obviously I'm talking about artistic images. This doesn't apply when the purpose of the image is to document a particular detail or details.


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hollis_f
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Nov 01, 2014 05:52 |  #11

I've lost count of the number of times I've looked at a picture and said "Wow! That image is incredible. The subject, composition and lighting are perfect. What a shame it looks so crap under an electron microscope.

I rearrange individual molecules on the surface of the paper, so that everything is perfect. However, it's a little bit slow (I think I've just about managed 2 square nm).


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Redcrown
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Nov 01, 2014 13:24 |  #12

An interesting discussion, which makes me think of the book "Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance". Among that book's many themes is the difference between a "classic" thinker and a "romantic" thinker. (The author uses those terms in a much broader sense than the strict dictionary definitions).

Two guys are riding cross country on motorcycles. One is classic, one is romantic, and they drive each other crazy. The classic is obsessed with the technology of his bike. He checks the oil constantly, adjusts chain tension daily, looks for tire wear, quotes compression ratios, and knows exactly how many feet it takes him to stop from 70mph.

The romantic pays no attention to these things. He just loves the feel of speed, the wind in his face, the sense of solitude on an empty road at sunrise.

One day, the romantic's bike breaks down in the middle of nowhere. The classic berates him for being irresponsible. Says if he had performed a few simple maintenance checks that morning, they would not be stuck. Later on, the romantic is expressing his joy over a long descent on a curvy mountain road. The classic doesn't get it because he was constantly worried about his brakes overheating.

Me, I'm a bit of both. I pixel peep images to judge their technical health. Then stand back and admire their aesthetic quality. Sometimes I can forgive a technical flaw, sometimes not. Depends on whether the aesthetics are strong enough to override. But whenever possible, I like to have my cake and eat it too.

Also reminds me of a famous Ben Franklin quote, "He who likes sausage and respects the law should never watch either being made."




  
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AZGeorge
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Nov 01, 2014 16:03 |  #13

chauncey wrote in post #17244007 (external link)
. . . IMHO, the old-school, proper viewing distance scenario, was left over from paintings that looked hideous up close.
Am I the only one that holds this opinion? ;)

You are not alone. I particularly enjoy seeing brush stroke and edge details in paintings. Even when the detail itself is a bit ugly it's fun to see in context of the full work.


George
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tonylong
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Nov 03, 2014 14:29 |  #14

Redcrown wrote in post #17245838 (external link)
An interesting discussion, which makes me think of the book "Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance". Among that book's many themes is the difference between a "classic" thinker and a "romantic" thinker. (The author uses those terms in a much broader sense than the strict dictionary definitions).

Two guys are riding cross country on motorcycles. One is classic, one is romantic, and they drive each other crazy. The classic is obsessed with the technology of his bike. He checks the oil constantly, adjusts chain tension daily, looks for tire wear, quotes compression ratios, and knows exactly how many feet it takes him to stop from 70mph.

The romantic pays no attention to these things. He just loves the feel of speed, the wind in his face, the sense of solitude on an empty road at sunrise.

One day, the romantic's bike breaks down in the middle of nowhere. The classic berates him for being irresponsible. Says if he had performed a few simple maintenance checks that morning, they would not be stuck. Later on, the romantic is expressing his joy over a long descent on a curvy mountain road. The classic doesn't get it because he was constantly worried about his brakes overheating.

Me, I'm a bit of both. I pixel peep images to judge their technical health. Then stand back and admire their aesthetic quality. Sometimes I can forgive a technical flaw, sometimes not. Depends on whether the aesthetics are strong enough to override. But whenever possible, I like to have my cake and eat it too.

Also reminds me of a famous Ben Franklin quote, "He who likes sausage and respects the law should never watch either being made."

That's a fun memory, not that I was ever a motorcyclist, but I was a business person who had an "artistic craft" but "craft" was extremely important. And then also I had to learn the "Art" of maintaining my transportation (my business van) and believe me that took some "learning"!!!:)!!!

AZGeorge wrote in post #17246113 (external link)
You are not alone. I particularly enjoy seeing brush stroke and edge details in paintings. Even when the detail itself is a bit ugly it's fun to see in context of the full work.

I can agree though when I'm looking at my photos I'm looking at my computer screen and if my photos are noticeably out of focus, well, they get deleted, although some that are a bit softer, well, OK!!!


Tony
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jra
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Nov 04, 2014 12:50 |  #15

I don't generally view a photograph extremely close and even if I did, I wouldn't let small technical flaws ruin the entirety of the photograph. I guess my question to you would be, what is the point to scrutinize a piece of work from two inches away? Can that really add or detract from the piece of work? There are many iconic images that have been created that lack somewhat in the technical department but they still manage to convey a story and plenty of emotion.




  
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