Wednesday, July 20, 2011
There's Something Sterile about Technical Perfection
You've heard it before but I will attempt to explain it.
Digital cameras produce "sterile" images.
When you say sterile. I think impotence. Not in the ED sort of way but more like spaying or neutering for animals.
Advances in technology make engineers feel like gods. And in their search for new technology they push for more and more perfection. That's why digital sensors are amazing at greater resolution at reduced noise levels. Gone are the days of hot pixels, vignetting (lens issue more than anything else), and grain.
Yet we find ways to put grain back into the images (Lr).
Hell, we find ways to put light leaks and heavy vignetting back into the images so we can make them more "analog".
Because there's something human, soulful, familiar and endearing about "flaws". It probably explain why the Dianas, Holgas, etc. are making a huge comeback. It explains why Hipstamatic is a top iPhone camera app.
Technical perfection pushes the boundaries of becoming godlike, yet it removes all the familiar attributes of what it is to be human.
That's the point. Images aren't about perfection. They're not about perfect ratios and lighting and composition. They're about life. They're about soul. They're about the human spirit.
It explains exactly why I love this image below so much.
Admittedly it was blurry. The focus was off. Angie was moving. I was moving. It was shot with natural light at a low shutter, high iso, shallow DoF so you can imagine everything was working against capture. Hell, her arm is sharper than her face which means my focusing was really off.
Armchair quarterbacks and pixel peepers that's who. But you'll never see those guys create great images.
But in order to break the rules you should know what the rules are. I'm only here because I've spent thousands of hours trying to refine and understand "perfection". But now that I have accumulated an entire portfolio of "soulless" images. I'm trying to create life.
So screw technical perfection :)