Friday, June 30, 2006

"Sharpness is a bourgeois concept" - H. Cartier Bresson

Now you wont often find nature or wildlife photographers quoting Cartier-Bresson. Or even in the least daunted by the fact that we as a community have almost no thinkers / writers /critics .

And you will almost never find them deriding sharpness. We love the soft morning light or mist. And we even love the glow of good bokeh. But the subject must be sharp, selective focus....and all that jazz.

Sometimes, I grow a bit tired of it. Sharpness, like any other feature of a photograph, exists only to serve what the photograph illustrates. I dont know if it detracts if it does not add, it does not matter I would argue. To quote another biggie, Ansel Adams "There is nothing more useless than a sharp photograph of a fuzzy concept." If the pic dictates fuzz, go ahead fuzz it.

I can't see the picture of a windblown and wild, hanging parasitic plant thats anything but fuzzy. The wind is in the fuzz, a drooping dangling plant is always at the mercy of the wind. The uncertain borders are the melting of identity that all parasites must feel. Most people who look up at these trees dont even see them as being seperate from the trees they attach to. How do you make it any other way?

3 comments:

Henk Coetzee said...

I've often thought much the same. For me, the ability to produce a sharp image is important. A soft image is therefore an intended product, not a failed sharp image.

Natasha said...

Thats a lovely way of putting it, 'A soft image is not a failed sharp image.' I believe we have a lovely new photographic aphorism :)

cwmcdonald said...

I am just starting to understand this concept this summer. I have been trying to study the history of photography and art. I find may photos or art works not perfectly sharp. But the feeling is interesting.